You may have heard about Yin Yoga in recent times as this new, yet ancient, form of yoga has become increasingly popular. It is a slower, more meditative practice where the poses are held for longer periods, targeting the deep connective tissues of the body.
Yin Yoga aligns with the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, working with the meridians (energy pathways) to help create balance in the body (www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/yin-yoga-2). Each season is said to be linked to a dominant meridian pair. This means that by targeting the meridian pair of the season, your yoga can be tailored to support you through the different times of the year.
Statistics in the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report (Australia’s Welfare 2017) show that the majority of Australians are struggling to maintain their work-life balance and consequently, are feeling stressed and overworked (https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2017/10/australians-struggling-achieve-work-life-balance-says-aihw-report/). The busyness of modern life means we often push ourselves by overworking, over-committing and over thinking, which can easily deplete our kidney chi (energy) and lower our vitality. This can be expressed in several ways: stiffness or tightness of the joints, lower back pain, becoming more fearful, feeling “stuck” and losing your zest for life.
Winter is said to be the most yin time of year and as such, the colder months offer the perfect opportunity to slow down and recharge. This season is associated with the Water element and the dominant meridian pair is the Kidney and Urinary Bladder. The Kidneys are like the battery packs of the body: they relate to our overall chi levels and vitality and are associated with the qualities of virtue and wisdom when in balance (https://www.tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/the-five-major-organ-systems/kidney-health/). Now who wouldn’t love a bit more virtue and wisdom in their lives?!
We can activate the flow of chi with a Yin Yoga practice that focuses on stimulating and nourishing the Kidney and Urinary Bladder energy lines through the use of poses such as Caterpillar, Sphinx and Butterfly. Practicing these poses regularly throughout the Winter months will help to recharge and renew your energy stores, and get you moving forward and achieving your intentions.
This year, during the chilly Winter months, take the opportunity to explore how your seasonal yoga practice can support you physically, mentally and spiritually. Rest when needed, be gentle and kind to yourself and you will better support yourself to return refreshed from your hibernation, ready for the buzz and activity of the warmer months ahead.
Yin Yoga classes run at Blue Water Yoga on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons.
Click here for class details and bookings.
Written by Kerryn Godfrey & Blair Phillips