Why Every Yogi Should Start Using Adaptogens
Posted on January 24 2019
We've all been there – one day you wake up and realize you're burnt out and completely exhausted.
Somewhere in an effort to live a balanced life, you tried to do it all and stretched yourself too thin between work, errands, family commitments, friends – and yes, trying to fit in healthy exercise. You underestimated or neglected your need for personal downtime, nourishing your soul, or doing nothing at all. You end up feeling tired a lot of the time and relying more and more on caffeine to get you through the day.
If you're nodding your head, you understand that even yogis are not immune to this. Sometimes too much yoga or teaching too many classes can also backfire, and all you really need is more gentle walks in nature, meditation and more yin, restorative yoga.
The Physical Impact of Burnout
Burnout is a layman's way of describing a condition known as, 'adrenal fatigue'. In brief, your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and are responsible for the production of a multitude of hormones, including short and long-term stress hormones such as adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol.
These hormones provide a supply of energy through the release of glucose into the bloodstream, and they ensuring greater blood circulation.
Chronic stress overexerts the adrenal glands, and this eventually weakens them and their ability to supply enough energy. And that caffeine solution actually makes it worse. The result?
- Low energy
- Low libido
- Emotional exhaustion, an inability to cope with stressful situations
- Brain fog
- Crying spells
- Irritability and bad mood overall
These are just some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue or burnout, and ones we can all relate to.
How To Recover from Burnout
Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue can turn into a vicious cycle unless it is addressed and the body is given time to recover. If you want to heal and bring back some of your natural energy, it's important to:
a) accept that you are exhausted and trying to do too much at once
b) commit to prioritizing your health and slowing down
Below are some strategies to implement:
- Go for more long walks in nature
- Avoid intense exercise, opt for restorative movements
- Meditate daily
- Say 'no' to plans, and leave empty days on the calendar for doing nothing
- Prioritize sleep and sleep hygiene - go to bed at the same time each night and even more importantly wake up at the same time each morning
Lastly, we highly recommend supplementing with adaptogens to heal your adrenals at a faster rate, and to help prevent from yourself from lapsing into a state of burnout again in the future.
What Are Adaptogens?
Simply put, adaptogens help your body adapt to stress.
Specifically, these are traditional root herbs that work on the brain and adrenal glands to help build endurance, stamina and also reduce physical and mental fatigue. Adaptogenic herbs have been used for centuries to improve wellbeing and these benefits have also been confirmed by clinical research.
In addition to reducing fatigue, adaptogens improve your reactions to stress. To paint a picture, imagine that you've received some stressful news. Instead of feeling stressed, panicking, crying or having a meltdown, adaptogens would help you feel calm, clearheaded and in control.
5 Popular Adaptogenic Herbs
Fortunately, adaptogens are readily available online and at most health food stores. You can find them as a tincture, tea, or supplement. We prefer supplements due to their convenience and standardization (you get the same dosage in each capsule), but also because they're far more potent and therapeutic than a tea, for example.
Below are the five of our favourite adaptogenic herbs – these can be taken individually or as a blend to maximize their impact.
Known as the king of Ayurvedic herbs, this adaptogen herb is best known for its anti-anxiety effects. Research has shown it reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and offset stress-induced insomnia, depression and a weak immune system. (1)
Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Another Ayurvedic herb, Holy Basil or Tulsi, is found across homes in India and is well known for its restorative and calming properties. Research has found that it can help with stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia as well. (2)
This herb is well known in the scientific community for its ability to significantly reduce physical exhaustion and fatigue, especially in situations of prolonged stress. Preliminary research also indicates that it may even be neuroprotective against toxins. (3)
This is probably the most well known adaptogen used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve mood, reduce fatigue and enhance mental performance, while also improving immunity and libido. (4)
This herb is known as both an adaptogen and nootropic, since in addition to aiding with relaxation, it's also excellent for improving memory, focus and minimizing anxious thoughts. (5)
Getting Started with Adaptogens
At Niyama™️ Yoga Wellness, we've created the Daytime Zen Stress Support formula featuring an adaptogen blend of Ashwaganda, Rhodiola, and Bacopa, along with some l-theanine to really help put you into a state of being relaxed and calm, yet attentive throughout the day.
It's as simple as taking one capsule a day in the morning, on an empty stomach to keep stress at bay during the day. (We like to keep ours bedside and take it with a glass of water upon waking).
While adaptogen supplements will give you results on their own, they work even better with lifestyle changes as well. So make room in your calendar, turn off notifications, say no to plans and prioritize your mental health and wellbeing!
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