Your body is an extension of your brain and you can exercise your brain by moving your body. It is simple- Move your brain by moving your body!
We know that our nervous system consists of a. The Brain ( Central Nervous System)b. Spinal Chord (Central Nervous System)c. Nerves and Neurons (PNS)Believe it or not, our ancient and primal nervous system hasn't yet caught up with the modern sedentary digital fast age (and hence yearns for primal exposure via body movement and real nutrition).
The CNS is further made up of the brain & the spinal chord and the PNS is made up of neurons and nerves outside the brain & the spinal chord. The PNS provides information to CNS via sensory inputs. We have some control over this communication and interpretation of inputs. For example in the most basic terms, if you see that your house in on fire, you will decide the best course of action etc. You are in control of interpreting the sensory inputs provided by your eyes, ears, nose etc.
Now, the ANS or the Autonomic Nervous System is that part of our nervous system ( CNS and PNS) which cannot be controlled consciously. It responds to environmental factors by regulating our responses in terms of movement, hormonal fluctuations, organ function etc. For example, if you hold your eyes open for too long, your ANS will kick in and you will inevitably close your eyes or it will make you inhale if you hold your breath for too long. The ANS basically works to protect you in times of stress and danger.
The PNS ( neurons and nerves) collect various information and send it to the CNS ( brain) for further processing and interpretation. As you learn new movements , your brain is constantly working to calibrate your actions and checking if you are in a safe environment. New circuits and areas are fired up in the brain when dormant muscles are awakened and used . At the same time, the CNS filters information and interprets the sensory data in relation to your own life experiences which are unique to each of us. For e.g. I have some clients who are comfortable doing supine workouts only on the ground instead of a bench because they might have had an experience of losing balance previously.
The ANS has two interfacing components: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic system is the commonly known " flight or fight" response to situations of stress where in your rational thought is temporarily hijacked due to an immediate (perceived or real) threat and your nervous system comes up with an immediate survival plan. Chronic sympathetic response leaves you depleted and the accompanying hormonal disruptions lead to fat gain especially belly fat. The parasympathetic system on the contrary is active when you feel calm and relaxed. Think relaxed heart beat & deep, slow breathing. Specific restorative yoga poses like Viparita Karni, Supta Baddhakonasana and Savasana induce this parasympathetic response. This response can be thought of as " anti-stress" and is a crucial component in therapeutic yoga for stress management.
The moot idea is that when you move your body, don't make the myopic mistake of thinking myopically that it is just a physical experience. Each movement and workout that you do exercises your nervous system and via that your brain. It helps you keep your brain fitter and get better as much as it works on your physical body. Juily Wagle
CEO & Founder
Transform by MetaboliX