not to water those seeds and instead nourish our positive qualities -
those of compassion, understanding, and loving kindness."
Thich Nhat Hanh
Staying present with mental, emotional, and physical sensations in the body is an ongoing conversation. Listening, observing, and acknowledging without reacting is a moment to moment practice of mindfulness. These days there is a lot to process externally, the way we live our lives is changing rapidly, and can become overwhelming quickly. Lately, I've been drawn to a quieter practice, one that allows me to mentally focus on sensation and breath while challenging my physical body. The shapes, when held for 1 minute or more, gently release muscles and connective tissues, while softening my overall disposition.
Yin yoga is a slower paced movement practice that incorporates the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, with specific poses that are held for longer periods of time.
There are 3 main principles of yin yoga.
1. Enter the shape to your appropriate depth of sensation.
2. Allow gravity to take you deeper into the stretch.
3. Stay in the pose for 1, 3, 5 10 minutes based on your comfort.
Start with shorter time increments and work your way up to longer time holds. Remember, your body sensation changes day to day, and each respective side of the body may have different boundaries.
The qualities of settling and sensing, sinking and staying provides the basis for a 'needle-less' acupuncture session.
The liver is associated with our ability to change and adapt, to stay flexible with what life brings to our days. The gallbladder relates to our staying the course, to follow our path in life. It also relates to our capacity to regain equilibrium after inevitable disruptions. The combined emotional connections are anger vs compassion. This short session tackles the tension that can build up in hips and hearts. General discomfort in the upper shoulders and back (behind the heart), low back and hips are reflective of heaviness, a weight of discontent. Chronic anger, frustration, explosive impulsivity, defensiveness and resistance build up over time. These emotions must reside somewhere if not let go. Notice if there is a place in your body where you feel tightness regularly, now breathe into those areas with a gentle quality of tenderness. This is the first step in the practice. It is much easier to succumb to unhealthy coping skills by making choices that quickly relieve or numb. Begin with the breath, give yourself time, care, love and compassion without judgment. It is not the quicker fix, but it does chip away at the root of it all. The goal is to keep the energy flowing. The sense door for the liver/gallbladder channel are the eyes. Energy that flows swiftly and freely allows for clarity of vision. Look deeper into what you want, need and feel.
The poses chosen for this short yin session heighten the inner aspect of the legs, knees, hips, pelvis, groin, abdomen, chest, neck and throat. Set a timer and enjoy the yin flow.
Safety: This video focuses on the energy lines of the body related to the liver and gallbladder, it is not a replacement for conventional medical care if needed. Be guided by comfort and breath.
Music credit: Opus 23 by Dustin O'Halloran