On Sat I spent the day learning about the parasympathetic nervous system. Another course delivered by the awesome Dax Moy. I spent the day learning about the brain and some amazing techniques that can dramatically improve range of movement + remove pain. More about that later!

We have two parts to our nervous system. The sympathetic branch which controls our stress responses. When we are exercising we are generally in the sympathetic nervous system, especially the type of training that we do which is go go go! But what a lot of you may not know, all the results we want to achieve like burning fat and getting stronger take place in the parasympathetic nervous system which is the rest and relaxation phrase.

Trouble is with all the stresses in today’s lifestyle some of us remain in a constant state of stress and completely sympathetic dominant

Meaning we never really calm down and enter the parasympathetic rest and relaxation stage

So matter how much ŵe train or diet we don’t get results 🙁

Eating is one of the times that requires us to be parasympathetic otherwise we cannot digest and receive the nutrients from our food. If we are stressed during meal times then no matter how nutritious our meal was we may as well not have eaten it.

How may of us wolf down our food on the go, check our emails and work as we eat?

I’ve been catching myself doing this all week

This is the equivalent to having a starter of cortisol soup before every meal!

You’ve all heard me talk about cortisol right? the stress hormone that makes us crave sugary foods and keeps us fat? Trust me not the effect you want before a meal!

So before your next meal. Take a few minutes before you eat and take 10 deep breathes. Deep belly breathes from your diaphragm. I know a lot of us struggle with this as we are so used to breathing from our chest. Put your hands on your belly and you should feel it expand when you breath in. As your eating just take some time out to just enjoy your food with no other distractions. No checking emails, working or watching TV! It’s just 10 mins out of your day.

This will improve your digestive function, and stimulate the correct hormones

Meaning your digestive function will improve, you will actually absorb the nutrients from your food, improve your immune system

I’m going to be adding more of these ‘parasympathetic’ techniques to our workouts at the end of class. I’ve already seen massive improvements to my strength, power and energy levels all week. Just from a few breathing exercises!

From now on we’re all going to learn how to breathe properly!

Kat (zen master) Bryson