BLISS Yoga – It’s as Good as It Sounds
By: Kundini Funk
What is Bliss Yoga?
Through my direct experience, I discovered why this style of restorative yoga is named Bliss Yoga. I came to understand that on a physiological level the very gentle and supported poses, are set up to work with the nervous system. The practice is a spinal based practice which is designed to release the root of tension in the body. The relaxation response climbs up the spine and in turn releases tension in the rest of the body. Relaxation climbs up just the same way as pain does, and so the unraveling of the pain follows the same logic. Working with the nervous system, the poses remind us somatically, how to rest in the calmest, most relaxed, and most natural blissful state of the Sympathetic Nervous System.
What if There is No Tiger- Should We Still Panic?
We are equipped to switch from our natural calm abiding state into the “fight and flight” response at any moment of threat. If a tiger suddenly rushes out at us, we will instantly, unconsciously switch into the Parasympathetic Nervous System (the flight and fight response), and get a rush of adrenaline to flee the danger. The body brilliantly draws blood, nutrients and oxygen from the extremities and the systemic functions, to become essential for survival. The vital organs get the juice, while other functions, such a digestion and reproduction, get put on hold.
That is excellent in certain situations, like the approaching tiger.
“However the problem for us is that when we remain in the flight and fight system, unconsciously many of our functions are compromised. Even more of a problem is that we can be unaware that we may be living in the flight and fight situation all the time. This could have us thinking that it is the natural way of being. We could have forgotten the feeling of being relaxed and pain free.”
Due to stressors and tensions, basically from the time we may have been hit at birth and the start of breathing, we get conditioned into the flight and fight response. This happens over and over again until it becomes our default operating system. In this way, our tailbones curl under like that of a scared dog tail, and over time gets stuck like that.
Being in a state of alarm from the Parasympathetic Nervous System shows the body is stressed in many ways. Most notably it floods us with the hormones Adrenaline, Norepinephrine and Cortisol. These hormones have their function to survive the threat, but elevated amounts which stay in the system can be harmful. Cortisol is known as the ‘Stress Hormone’. A recent study by Vachon – Presseau et al, showed a relationship between high Cortisol levels and chronic pain.
It is thus significantly important to retrain our body and mind, to be able to dwell in our natural state of being – in the Sympathetic Nervous System. It is the blissful birthright of being human to feel at ease and comfortable within our body and mind. As I found out, it is also very possible, even easy, and furthermore feels great to do so.
“I have taught all kinds of people Bliss Yoga for over 13 years, and have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love it and feel the benefit right away.”
Your Body Knows
Just as I had misconceptions about being able to do yoga, others may too, and I want to reveal the essence of Bliss restorative yoga for everyone.
“Restorative Yoga is for anyone, even with injuries and physical restraints. In my experience Bliss yoga gives the body exactly what it needs to activate its innate healing capacity.”
The postures are simple, and always supported with bolsters where need be. The postures work with each persons unique body; the goal is not to emulate what we see in the magazines, but to be in our on body. We are instructed how to find our own, what I call “sweet spot”, the exact place were the tension is holding on, waiting to be nudged free. This place is within our reach and does not require any kind of strength or flexibility beyond what we are capable. That’s the beauty for me, to know that our individual remedy, so to speak, lies within.
What I love is that Bliss yoga is doable, potent, powerful, feels wonderful and has only beneficial side effects.
Lilly Physical Therapy is proud to support all types of health and wellness. Bliss yoga is only one of the many ways to heal the mind and body. Call today to get a head start on your healing process!
Picture 2: http://www.theconceptsproject.com/content/images/2014/Jul/8836416242_fc20083f86_z.jpg