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The information on this page is aimed at helping you learn to regulate your nervous system. Many of us are living with a dysregulated nervous system without even realising it. Our bodies have gotten stuck in a chronic or maladaptive stress response, and it has been going on for so long we don’t even realise it. This can lead to a variety of chronic conditions or symptoms including pain, fatigue, anxiety, sleep disturbances and depression. There are several techniques that can be used to help us learn to regulate our nervous systems again. This will help our bodies move out of the maladaptive stress response and instead enter a healing state. This is crucial when trying to recover from any illness or injury. You can find a detailed explanation of the nervous system in Deb Dana’s Beginner’s Guide to Polyvagal Theory - Rhythm of Regulation.

On this page you will find examples of relaxations, breathing exercises and mindful movement. There are many different options of all these practices and it’s about trying to find the ones that work well for you. Below is a selection for you to try but there are even more available online, on apps or on YouTube. You may want to use different sections individually, or you may want to combine them, for example, start with a breathing exercise, do some mindful movement and finish with a relaxation. The idea is you try different approaches to find what works best for you. This could also be different things at different times, it can be best to have some flexibility in your approach. Once you have found what works well for you then it is important to use it regularly to get the benefits. Perhaps try to create a daily routine or practice.

In these practices your will hopefully learn how to become more mindful and how to move more mindfully. You will hopefully also learn how to help yourself to relax. As you improve at these skills in the videos you can then apply these principles to more of your life. The goal is to become more mindful, present, and relaxed in your life.

 

Relaxation Guides

In this section, we have a number of short audio relaxation guides.

You can access them as audio files or via our YouTube channel.

An introduction to relaxation Audio YouTube 2:14
Notice the breath Audio YouTube 9:06
Body scan Audio YouTube 12:45
Light Audio YouTube 9:15
Nidra Audio YouTube 10:29
Progressive relaxation Audio YouTube 9:59

 

Breathing Exercises

Please read the below information before using any of the breathing exercise videos:

Set yourself up well, for example, sit or lie in a comfortable position, spine fairly straight, try not to be too hunched or rounded so your stomach is not compressed. It is important to be relaxed as we are trying to promote a feeling of calm.

Do not force or strain the breath at any time. Do the exercises at a rate that feels comfortable to you. Do not try and force a longer or deeper breath than is comfortable.

Practice these exercises for at least a minute but for as long as you would like. Make sure you take a break or stop if you get dizzy or lightheaded.

 

Mindful Movement

Please read the following before participating in mindful movement.

In this section you will find examples of mindful movement. These are flowing forms of meditations. The aim is to place your focus and attention on your breath or the movement of your body. It is important to only move as far as feels comfortable for you and your body. You should never feel like you are forcing or straining. The aim is to feel calm and relaxed so try to make the movements as easy as possible and to put in as little effort as possible. We are all physically a little different, so it is important to do what feels right and comfortable for your own body.

If the standing exercises feel too challenging at the moment you can adapt those to sitting down and just moving the arms / upper body. You can also take as many rest breaks as you need or even pause the video.

Some of these movements and exercises are used in practices such as Qigong and Yoga. These videos have been created by physiotherapists and not by Qigong or Yoga instructors. Therefore, any movement or exercise has been selected for therapeutic benefits rather than in line with traditional eastern medicine benefits / beliefs.

 

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