How does the nervous system regulate ?

I had no idea how it felt to have a nervous system that regulates. I was stuck in sympathetic regulation and used to experience panic attacks. I learnt that the World was a dangerous place, I did not feel safe and I did not know how to set my boundaries, let alone finding my power. Not until I really stepped on the path of healing and started a wonderful partnership with my body. My body told me stories when I listened and I have had wonderful teachers offering me tools. 

I was a skinny ‘pretty girl’ who used to look way younger than her age and this used to drive me mad. I wanted to look older. I felt weak. I felt like a skinny little chihuahua having ‘nervous shakes’ and the world was after me. I was scared of touching others and being touched and at the same time I had a high level sensitivity to ‘things’. The bottom of my feet were always extra sensitive to cold water. When I did my Forrest Yoga Foundational Teacher training in 2011 I was one of those people ‘losing it’ left and right and cried during every single process, my body shaking, running energy like ‘lightning bolts’. When I was touched right next to my spine I could not stay still because I got all wiggly. As years passed by and I did my work and training, Forrest Yoga helped me build muscles that started to protect the nerve endings next to my spine and gave me Spine to stand strong, tall and proud (not only my self confidence & dignity increased but I literally got a few inches taller from all the decompression work haha). And I started to ground. I discovered that breathing calms my system, then later on when the ‘regulation switch got turned on’ I started noticing when my sympathetic nervous system was activated and when my parasympathetic nervous system kicked in. I started noticing the difference between activating breath and soothing breath and realized that both of those are super important ‘poles’ of the spectrum and are part of the regulation of the nervous system. To teach your body regulation it is not enough just to ‘release the stress’ but offer her/him excitement too ! Forrest yoga is designed in a way that fosters a learning for your nervous system to regulate. We have asanas that excite your system just the right amount (while keeping your body safe and in learning mode) and ‘resting moment’ that offer ‘food’ for the parasympathetic nervous system (literally, rest and digest belongs to the parasympathetic systems). Besides Forrest Yoga I need to mention three more things that ushered me towards regulation. 

One of them is the ‘Orientation to Pleasure Exercise’ by Steven Hoskinson. (I was introduced to this super simple techinque by Kimberly Johnson.) This simple exercise helps you notice/scan your environment and relate to your own inner sensations. Doing this turned on my ‘regulation switch’. (Hurray !!)

Cold water therapy at the hot spring spa ! Yep ! This is a HUGE one that helped me train up my nervous system ! At my spa there is an ICE COLD pool. For years I dipped only a toe or went in only up to my thigh, and after 5 seconds I bolted out of the pool with cramping sensation on the bottom of my feet, barely able to walk. Until one day I met a ‘Jedi lady’ right there, butt nude in the spa. I was admiring how long she stayed in the cold plunge. When she came out I asked her how she did it. She said ‘THE BODY ADOPTS TO ANYTHING’. You just need to stay still. She encouraged me on and that is what I did. Since than I stay in the cold and definitely am not running away from it. I noticed She did some mudras in the cold water, so I did them too than developed my own power mudra. I realized that staying in the cold water was a meditation and spiritual practice and the nervous system had an important role in this. I noticed that my ability of staying in the cold was connected with the state of my mind, or I would say the STRENGTH of my mind on the given day. If I went into the cold plunge without the right mindset, my ‘weak parts’ would talk louder than my strong parts and was harder to take the ice coldness. 

Saying yes to evolution, expansion, self learning and LIFE 

Some signs that your nervous system is regulated:

You enjoy things (you feel like you can slow down and ‘smell the flower’)

You feel more pleasure from simple things such as watching the water sparkle as the sun hits the surface 

You can think more ‘clearly’ and make better decisions 

You become a better multitasker badass 

You get less ‘nervous breakdowns’ or you recover much faster from nervous breakdowns and life stresses 

You become more resilient 

Do you want to learn this badassery? Come study with me ! In person or online ! 

Szilvia Campbell