Trusting the Flow of Life & Yin Yoga
By: Glynda Cullen, LMT, LE
School calendars, activities, carpools, shopping lists, phone calls, appointments, emails, events, deadlines, problems, and solutions. It’s the ceaseless barrage of stimulus demanding a response from you day in and day out.
I don’t know about you… but, sometimes I feel like a top spinning and whirling at a dizzying speed, almost creating a hum that’s at times thrilling. I bet you can relate…
What to do? Move faster? Honestly, the high-pace fed by our culture cannot be maintained without a great cost to our wellbeing (especially intestinal health) and relationships – both of which beckon all of us to slow down to a more natural, more receptive and slower speed.
What would happen if we stopped? Would we cease to exist to the world at large? What if we were absent from the vast friend-network connected electronically?! If we cease to belong there, would we reclaim belonging to ourselves and our families?
Let’s start a revolution! Let’s stage a coup: a purposeful slow-down and dedication to that which is true, real and most important in our lives. So, where do we start…? I have tips for creating a calm space, yoga moves, and more!
Setting the Stage
Let’s start that slow-down by calming your core, with a focus on the digestive system, specifically the intestinal tract. The GI tract is similar to a factory that’s always operating to receive, process and ship food, nutrients and waste. When it’s functioning efficiently, health and calmness follow.
To do this, I suggest creating a corner of calm in your home, a quiet space dedicated to just ‘being’ – soft light, pillows and a blanket, plants, or other natural elements that remind you to move slowly, breathe intentionally and observe nature.
Once you’ve created space in your home, think of a time of day you consistently have to yourself. This slice of time is needed to give you a brief reprieve from the noise, chaos and stress of daily life. Having a specific time and a dedicated place (calm corner) allows you to hold your inner work as valuable, as you add relaxation rituals to your daily routine that create ground for yourself to grow.
Inner work’s bounty lies in the expansion and lightness of spirit that can be felt when receptivity is increased – and a beautiful life moment can fully embraced in its multifaceted splendor. It’s about letting go to have more. Create space, focus your intention, stretch, breathe, acknowledge, release, and embrace.
Calming Rituals: About the Benefits of Yin Yoga
Inner work cannot be seen by the naked eye, but neither can the emotions that disrupt our natural ‘calm.’ To be fully human is to experience the full color spectrum of feelings and emotions in our lives and ourselves. Some emotions are considered more favorable and acceptable in our culture; but, what about the abandoned aspects of ourselves? The denied experiences and emotions? Where do they go? Where do they ‘live’ until the lesson each emotion brings is assimilated?
The three Yin Yoga poses I’m going to describe (later in this article) will help you to ‘check-in’ with your intestinal tract and the stress and emotion held there – to facilitate restoration and the release of tension. Some of the emotions thought to be held in the intestines are anger, resentment, anxiety and worry. Control issues may also be addressed with this practice.
Yin Yoga asanas (poses) encourage us to slow down and remember to trust the flow of life and the natural, higher order that seems to govern our lives, despite our best attempts to control outcomes at every turn. Keep the affirmation “I trust the flow of my life and surrender to its natural wisdom” in mind during your practice.
Yin is a beautiful, restful and very nourishing yoga practice that can deeply stretch the fascia and connective tissues of the body, keeping you limber and flexible throughout all phases of your life. As well, Yin encourages creating space within yourself and in your life. You may become aware of a memory, situation or feeling in your gut as you do this clearing work; continue to release.
Yin Yoga Poses to Do at Home
The object when doing Yin is to sink deeply into each pose and hold it for 2-5 minutes, allowing yourself to move into the discomfort and find comfort there; a skill that can prove helpful in the midst of your demanding life.
While doing your pose, gently guide yourself to take a deep and calming breath. On the exhale, release just a little built-up tension; whatever you’re vaguely aware of at the time. Now, gently repeat this step, releasing just a little more (up to 5 minutes) depending on your abilities.
While I’m not a certified yoga instructor, I do study and practice it daily… these are some poses that help me. (Before starting any yoga program it’s always advisable to consult with a certified professional.)
Forward fold/rag doll pose
This compression of the abdomen will allow for increased circulation upon release:
- Stand tall with arms by your side.
- Raise your arms overhead, while inhaling once, slowly.
- Exhale and sweep arms down as you fold your upper body toward the floor.
- Let your body be loose and heavy. Comfortably rest your arms and hands around your legs or ankles, or place hands on the floor.
- Breathe here for 2-5 minutes.
- Gently sweep arms back up – on inhale – as you rise to a standing position.
This pose helps to increase circulation and relieve intestinal discomfort:
- Lie on your back, allowing yourself to sink down comfortably on the floor.
- Pull one leg into your chest, holding and allowing relaxation to enter the abdomen.
- Breathe here for 2-5 minutes.
- Switch to the other leg and repeat.
This pose relieves tension held in the stomach and is very relaxing:
- Remain on your back and elevate both legs in a bent position above stomach.
- Keep the knees, legs and ankles stacked as you bend to the right, twisting your legs to the side while keeping your torso facing up. (For an increased stretch, you can rotate your head to the opposite side as your legs are stacked.)
- Hold 2-5 minutes while taking calming deep breaths from your abdomen.
- Repeat on the left side and enjoy this new expansive feeling!
Add essential oil to your yoga routine. Before I do yoga, I make an essential oil blend in a 5 ML roller ball vial to apply before stretches, to engage the senses and deepen the effects. I use Young Living’s DiGize featuring tarragon, peppermint, ginger, juniper, fennel and patchouli. Mix 10 drops of oil in the vial with fractionated coconut oil, place the roller ball on top and go!
Glynda is a licensed Massage Therapist and a licensed Esthetician. She offers therapeutic massage and facial treatments (and after-hours appointments). Glynda is also trained in Ionic Foot Detox protocols.