Finding Flow in the Chemical Soup

Silhouette of a female in a yoga pose against a sunset sky with butterflies flying around

As I lie in my twisted yoga pose surrendering to the floor, surrendering to gravity and surrendering to deep relaxation, I can almost hear my body’s sigh of relief. It has been a very busy week, which included times of stress with adrenaline and cortisol pumping through my veins. These are the hormones our body releases to help us get through those crazy times, “Thanks body, you’ve served me well but now let’s changes my biochemistry please, you know we will burn out if we keep that going for too long.”

As I relax my body’s chemical soup begins to change. I listen to my yoga teachers voice as she reports back to us some finding from the Happiness and Wellbeing Conference recently held in Australia. She explains that there are 4 activities that allow our bodies to enjoy the feel good hormones of oxytocin and dopamine. Two of them are experienced only by woman during breast-feeding and childbirth. The third experience is sex, ok let’s say good sex. It was the 4th that I had not heard of and was captured by. Our body produces dopamine and oxytocin during the act of KINDNESS. “Awhh, how cool is that!”

We always knew kindness felt good and now we have deepened our understanding. I love that our bodies are hard wired to make YOU feel good when you’re acting in kindness in order to make ANOTHER feel good. That’s a great design feature. “Thanks Body!”

And now it’s time to move yoga position, it’s Yin Yoga today, which means slow movement and expended pose pauses. As I breathe into this new position of tilted hips and elevated legs I image the calming hormone serotonin being naturally triggered, giving me a sense of well-being, harmony and peacefulness. “Thanks Body”.

Our body is designed to support us through the ups and downs of life. Once we understand it’s amazing nature we can start to make wise choices to support it so that our system is optimised. In our world that defines success through our ‘bus-i-ness’ or ‘outputs’, it’s easy to minimize the need for quiet time. This has to change. We must recognise the fundamental necessity of allowing our body to flip out of the stress (flight and flight) mode and into relaxation (rest and digest) mode. Don’t worry about this if you don’t plan on sticking around for a long lifetime though!

It feels to me that there is a flow to life and a continual pull forward towards healing and transformation. The process involves exploring who we are and allowing the un-resourceful aspects of our personalities to be witnessed and healed to create wholeness. My learnt behavior is ‘don’t stop, there is always something that needs doing’ and if you do stop then guilt is the emotion that arises. A big learning in this lifetime for me is getting to a point of deep appreciation of relaxation and slowness.

The flow of life is ever present, our job is to allow it to take us.