Keep Stress at Bay with Yoga and Sleep

Sharing this Article about the sleep benefits of Yoga during this very active time in our culture...

     Keep Stress at Bay with Yoga and Sleep

Technology seems to propel the world to move at an ever-increasing pace. For many, that breakneck pace makes stress a constant companion, making stress management a necessary part of daily life. Together, yoga and sleep can bring you to a place of self-awareness and emotional balance where stress may be present but doesn't overwhelm your life.


Although chronic stress can be harmful, short-term stress was a great advantage in human history. Biologically, stress protects you from danger by releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to trigger the fight or flight response. However, chronic stress keeps these hormones flowing through the body when no physical danger is present. Prolonged exposure can lead to headaches, inflammation, anxiety, irritability, and appetite changes.


However, with a little as 12 minutes of daily yoga, inflammation and other symptoms of stress can be reduced. In a study conducted amongst pregnant women, those who regularly practiced yoga showed an ability to not only reduce their inflammation and stress levels but their perception of stress by 31 percent.  


Yoga has also been used to study the effects of stress and sleep quality among nurses. In this case, participants were divided into two groups. One group went about their regular schedule while the other participated in a 50 to 60-minute yoga routine twice a week. After six months, the yoga group reported less work-related stress and an improvement in their sleep quality.


Yoga and good sleep go hand-in-hand for many reasons. Not only can yoga be used to reduce stress for better rest, but when used as a form of vigorous exercise, it can help wear out the body, so you're more tired at night.


The quality of your sleep makes a big difference in your stress levels. When you’re tired, cortisol levels go up, making it more difficult to manage emotions because the emotional center of the brain becomes more sensitive to negative stimuli. At the same time, sleep deprivation causes your higher reasoning functions to decrease, making you more susceptible to those negative emotions.


With a focus on good sleep hygiene, you can help restore the balance between your emotional and reasoning centers of your brain. Sleep hygiene includes all the behaviors and habits in your life that affect the quantity and quality of your sleep. Good sleep starts in a bedroom with the right atmosphere for rest.  Start with comfort - a mattress that supports your preferred sleep position. Check mattress reviews to see if yours is a good fit for you. The bedroom should be kept cooler for optimal sleeping conditions. Minimize noise and light with curtains and a white noise machine.


The choices and decisions that you make throughout the day all come back to impact your sleep. To help you fall asleep and stay asleep try:


  • Keeping a Consistent Sleep-Wake Schedule: The body controls the sleep-wake cycle through 24-hour biological and physiological cycles called circadian rhythms. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps your brain follow your natural rhythms.

  • Eating Regularly Timed and Spaced Meals: A well-balanced diet is always a part of a healthy lifestyle, but when you eat also plays a role as it affects your circadian rhythms. A regular eating schedule allows your body to adjust to your routine, including when to start the release melatonin and other sleep hormones.

  • Developing a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: A bedtime routine is a great place to incorporate a few gentle yoga poses to relieve stress and tension. It's also the time to perform activities that calm your mind and body like reading a good book or taking a warm bath. Be sure to complete the routine at the same time and in the same order each day.

Yoga Journal Conference: Estes Park, CO

Yoga Journal Conference Sept 22-25 2016

Assisting Tias Little at the Yoga Journal Conference this fall in Colorado was a valuable experience in understanding how adjusting and assisting is just as communicative as teaching the class itself. The art of touch while understanding the energetics of the pose can be truly healing. While working as an assistant, I was able to observe Tias work while also being of service to students- discovering that as teachers, we are laying down the ground work for each practitioner to experience themselves. 

The following workshops and day-longs allowed for the students to first settle in energetically with meditation, take flight with arm balancing classes to experience their fire energy, and finally into deeper workshops to connect to our subtle body. 

  • The Alchemy of Silence: A one day retreat
  • Flight of the Crane
  • Getting to the Bone
  • Unleash Your Life through Nadis
  • Sky is the Limit

 The Yoga Journal Conference was a union of inspiring teachers in the mountains. Each teacher I took a class from brought a different perspective to this fruitful subject. I was finally able to take classes from teachers in distant locations: Dharma Mittra, Judith Hanson Lasater, or Kathryn Budig. Deeply appreciative of this experience. 

Yoga Teacher's Retreat led by Stacie Overby // Costa Rica . Blue Spirit

On retreat, I had the honor of being surrounded by wise women on the path.

Stacie Overby
Dharma Talk Excerpts

"Clarity is not enough. We must tend to our seed."
"Support a life that allows me to live in 'that place' as much as possible"
"Learn how to direct my being in the direction of where I want to go"
"All of the spiritual teachings are basically saying: All of your intentions should be coming from God"
"We must be at our Highest to hold space for others in their Highest... the amount of work you do on yourself determines the depth of your personal container"
"Follow your Truth. That is your Practice"
"A way to get back to my Innocence as a teacher is to get back to my Studentship"
"The 'container' grows so big  because you are so comfortable with your Flaws... as well as your Magnificence"
"Yoga is shifting Samskaras of our Old Destructive habits for New Nourishing Habits"
"All practices are : the ability to discern if our choices are motivated by outside sources or Inner Knowing."


Farewell San Francisco

As a few of you may have heard, I'll be moving away from San Francisco... and consequently, I will no longer be holding classes at Moxie as of February 13th. I have enjoyed the last 8 years in SF watching the city change... watching myself change. San Francisco introduced me to the practice of yoga and food culture. Here, my curiosity about our relationship to nature and learning of our own true nature began. My move to New Mexico is inspired by the ability to dive in deep with these subjects. 

My partner and I will be continuing /SHED, the dinner project we began in Marin, back to his hometown of Taos where he can return to his native roots and we can create a more permanent establishment. Along with this, I will be continuing my studies of yoga with Master Teachers Tias & Surya Little of Prajna Yoga in Santa Fe, New Mexico allowing me to give deeper offerings in my teaching. 

It has been such a pleasure to teach in San Francisco and to have been a part of the Moxie community. It is an honor to be a teacher on your path of yoga. Thank you to my teachers and the  students who continued to come to class reassuring me of my path. 

As a Farewell Class, I'll be hosting a special 2 hour Advanced Practice tying together the physical practice, breath work, and meditation on SAT February 13th 5:30-7:30pm at Moxie. RESERVE your SPOT. 



"... a technology for arriving in this present moment.  It is a means of waking up from our spiritual amnesia, so that we can remember all that we already know. It is a way of remembering our true nature, which is essentially joyful and peaceful" - Donna Farhi 

I've been re-reading material from my second yoga training and I came across "A Return to Wholeness" by Donna Farhi. At times, I find myself get caught up in the mechanics of things- Last evening I read this passage and I remembered that the reason I practice yoga is because it's a means to return to myself. As a teacher, I am simply walking students through the same steps I know, so they too, can find that for themselves. 


After several years of practicing yoga, I've learned that I can work more efficiently by simplifying. For the last 3 years, I have juggled my work in order to sustain myself in San Francisco. 

This month, I've decided to take the leap and teach yoga full time. I am excited to focus my efforts toward yoga. Guided by inspirational teachers, I look forward to advancing my personal practice  as well as delivering what I've learned through teaching. 

It will be interesting to watch my classes take on their own style and grow just as I grow as a student and teacher.