Mindfulness courses, yoga teacher training in India and meditation: Relaxation techniques are popular and in-demand among more and more people because they need to pause, have time for themselves and reduce stress is growing for many.
Our body's reactions to stress are based on evolutionary biology, they are supposed to prepare people for a fight or flight reaction. If we feel stressed, the adrenal glands release the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Blood pressure and pulse increase, breathing becomes faster, the muscles contract. The result: we can react faster and better.
If we are constantly under stress, the stress hormones become a problem. A permanently high cortisol level damages, among other things, nerve cells in the hippocampus - a part of the brain that is responsible for learning, memory and feelings. Constantly too much adrenaline can lead to heart failure and an excessive blood sugar level. Symptoms of permanent stress can include irritability, nightmares, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal problems and high blood pressure. In addition, permanent stress weakens the immune system and promotes back pain.
Mental exercises such as mindfulness training, meditation and yoga work via various messenger systems in the body, but also via the vegetative nervous system, which is a kind of control centre in the central nervous system and controls vital processes such as breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure. The training specifically activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which plays the role of the "resting nerve" in the autonomic nervous system. This means that it dampens certain body processes such as breathing, heartbeat and muscle tension and ensures that we relax and recover.
Meditation can not only lower the release of stress hormones but also positively influence the ability to concentrate and the sensation of pain:
MRI images show that during a mindfulness meditation the area of the brain is particularly active, the so-called prefrontal cortex, which controls the ability to concentrate. The more active he is, the better attention can be focused on one thing. At the same time, the area in the brain that repeatedly initiates the carousel of thoughts shuts down. Those who meditate regularly are not easily carried away by distracting thoughts in everyday life.
Meditation changes the sensation of pain, as brain researchers found: sufferers perceive pure pain more intensely, but the suffering or the negative evaluation of pain can be reduced by meditation.
We can learn to meditate - in a course, in individual lessons, but also on the Internet via podcast or meditation app. An example of mindfulness meditation isBody scan: meditators practice lying down, keeping their attention fully with themselves and gradually feeling the whole body - from feet to head.
Anyone who needs movement to let go is in good hands in the yoga class: meditative movements and breathing exercises make it easier to switch off your thoughts and concentrate entirely on your own breathing, for example.
Those who regularly relax in everyday life learn to generally calm down and react more relaxed in stressful situations. With various body techniques, physical relaxation can also bring about mental relaxation. Examples of these techniques are: