“Yoga Nidra builds our Allostatic Load!”
exclaimed John Vosler to a confused Marc Holzman.*
*That was an exchange on our Yoga Nidra Satsang Zoom call last Sunday.
**Full admission: I had to research Allostatic Load.
By general definition, allostasis and homeostasis seem similar because both are ways that we maintain stability in the midst of change. But there’s a B-I-G difference.
Homeostasis keeps us alive by holding us within the very narrow limits of body temperature/chemicals. We humans have a “must” temperature: 37ºC/98.6ºF. If we vary by even 4-5 degrees above or below this set point, we die. Note: we are surviving on this planet within a very slim margin.
Similarly, allostasis is our response to some challenge, either from outside or inside of ourselves. This response is what allows us to handle the stress of that challenge. That’s great. But as more stress comes our way, and we keep increasing our ability to handle it at great physical/emotional costs, the healthy allostasis response becomes Allostatic Load. That’s not so great.
Put another way, with homeostasis, the set point is pretty fixed with very little wiggle room. When we’re cold, we KNOW we are cold, and the body kicks into gear to save our lives. With allostasis, our set point for handling stress is pushed and pushed and pushed until we are no longer even aware that we are living in a chronic, low-level state of Fight or Flight. Allostatic Load becomes our new normal. And over time, this presents a big problem.
Nidra helps us turn off those brain circuits that continue to dump adrenaline into our system. It’s one of many tools we have to Unload the Allostatic Load.
If you missed the Zoom call live on Sunday with John and me, no worries.
and head over to my YouTube channel to watch it (or just listen). Whether you’re into Yoga Nidra or not, it’s chock-full of useful life hacks on how to be a Human Being vs. a Human Doing. John is charismatic and super knowledgeable.