Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Today's Yoga Lesson: Physical vs. Mental Homeostasis During Yoga

(This blog was originally posted on September 20, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

I noticed something very interesting during yoga this morning. As I stood tall and still in the “mountain” position with my feet flat on the floor, I could just detect the tiniest of swaying motion of my body as my muscles and tendons worked to maintain my balance. These movements were so miniscule as to almost go unnoticed. But they were there: constant adjustments of the various muscles, tendons and internal organs to keep the body completely balanced and ready for anything. I could imagine the lightning-fast neural (subconscious) communication between my brain, inner ears and the muscles in my legs and abdomen as I consciously worked to hold this position. 

This experience was just one example of how my body strove to maintain physiological homeostasis (balance) during the class. Other examples were increased breathing and pulse/heart-rates or adjust my stance when transitioning between poses or when I had to work harder to maintain more intense positions. And then something really interesting happened. About halfway through the class, even with the more intense positions and exercise, my breathing and heart-rate seemed to return to a more normal rate for me.  Even though I was still working hard, but it was like my body had become used to this work and was compensating for/working more efficiently to achieve those positions. 

Achieving mental/emotional homeostasis during the class was more challenging for me. Once I made the initial observation about how my body was working to stay in balance, my mind started racing. Wow! This is so interesting! I know what I will write my blog about tonight! It took a few breaths to get focused on what I was doing, and supposed to be doing: practicing yoga, not writing about it! Unlike my physical body, which automatically made adjustments to achieve homeostasis, my conscious mind had to intervene and bring my thoughts, emotions and focus back to what I was supposed to be doing in class. 

Ultimately I did learn a very important lesson today: Even when my body (and mind) is completely still, it is always moving.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2017