I just returned from a week of deep nourishment and self-care, taking a Yin Yoga teacher training over on the Puna side at a beautiful retreat center called Kalani. Wow, did I need this! Since I became a mother almost 3 years ago, this is really the first big thing I’ve done (or more like “not done”) for myself. I returned from my inner-journey deeply rested and filled with gratitude. Though I missed my beloved husband and daughter for the week, I feel like the time I spent away filling my own cup, strengthened and renewed our bonds. I am so glad I listened to my intuition telling me that I needed to take a break and go fill my cup. Now I feel like I have new ways to help myself, my family, and my clients nourish our Yin.
Life these days is so Yang. What does that mean? Yang being the masculine principle, and Yin the feminine, Yang is hyper abundant in today’s lifestyle. We fill our lives to the brim with work, social stuff, computer stuff, running around stuff, caffeinate ourselves to the max in order to do all this stuff. Even our healthy routines of exercising and doing power yoga is all very Yang in nature. Yang is wonderful, and necessary. It is the active principle, the power to do things and manifest in the world. We need it. Yet unfortunately many of us are out of balance, feeling “burned-out” because we are not listening to our deepest needs for rest and surrender. In Chinese medicine, this is referred to as deficient or damaged Yin.
It was an amazing experience to immerse myself in Yin yoga for a week. Yin yoga is different from most styles of yoga in that the positions are held for 3-5 minutes, and you stay passive, supported often by blankets and bolsters. The aim of Yin yoga is to engage and stretch the deep connective tissue within the pelvis and spine. It is believed that the meridians run through the body’s connective tissue (fascia). By opening these meridians through passive stretching, you help to balance the flow of chi throughout the body. I can attest that it works! Yin yoga provides me with a calm, grounded sense of energy, and a clearer mind.
There are many ways you can nourish your Yin. Here are a few ways:
- Get plenty of rest. Give yourself permission to lay down and sleep when you are tired, no matter what your brain tells you about whether or not you “should” be tired.
- Drink water. I know this is a no-brainer, but it always bears repeating.
- Meditate. 5-60 minutes per day. Sit or lay down in a comfortable position and watch your breath. If meditation is daunting, check out some guided visualization podcasts or youtube videos.
- Yin or Restorative yoga. Both of these styles of yoga focus on staying passive in your stretch, and breathing deeply.
- Eat nourishing foods.
- Cut out caffeine. (I’m still not ready to do this one.)
- Tai Chi or Qi Gong are both amazing movement practice, aimed at cultivating vital energy.
- Get a massage. (I get at least bi-weekly massages to keep myself tuned in.)
- Contemplate your life. Ask yourself what really matters to you, and how do you ideally want you life to feel? Let go of anything that does not feed this vision.
With much love and aloha, I pass on my deepest wish for all of us to honor and respect the feminine Yin principle in our lives by allowing ourselves to drop out of the hustle bustle, and giving ourselves permission to simply be. Namaste.