Yoga and Respecting the Nervous System

By Aadil Palkhivala, a Master Yoga Teacher, Co-founder, Alive and Shine Center, Bellevue, WA

 

The nervous system is our communicator with Spirit, our connection with the inner worlds, a gateway between the physical and spiritual.  The nervous system is a transmitter as well as a receiver, an electrical system emitting powerful electromagnetic waves that connect and harmonize all aspects of our being.  An agitated nervous system fails to receive the Spirit’s guidance, just as a warped antenna cannot receive television signals properly.   The nervous system feels joy and sorrow, initiates laughter and tears.  However, when under stress, it fumbles through its job, and so do we.  In our yoga practice and in life, we must protect our nervous system and ensure that it lives in a state of equanimity.

During your yoga practice, regularly pause and feel what you are doing, both while you are practicing the pose and after your body creates a mind-body connection, calming your nervous system and fostering peace.  Doing is the state of moving toward the future.  Feeling is the state of being in the moment.  Peace reveals itself only when we are completely present, feeling what is happening in the Now.

In our society, we are always being hurried along, running from one task to another like frustrated rats on an eternal treadmill.  Our poor nerves rarely get a chance to rest, to breathe.  When I first taught in America, in 1980, I was astonished to see that many students would shut their eyes while doing asana in an effort to relax, yet when they would lie down in Shavasana, their eyes would pop wide open!  When it was actually time to tune in to the trauma and tension in their nervous systems, they were afraid to face the demons within, and peace was denied them.

 

©Aadil Palkhivala  2008