As a generalisation, many of us spend our lives in an in-between state. We often over exert our minds, but can struggle to challenge our fitness levels. And the same is true for relaxation: Most of us almost never experience any true relaxation of mind and body either. This is no surprise, as the technological age and all the gadgets and possibilities associated easily thwarts all good intentions to relax and let things be at the end of each day.
The sense of well-being and vitality that can only spring forth from a well established relaxation routine is of benefit for everybody who does not live in a quiet, technology-free cabin in the woods, but even more so for a person who has suffered a potentially severe disease such as Covid-19.
Why is intentional relaxation so important in the recovery from Long Haul Covid? In simple terms, relaxation can be considered the basis of healing and regeneration.
If we have a closer look at our bodies and especially the nervous system, an immensely important aspect is the autonomic nervous system. It regulates involuntary body functions, which are functions that we don’t need to think about, such as the heartbeat, breathing, sexual functions and the fight-or-flight response.
The autonomic nervous system is divided into two branches, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Put simply, the sympathetic nervous system is activating the body, getting us ready for action, whereas the parasympathetic nervous system slows us down and promotes functions such as digestion and sleep.
The most important point to take away from this is, only when we are relaxed and the parasympathetic nervous system is activated can our body regenerate, heal and also rejuvenate itself to the fullest of its potential. To put it another way: The more tense, agitated and anxious we are, the slower our body will heal.
Therefore, in the case of an illness such as Long Covid, it is not only important that we gently activate our body through simple movement practices, but also that we address the other side of the coin which is genuine and deep relaxation. In learning to relax our muscles, releasing tensions from the body and slowing down the mind, we give ourselves the opportunity to fully mobilise all our inner resources towards healing and regeneration, therefore moving towards health again, step by step.
For the six part Yoga for Long Covid online course, you'll be guided through breathing and relaxation exercises to experience the revitalising effects of releasing tension. To join, visit the Membership page.