So many women I work with come to me complaining of exhaustion or burnout. This deep exhaustion and burnout often relates to issues of HPA Axis Dysfunction (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Dysfunction), often called Adrenal Fatigue. Sure, taking an Adrenal supplement can help “get the wheels back on the wagon” so to speak, in the short run, but it’s not getting us any further ahead in terms of root cause resolution.
These states of burnout that we are experiencing en masse as a culture, and especially as women, find their origins in the dysregulated states of our nervous system. A nervous system that is continually wound up, driven, striving, and on edge, eventually burns out, leading to states of anxiety, insomnia, exhaustion or shut down.
Women are particularly vulnerable to this sort of burnout, in part because of the sensitivity of our nervous systems, and also to a deeply entrenched sense of “not enoughness” that is often experienced at the core of our being. This “not enoughness” can drive women to give beyond their capacity to give, and short change their own need to practice self-care to fill up their own well. Women are receptive creatures. In order for us to do all that we do in this world, we need to be able to drink deeply from the wellspring of inner nourishment, and from Source itself. In order for the feminine to be able to nourish and sustain Life, she must drink from this continually renewing wellspring. Without it, she runs dry, empty, unable to sustain her own health and wellbeing, and that of her family and community. This wellspring of inner nourishment is accessible to us when our autonomic nervous system is in a calm, regulated, receptive flow state.
In Polyvagal Theory we refer to this receptive flow state as ventral vagal. This parasympathetic ventral vagal pathway depends on cues of safety from our environment and from our social interactions with others in order to be activated. When this ventral vagal state is active we feel a sense of ease in our bodies, we feel present and connected within ourselves and able to engage with others and with the world around us. This is a state in which the body’s physiological functions are optimally regulated, our heart rate, breath, blood pressure, digestion, sleep and immunity function well. In this ventral vagal state, the body is able to heal and restore itself.
The problem is that most of us spend our days in states of autonomic dysregulation. We are either in a state of mobilization activated by our sympathetic nervous system’s Fight or Flight response in reaction to cues of danger that are perceived from our environment; Or when those cues of danger are extreme or overwhelming, the dorsal vagal takes over and throws us into a protective state of collapse and immobilization. In this state we feel disconnected, shut down or numb to our world and our experiences.
Our understanding of the nervous system and how it responds to stress has unfolded so much in the past decade. This understanding is transformative in how we approach accessing states of calm flow in our bodies and engaging the relaxation response.
When we understand that the response of our nervous system is in the interest of our safety and survival, we begin to recognize and appreciate our own response patterns and can then begin to discover the best ways to befriend our nervous systems and ourselves. This awareness allows us to identify the best ways to intercept dysregulated states and consciously choose practices that bring us into a state of calm presence and connection with ourselves and the world around us.
Join me together with Hilary Fair as we explore Polyvagal Theory and create a framework for you to identify and experience the tools that work best for you in order to access these deeper states of calm, connection and flow.
Session One: Setting the Stage – Exploring Polyvagal Theory as a framework in which to identify and name our experience. Begin to explore access points to ventral vagal states of connected calm flow.
Session Two: Exploring access to ventral vagal states through creating an inner experience of safety and through engaging the mammalian care-giving and social engagement systems.
Session Three: Accessing ventral vagal states as a spring board to expressing the fullness of our potential. Exploring our joy, pleasure, purpose and deepest desires as medicine for healing our authentic selves.
This 3 part series will build on itself to deepen the conscious experience of our nervous system states. If you are unable to attend all 3 sessions, the sessions can be experienced individually as well. These are experiential classes. Join us for just one class, when it suits your schedule, or drop down deep and join us for all 3 classes. Wear loose comfortable clothing. Refreshments will be provided.
Where: True Nature Yoga Studio 117 Regent St., Stratford ON
When: Saturday from 9-12 noon March 30, April 13, May 4
Cost: $65 per class or $175 for all three classes
For more info or to register please contact
Jacinta at firstname.lastname@example.org