If you’ve been along to a Yin Yoga session, then you will know that Yin is far more than just a physical practice. When practising Yin, we can travel deep into our Soul Space, into our emotions, in a way that we can’t in other styles of yoga. But why is this?
In Yin, we hold the asanas for a longer period of time than in our Hatha Flow classes. This stimulates the energy within the body, allowing energy to move to wherever it is needed. It helps our deeper connective tissues to relax, releasing the physical tension within the body. Yin forces us to be completely still. Something that we often overlook, and a practice that can be emotionally difficult at times. If we have been dealing with unresolved emotions (such as anger or sadness), then these may start to drift to the surface. In our day to day lives, we often pack our schedule with activities and distractions, so our mind isn’t forced to deal with these emotions. Yin puts a stop to this.
Our buried emotions can rise to the surface in different ways;· A special memory, dream or image · Anxious or fluttering energy· Unexpected intense emotional reactions – such as anger, sadness or fear· Feeling the need to escape your practice· Sudden tears, maybe unexpectedly
While these emotions may be unwanted, it’s important to know that even the smallest hint of unease in your practice demands, and deserves, your attention. This is a HUGE opportunity to reflect on your own emotional well being, your internal landscape. Taking this time is the ultimate act of self-care. It creates space for us to bring awareness to ourselves, and to take time to allow these emotions rather than try to dampen them down. While hiding and controlling our emotions may be we want (and sometimes necessary short term just to function and ‘get through’) long term we all know the damage this can cause to our well being. Healthy release is the key.
So how can we release these emotions? Take a look at the ideas below and let me know if any of them work /have worked for you. Or maybe you have another to add? Let’s help each other along this self-care journey.
- Walking in nature: Taking a walk in nature helps to ground our bodies and bring balance. The fresh air wakens us, and we gain new perspectives to ease our mind from obsessive thinking. Take a walk, one step in front of the other, and soak up all the details around you. Maybe combine this with a mindfulness walking meditation, for the ultimate chill out moment.
- Nourishing food: Nourish yourself with your favourite nutritious food and drinks.
- Deep sleep: Sleep is essential for emotional processing. Sleep allows our brain to make sense of the day, and boosts our energy when we need it most. If you find you’re not sleeping well, then perhaps try Yoga Nidra before bedtime – it’s guaranteed to help you drift off!
- Journaling: Writing down what you felt during your yoga practice, or during your day, helps you to remember and reflect. Describe all the details – how did you feel? What emotions were rising? Did you recall any memories? Reading back through your journal can help you recognise patterns, and also allow you to view situations when you are not IN that emotion, helping you see more clearly.
- Solitude and quiet: Simply take some time out for you. After an intense release, you may feel overwhelmed and more sensitive than normal. So take some time out from the sensory bombardment of the world – perhaps taking a nice warm bath in a candle lit room, or sitting on a quiet beach. Witness your thoughts and your physical body without interruptions. Breathe deep and know you are achieving SO much by doing so little.
- Meditation: Daily meditation practice is an invaluable life tool. Just 5 minutes each morning can set you up for the day. It brings you into the world in a peaceful way, rather than straight into your to-do list. Meditation comes in many forms, so make sure to explore all the different types to find one which works for you.
Emotional release can be uncomfortable and messy, but it should be seen as the perfect opportunity for growth and renewal. Yin may being this to the surface, but it is simply calling you to address what you already know deep down – all those emotions you are holding need release.
Yin is the gateway to finding balance. Outside and In.