Yoga and High Sensitivity

Dear person, maybe you have often had the feeling in your life that you are so completely different from other people, you feel that you need much more rest and contemplation to regenerate yourself and you perceive every detail in your environment exactly. Your perception also catches subtle nuances of the mood in rooms, you feel the emotional world of others intensively and are highly empathetic in relationships with other people, you read clearly between the lines, hear what your counterpart does not want to or cannot say and feel his inner world, like it's your own

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At home you plug your phone or laptop into the charger and have to unplug it because you can hear the current flowing through the devices and it drives you insane. You love the morning light, but quickly draw your curtains back because the bright light irritates you. Large crowds are challenging for you, although you love to be out and about, but the multitude of different sounds, smells and sensory impressions exhausts you so much that after a visit to the city or a restaurant you feel completely drained and disconnected from yourself. From time to time you are chronically exhausted, although you have a completely normal everyday life, which at first glance does not appear to be particularly stressful, and your body sometimes hurts for no apparent reason. You are sitting in a waiting room and you hear very clearly the breathing of a woman sitting at the other end of the room and you are about to leave the room because the irregular breathing and its noise are driving you crazy and you are starting to get nervous. You feel restless, over-stimulated and stressed..

During an evening walk you watch the light play of the sunset, you watch the entire magical color spectrum that shows itself to you in its full glory and you would like to merge with the horizon and the colors in the sky, just be ..

…. this is what it might look like very briefly in a highly sensitive person.

If you can relate to it or are highly sensitive and already know or suspect it, I would like to congratulate you. You have received a wonderful, valuable and rare gift on your way, the world is just ready to acknowledge it. Within you lies a portal to hidden treasures and wisdom. You can consciously transform and use your high sensitivity as a force. Your sensitivity opens up worlds to you that others find difficult to access and you can draw from your rich world of experience and take the world with you into these magical spaces, for example through creative work and self-expression.

Those who are highly sensitive often want to stop when the rest is accelerating, want to reflect when others are blindly seeking to maximize profits, and want to listen to the silence when the rest of the world cannot be still.

The high sensitivity holds the chance to discover the deep truths and secrets of life, because for this one has to be able to empathize and to live in what one does not yet know. This gift is both grueling and enriching, and when properly cultivated, can become a key to deep experiences of health and happiness.

It is assumed that 15 - 20% of all people and animals are highly sensitive. Clinical studies have shown that the nervous system perceives more details and processes the received stimuli more intensively and for longer.

People who are born highly sensitive tire more quickly and are often exposed to the problem of overstimulation. The brain of a highly sensitive person has no filter, so to speak, it absorbs all sensory impressions and stimulations unfiltered and the processing process costs an incredible amount of strength and energy, which is why highly sensitive people very often find themselves overstimulated and do not even know why. Each emotion is felt more intensely and they can become so immersed in an experience or relationship that they lose themselves in it. Certain physical sensations are also perceived more intensively, eg pain, cold and heat - a person who is highly sensitive is described by those around him as oversensitive and "too sensitive". Statements such as "don't behave like that" and "you're just too sensitive" are unfortunately often the order of the day for people with high sensitivity and are very stressful, especially if the highly sensitive person doesn't know that there is a specific reason for their sensitive perception ! The boundaries between the highly sensitive and the outside world are so fluid that the highly sensitive first has to be aware of himself and learns to perceive his own inner world and body precisely. Calmness, grounding and balance are super important for this reason!

General signs of high sensitivity

  • feeling of being different
  • Information processing at HS runs more extensively and precisely - more complex processing of sensory impressions
  • Perception of subtle nuances (can lead to sensory overload and permanent stress)
  • lower tolerance for sounds, smells and visual impressions
  • negative feelings of other people can completely throw the highly sensitive person out of balance
  • Encounters with other people can be very draining
  • Stress limit quickly reached (shopping, work, household, etc.)
  • Stress - Symptoms, states of exhaustion and body aches can occur
  • potentially sensitive to "paranormal" perceptions such as seeing the aura, sensing energies, telepathic and empathic abilities
  • low tolerance limit for pain! - is often referred to as hypersensitive
  • Need for rest and contemplation
  • Affinity for art and philosophy
  • often feel a “world pain”
  • often creative/artistic

From a yoga standpoint, there are some very helpful practices that a highly sensitive person can and should incorporate into their daily routine:

Yoga and high sensitivity: Yoga against overstimulation and constant stress

It is particularly important to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and to arrive back at yourself, in the body. This works perfectly with pranayama exercises, which also clean the subtle channels in the human energy system.

Anuloma - Viloma - alternating breathing

Alternating breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and has a balancing and calming effect. Furthermore, the 2 brain hemispheres are brought into harmony, which gives the body and mind more relaxation.

To do this, sit comfortably in an upright position, breathe in fully and fluently a few times - and out again. Now place your right hand in vishnu-mudra (bend index and middle finger of right hand) and exhale through both nostrils. Close the right nostril with your thumb - inhale slowly from the left. Close both nostrils with your thumb, ring finger and little finger and hold the air for about 16 seconds. at. Now breathe out on the right for about 8 seconds (ring and little finger keep the left nostril closed) and breathe in on the right again (about 4 seconds) - hold your breath and breathe out on the left (= one complete round)

You are now breathing fluently on the left side again, close both nostrils...

End the exercise exhaling on the left after about 5-10 rounds.

During the breath hold phases you can, for example, concentrate on your 3rd eye and direct the energy to the point between the eyebrows.

Make sure your shoulders remain relaxed at all times and that you remain seated upright during the exercise.

Full yoga - full breathing

For full yoga breathing, you can either lie down comfortably or sit upright and with a straight back on your yoga cushion. Your shoulders, jaw joints, arms and legs are relaxed and you feel the ground on which you are now sitting or lying. Breathe 3 - 4 conscious, flowing breaths into your stomach and feel the direction of flow of the breathing air.

Now, with your next inhalation, consciously direct your breath into the lower abdomen and the pelvic bowl, feel how the lower abdomen gently arches and sinks again with the exhalation. Repeat the process 1 more time.

Now direct your breath consciously into the middle abdomen and feel how the abdominal wall rises and falls again - repeat this process at least once more

With the next inhalation, your breath now flows into the chest all the way up to the tips of the lungs, which are located on the collarbones. You will feel your chest rise and your abdominal wall bulge inward a little .

When you have now felt all 3 breathing spaces and got a feeling for where the breathing air can flow, you now connect the breathing spaces in a complete, deep breath.

You breathe in completely and fluently and direct the air into the lower abdomen, then further into your middle abdomen all the way up into the chest and the tips of the lungs and letting go, breathe out deeply and completely.

Notice how your breath moves like a wave through your body and flows through all 3 breathing spaces.

The yoga - full breathing helps you very effectively to calm down and to feel your body consciously. The exercise also activates the parasympathetic nervous system and has a very relaxing effect on body and mind.

  • Garbhasana - the pose of the child conveys protection and security. If everything is too much for you and you feel a strong need for retreat and contemplation, then put yourself in the popular position of the child. Put your head on the ground and release all your tension into the ground. Breathe into your stomach and simply shield yourself from the outside world in this position. (Affirmation: I rest within myself, I am centered, I trustingly relax into the lap of Mother Earth, I am protected)
  • Sarvangasana - the shoulder stand not only relieves tension in the shoulder and neck area, but also relaxes mental and intellectual tension. By stimulating the thyroid gland, the hormone balance is positively influenced and the parasympathetic nervous system is also reactivated here. Make sure you continue to breathe deeply into your abdomen. If you can't practice full shoulder stand, place your yoga pillow under your tailbone and raise your legs toward the ceiling. Your arms are relaxed next to your body. (Affirmation: I rule my life by embracing it, I support the sky with my feet while I carry the world on my shoulders - I stand tall, I am strong and energetic)
  • Savasana - corpse pose prepares you to let everything go. Lie in the back relaxation position with your legs hip-width apart and your arms relaxed beside your body, your shoulders away from your ears and your jaw joints relaxed. Drop everything into the ground with every breath and let your stress, anxiety and tension flow out of your body. It is helpful here to work with progressive muscle relaxation and auto-suggestion or to go on a fantasy journey. (Affirmation: I'm processing everything I've experienced, I'm detached and free, full of happiness and warmth, I'm letting go of everything)

Yoga and High Sensitivity: Grounding, Balance and Alignment

Relaxation techniques and sufficient rest are very important for highly sensitive people, but building stress resilience also plays a crucial role.

The external circumstances will hardly adapt to the needs of a highly sensitive person. For this reason, it's beneficial to include challenging exercises (and workouts) as well. A strong, strong and well-grounded body is more resilient than a body that is or has been less challenged.

If, for example, you tend to have stress-related (!) back pain/tension, it is just as important for you to strengthen and train your back as to ensure sufficient relaxation (e.g. 15 minutes of yoga every day - deep relaxation)

  • Tadasana - Mountain Pose gives you the steadfastness and imperturbability of a mountain. With every breath, root your feet in the mat and mentally cultivate the qualities of a mountain that withstands all odds and proudly stretches toward the sky. (I am steadfast and unshakeable, I rest in my center, I am powerful and rise to the sky)
  • Vrikshasana - the tree activates your roots, gives grounding and strengthens physical and mental stability. The tree helps you find balance and teaches you to remain stable in the midst of life's storms. (I'm in balance, I'm well grounded, I'm taking root and I'm stable)
  • Virabhadrasana - The Warrior/Hero develops spiritual power, stability, courage and inner heroism. The position promotes stamina and physical strength, which you constantly need in your life. (Affirmation: I am power, I am a warrior, I face the world with a hero's mental attitude)
  • Sirsasana - the headstand is one of the most important asanas when it comes to cultivating mental clarity and alignment. The headstand gives you courage and willpower, strengthens the deltoid muscles and promotes concentration. (Affirmation: I am focused, I am erect and calm in my center.

... if you are already more experienced in not seeing your high sensitivity as a challenge anymore, we have a very special tip for you to deepen your (spiritual) practice and thus ensure more inner peace.

Yoga and high sensitivity: Raja Yoga - the yoga of mind control

Raja Yoga is about developing mastery over the mind and describing the mind. Patanjali 's Raja Yoga deals directly with the mind and the mastery of the mind (mental techniques). Through self-observation and self-analysis we get to know our individual patterns. We experience what limits our potential and what benefits us. By concentrating on the good in us, we develop more and more our divine strength.

Above all, mediation is important in Raja - Yoga to calm the mind and to recognize what is causing us unrest. Is it perhaps expectations and unfulfilled desires or physical and mental pain that prevent us from finding inner peace?

Raja Yoga recommends getting rid of any limitations and not identifying with them. It could be an interesting and valuable experience for a highly sensitive person to deal with the teachings of Raja Yoga, because ultimately high sensitivity is "only" a characteristic, just like your personality or eye color. Embrace this quality, live it, but don't get attached to it. Serve others and the world with this gift, but try to keep your ego out of it. A sublime spirit defies all resistance and is not irritated by supposedly negative and painful experiences.

However, this requires meditation practice and the will to deal intensively with it and to analyze one's own mind, eg What evokes an emotional reaction in me and why? How do I let myself be disturbed by my physical complaints or the "constant stress"? Etc.

We have already described some meditation techniques in one of our blog articles, take a look and try what feels good for you:

We hope we were able to give you a few suggestions on how to deal with your sensitivity. It is important to do the yoga exercises regularly and preferably daily.

All the best - your Lotuscrafts team.

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