Home Yoga Exercises A Yin Yoga Practice for Creating Space in Body & Mind

A Yin Yoga Practice for Creating Space in Body & Mind

29 min read

“You have to make space in your life for what you want.”

That was what my acupuncturist informed me 4 years in the past after I was struggling to change into pregnant. She was referring to my want for a baby amidst my chaotic life, which on the time included juggling a company profession, instructing yoga at evening, and working a customized intentional jewellery enterprise on the aspect.

She was proper. There was no area in my life for change, development, or something—not to mention anybody—new. I used to be a grasp of filling up each second of my day. Even although a lot of my work was deeply fulfilling, I noticed it was additionally an escape.

See additionally: Burned Out? Yoga Can Help

Why is stillness so troublesome?

When we become still or we settle down, we’re pressured to take a look at what’s actually there. Also, what just isn’t there.

When I lastly made the selection to decelerate, to open up area in my life for risk, it was one of many tougher chapters of my life. I constructed up the braveness and financial savings to stop my company job to deal with my passions. There was extra time to deal with what I really like, however there was additionally extra time to face my grievances, which I had not anticipated. My days went from being extremely structured and full of social interplay to being idle and lonely.

At first, I cried so much. I let my feelings pour out. After years of cluttering up each second of my life, I got here to comprehend that I used to be so filled with unprocessed emotions that I’d efficiently prevented most of my life because of my unwavering means to overextend myself in each path doable.

This is about when my meditation observe started. Even with a lot idle time in my schedule after leaving my day job, I felt like I by no means had sufficient time or area for myself. I noticed that there was an inside part to this sense that I couldn’t fairly wrap my head round. It felt like I wanted to create area from the within out. I felt overwhelmed with grief, anxiousness, anger, and self-doubt, and regardless of how a lot time I had in a day, it appeared that I by no means had sufficient to really feel the whole lot I wanted.

One day, I sat on the lounge carpet of my tiny West Village condo and set a timer for two minutes. I had no plan—I simply closed my eyes and breathed. I used to be shocked at how shortly it felt just like the timer went off. I started to do it extra recurrently for longer intervals of time. Then I sought out guided meditations. Slowly, my meditation observe grew, and with it so did my confidence in the trail I used to be on. It lastly felt like I had area for alternative. And it lastly felt like I had area to imagine in myself.

See additionally: A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

How being nonetheless will be cleaning

Learning to be nonetheless and sit with my discomfort was profoundly cleaning. Eventually, my meditation observe grew to become an essential a part of my morning hygiene: Wake up, brush my enamel, wash my face, clear my thoughts.

Saucha, which suggests cleanliness” or “purity,” is the primary niyama, or yogic rule of conduct that applies to the person. The idea is not only about cleanliness of the body or of the house, but in addition cleanliness of the thoughts.

See additionally: How Living the Yamas & Niyamas Brought Me Happiness and Love

In Light on Yoga, B.Ok.S. Iyengar explains that “extra necessary [than the physical cleansing of the body] is the cleaning of the mind (buddhi) of impure ideas… This inside cleaning offers radiance and pleasure. It brings benevolence (saumanasaya) and banishes psychological ache, dejection, sorrow and despair (daurmanasya).”

There are two methods to scrub a home—you possibly can shove the whole lot beneath the mattress and do a fast vacuum. Or you possibly can take the time to actually clear, reorganize, and purify from the within out. I imagine comparable approaches exist for cleaning the thoughts. And identical to cleansing a house, this sort of deep inside cleaning takes time. Amidst my shift in careers, I noticed there was a complete lot of mess that I had shoved beneath the mattress. And now, time and stillness offered me with no escape route—I needed to kind by way of it.

Saucha is a needed part to creating area. It is a observe of taking time to filter out the impure in order that the pure can thrive. Just as you wring out a dish towel earlier than you possibly can wipe down a counter, you need to filter out the litter in your life holding you again out of your inside readability. It’s troublesome to soak up something new whenever you’re already totally saturated.

To observe saucha in our lives, we have to take an sincere have a look at the commitments we make. We want to look at whether or not these commitments are there due to clear intention or whether or not they’re there to replenish our lives to keep away from the discomfort of stillness.

In the previous two years, as we scrubbed the undesirable from exterior surfaces, a simultaneous inside cleaning unfolded for many. Now, as we shift again right into a world the place the bustle of life continues to speed up, it’s crucial to recollect to create area. I’ve heard so many individuals lately say that they’re committing to much less on their weekends. We have a brand new appreciation for downtime. People have realized to be much less busy and extra nonetheless.

I stop my company job to pursue my ardour for yoga. I didn’t stop to make more room for building a household, but it surely simply so occurred that after I opened up area in my life, amongst all of the feelings, I grew to become pregnant. If we carelessly cram our lives with the entire similar issues we did in the previous, we’ll miss a chance to expertise one thing new. Without this, we is not going to retain contact with the expansion and area and risk that so many people skilled.

See additionally A Sequence to Create and Hold Space

A Yin Yoga observe to create area for risk

The following Yin Yoga sequence is designed that can assist you discover the observe of inside quieting and cleaning to create area. This slower-paced observe is targeted on utilizing body weight and gravity to create area in our connective tissues. By inviting a healthy degree of discomfort into these tissues, over time we restore fluidity and spaciousness to the connective muscle fibers between our joints.

As you progress by way of the sequence, discover your reactions to slowing down as you maintain every form. Just like creating area in our lives, the hassle of making area deep in our muscle fibers is not at all a cushty or easeful course of. Yin Yoga teaches us to breathe by way of our discomfort in order that we will decelerate and create openness from our deepest factors of closure.

Note that this sequence is primarily composed of twists and backbends, each of which are inclined to have energetic and awakening parts. As such, this sequence is finest suited for the daytime. If you observe through the night, take into account together with forward bends after the under sequence to energetically steadiness and adapt it for the night.

Have a block or a folded blanket inside attain.

(Photo: Renee Choi)

Seated Meditation

Sit comfortably, whether or not cross-legged or in your heels in Vajrasana. A block is at all times a welcome prop beneath your seat to assist elongate the bottom of your backbone and alleviate strain in your knees. Sit tall and decrease your chin barely. Soften the interior and outer corners of your eyes and gaze steadily at one level or, if it feels pure to let your eyes shut, accomplish that. Notice the chatter of the thoughts whenever you change into nonetheless, which is your inside response to slowing down. Bring your attention to your breath. Watch the sample of your inhales and your exhales. Stay right here, respiratory steadily, for 5 minutes or longer.

(Photo: Renee Choi)


Lie down in your again. Bring your legs collectively and your arms overhead. Take maintain of your left hand along with your proper and information your arms over towards the higher proper nook of your mat. Move your ft towards the precise, as effectively. Option to cross your left ankle over your proper. Keep your hips even on the mat and stretch by way of your left aspect body to create area for respiratory.

As you proceed to carry the pose, you might discover that more room has opened up; take heed to this lovely response out of your body and reply by transferring your palms and ft additional to the precise. Stay right here for 3 to 5 minutes, come again to heart, and slowly bend your knees towards your chest and circle your knees. Repeat on the opposite aspect.

(Photo: Renee Choi)

Reclined Supine Twist

From Bananasana, keep in your again and draw your knees in towards your chest. Open your arms straight out to the edges like wings, drape your knees over to the left aspect, and take your gaze to the precise. You can place a block or blanket beneath your knees for assist. The additional you draw your legs up towards your chest, the extra the twist strikes into the higher backbone. Conversely, as you progress your knees down, the twist strikes extra towards the lumbar backbone. If your proper shoulder is floating above the bottom, place a blanket beneath it for assist. Once you’re arrange, soften into the assist of the bottom and let your body totally obtain the assist that’s beneath you. Stay right here for 3 to 5 minutes.

To come out, press into your palms and roll slowly again to heart. Release your ft down, retaining your knees bent, and windshield-wiper your legs from side-to-side. Repeat on the opposite aspect.

(Photo: Renee Choi)

Sphinx Pose

From mendacity in your again, roll over to your proper aspect and pause briefly in fetus place. Make your method onto your stomach. Take your elbows about an inch in entrance of your shoulders and align your forearms so they’re parallel with the lengthy edges of your mat. If the feeling in your decrease again seems like an excessive amount of, you possibly can inch your elbows additional ahead and transfer your chest nearer to the bottom. You can preserve your head up or prop your brow on a block to relaxation your neck. Remain right here for 3 to 5 minutes.

To come out, decrease your chest to the ground. Turn your head to the precise, cactus your arms, and convey your proper knee upward in line along with your hip whilst you preserve your proper ankle on the ground. Hug the planet for about 30 seconds. Switch sides. Return to heart and push your self again to palms and knees.

(Photo: Renee Choi)

Melting Heart

From palms and knees, align your hips along with your knees and stroll your palms ahead as you decrease your chest and brow to the bottom. Option to prop each the chest and the brow up for assist with blocks or blankets. If your palms are slipping, you possibly can attempt holding onto the sting of your mat for resistance. Your brow can keep down in your block or mat, or you possibly can take your gaze ahead and relaxation in your chin. Observe the sense of spaciousness you’re creating in the center and higher again. Breathe into this form for 3 to 5 minutes.

To come out of the form, pull your self ahead to palms and knees and take a couple of gradual rounds of CatCow.

(Photo: Renee Choi)


From palms and knees, come to take a seat in your heels and widen your knees barely. If this feels uncomfortable in your knees, attempt inserting a blanket beneath you for additional cushioning. Walk your palms again alongside your hips and lean into your palms to create a small arch in your low again. Pause right here and assess whether or not this can be sufficient sensation for you—do not forget that in Yin, you need to settle in a spot the place you possibly can maintain an extended maintain.

For extra intense sensation, proceed to decrease down onto your forearms. Option to launch your head again if it feels OK  for your neck. Another choice is to assist this form with blocks beneath your higher again and head. Using the blocks might aid you really feel a higher opening throughout the higher chest and shoulders. Breathe into the opening of your whole entrance body for 3 to 5 minutes.

To come out of the pose, reverse and prop up onto your forearms first, then press into your palms and are available again to an upright seat in your heels. Pause right here. Slide your hips to both aspect of your heels, convey your ft in entrance of you on the mat along with your knees bent, and windshield wiper your legs a couple of instances.

(Photo: Renee Choi)

Cat Pulling Its Tail

From seated, come to lie down in your again. Bend your proper knee in towards your chest, and cross it over the left aspect of your body. Bend your left leg as effectively and convey your left heel towards your bum whilst you preserve your left knee in line along with your hip. With your proper hand, attain for the toes of your left foot. Option to straighten the highest proper leg and seize the outer fringe of the foot with the left hand. Remain right here for 3 to 5 minutes.

If this form feels too intense, a easy supine twist can also be a welcome choice. Focus on the sensation of size in your backbone. After holding the pose, launch again to heart and hug your knees into your chest for a couple of circles. Repeat on the opposite aspect.

(Photo: Renee Choi)

Viparita Karani Variation

Lie in your again, bend your knees, and raise your hips. Slide a folded blanket or a block on the bottom height beneath your sacrum. Take your arms straight out alongside you, bend your knees, and raise your legs up. Stretch your ft towards the sky and let your toes attain upward. Release any stress in your fingers, jaw, even the area between your eyebrows. Stay right here for no less than 5 minutes. Bring your focus to the sense of openness you’ve created by taking the time to decelerate and breathe by way of discomfort.

When you’re prepared, bend your knees and slowly convey your ft again to the mat. Pause earlier than you come to life.

See: more Yin Yoga practices 

About our contributor

Neeti Narula is a yoga and meditation trainer in New York City. Her courses are impressed by varied colleges of yoga. She is understood for instructing alignment-based courses infused with thematic dharma and yoga philosophy. Neeti believes that the best way you progress and breathe in your mat shapes the best way you progress and breathe in your life. You can observe along with her in person at Modo Yoga NYC.  To be taught extra about Neeti, take a look at her Instagram @neeti.narula.

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