Overwhelming fatigue, never feeling rested, always getting the cold that's going around and poor performance in your workouts indicate you may be in a state of adrenal fatigue. Chronic stress wears out these endocrine glands, putting your physical and mental health at risk.
Yoga offers a two-fold solution for adrenal fatigue. Specific poses, especially those practiced in a restorative class, help you relax and reduce the stress load. The practice of yoga may also teach you how to deal with challenging situations in a more healthy, measured fashion — instead of reacting, panicking or feeling overwhelmed, you learn to breathe and observe.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
The adrenals are a set of glands located just above your kidneys that produce compounds, including the hormone adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisol. Balanced amounts of these hormones help you deal with typical daily stress and energy demands, whether those be from your job, family or workout. But when these glands stop performing optimally, you experience a cluster of symptoms including weight gain, fatigue, depression, rashes, cravings and anxiety.
A disturbance in the adrenals is usually attributed to chronic stress. Your adrenals are designed to deal with spurts of stress, such as being chased by a bear, rather than the chronic day-to-day stress of work deadlines, bills and social drama. Instead of pumping out hormones intermittently, they're chronically flooding your system, wearing out these glands and making you so tired that only a coffee IV keeps you going. The hormones and steroids use lots of energy and break down cellular structures, further contributing to your feelings of being run down.
People just don't know how to slow down and this compounds the chronic stress that causes adrenal fatigue. Even when relaxed, people are still turned on via the television, cell phones or computers. Restorative yoga gives you a chance to really turn off your adrenals so they can rest and rejuvenate.
Head to a restorative class, or practice the following postures in your own home. Choose a dimly lit room where you won't be disturbed. Be sure to wear comfy clothes and prop with pillows and blankets when appropriate. Your intention is to feel completely supported.
Supported Bridge: Lie on your back, bend your knees and plant your feet hip-distance apart. Lift your hips and place a yoga bolster or a firm pillow under your sacrum for support. Close your eyes and breath for at least 1 minute, or as long as you can stay comfortable.
Legs-up-the-Wall: Lie with your buttocks against a blank wall and extend your legs up against its surface. Place your head on a folded blanket or roll one under your hips for extra support. Breathe here for 5 to 15 minutes.
Spine Twist: Lie on your back on a mat and bend your knees into your chest. Allow the knees to fall gently to the right side. Support them on a pillow or folded blanket if they don't comfortably touch the floor. Open your arms into a T-shape and turn your head to the left. Breathe here 25 to 30 rounds and switch sides.
Supported Corpse Pose: Lie on your back with your head and back supported by a yoga bolster or several folded blankets. Extend your legs long, close your eyes and breathe for 10 to 20 minutes. Concentrate on long, deep breaths that penetrate all of your breathing muscles.