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7 Myths About Yoga You Should Stop Believing

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Hearing the word “yoga” probably has you thinking about “twist-you-into-a-pretzel” kind of positions that you would never dream of trying to get into – much less out of! But that’s not the case! You don’t have to put your legs behind your ears, wrap them around your neck, or bend this or that way like you’re Mister Fantastic from Marvel’s Fantastic Four. You don’t even have to be able to reach your toes to start practicing yoga. And, come to think of it, many of our notions about this ancient practice tend to be myths desperately screaming for a debunking session. And today, Yin Yoga Therapy Training attempts to clear a few of them up. Here are seven myths about yoga you should stop believing right now.

#1 You have to be flexible to start

“Me, do yoga? I can’t even touch my toes!” There’s a thought that has probably crossed your mind in the past! And, given how Instagram archives are jam-packed with yogis acting like acrobats and contortionists, it’s no wonder you believe that. Nevertheless, that’s not at all what real yoga is about. Let’s look at the bigger picture. Real yoga is about mindful movement, an attitude of presence, self-regulation, self-acceptance, breathwork, and meditation. And, in no way does it require you to be flexible or have a “yoga body” to start practicing.

On the contrary: yoga helps you improve your flexibility, balance, and stamina. It’s the result of regular yoga practice, never a requirement. So, do not allow these thoughts to hold you back from taking a class. Take a leap! The development comes with practice.

#2 Yoga doesn’t count as exercise

At first glance, yoga may seem mellow compared to CrossFit and Insanity Workouts, so we get why you’re skeptical. But, make no mistake, yoga will make you sweat.

Yoga meets all the requirements for core work, strength, flexibility, and balance training. Some styles can even help you reap some aerobic benefits. So, it is an incredible way to improve your overall fitness level, help you shape up, and reduce the risk of injury. Also, it relieves muscle and back pain and improves flexibility, endurance, balance, and posture. Therefore, those watered-down stretching classes with rows of mats topped by people resting in Savasana may be a part of it, but they aren’t the be-all-end-all of the practice. 

surfing-image-soul yin yoga ttc 

Yoga is a great way to improve your fitness level and get in shape.

There are more than 100 different styles of yoga – from Hatha, which combines a series of basic movements with breathing, and Yin, which is slower and more meditative, to Ashtanga or Bikram yoga, both of which can make you break some serious sweat. The intensity level depends on the type of yoga you choose, but generally, the flows go far beyond the Child’s pose, Dead Corpse pose, and other sleep-promoting positions. It’s just one of the many yoga myths you must stop believing.

#3 It’s nothing more than a series of stretches

If your excuses for not doing yoga are based on the belief that it was nothing but boring old stretching, boy, are you in for a nice surprise. On the surface, that’s what it might look like. And sure, there are a few overlaps. However, yoga is all but boring. And it’s not nearly as simple as doing a few simple stretches. 

Yoga focuses on mind, body, and spirit balance, helping people go within to establish a connection between these three aspects of being. 

We’ve already discussed the physical aspect, but just like any other form of exercise, yoga and meditation also have numerous proven mental health benefits. For starters, they can modulate brain mechanisms that impact our behavior, thus helping us keep stress and anxiety away, improving our cardiovascular fitness level, and changing our emotional response to life. 

But yoga goes beyond a toned body, the ability to master a handstand, or half an hour of peace away from the office. Ask a yogi what truly makes yoga special, and their answer will be spirituality. Practicing yoga allows you to take the time to slow down and focus inward to get rid of the negative, restore your spirit, and calm your mind. It cultivates awareness of the spiritual energy, transforms your mind, and gives you calmness of mind and spirit. 

#4 The more difficult the pose, the better

Yoga newbies often confuse the ability to pull off more advanced poses with spiritual superiority. But the truth is, no amount of Insta-worthy postures, deep backbends, fancy arm balance, or crazy headstands on your yoga mat can help you discover the joy and profound wellbeing that the practice offers. This is nothing more than one of the common misconceptions related to yoga practice. In fact, it is even recommended that beginners take a gentler, simpler, and softer approach.

Being able to do crazy poses does not mean you’re better at yoga.

#5 Yoga is too easy

Next on our list of myths about yoga you need to leave behind is that it is way too easy or passive. It is actually a combination of both simple and challenging asanas. The fun fact about this incredible practice? You can master some postures in a matter of days, whereas others may take months or more to fine-tune. So, don’t knock it ’till you try it! Of course, practicing it daily and challenging your physique without forgoing your focus is essential.

#6 Yoga is too hard

And then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum – those who fear it will be too difficult. Granted. Some asanas can seem quite intimidating, making you think: Naah, my body “doesn’t go that way.” But that’s the beautiful thing about yoga – it meets you where you are. The whole idea is not to force yourself into an asana. Instead, take things slowly, listen to your body’s signals, adapt the pose to your comfort level, and choose poses that feel best for you. Only after you’ve become more comfortable with yourself in the practice should you explore other more complex poses. 

#7 Yoga is not for men

The chances are that you’ve heard at least one man in your life say that guys don’t do yoga. Or, maybe you are that man. After all, all that emphasis on flexibility, calmness, breathing, and spirituality, it must be a girl thing, right? How could controlled breathing possibly help me gain muscles? 

 

One of the biggest myths about Yoga is that it’s only for women. 

Nevertheless, what’s interesting about this is that it’s all contrary to the history of the practice. Did you know that yoga used to be for men – and only for men? That’s right; the asanas passed down to us were recorded by the male yogi Patanjali around 600 B.C.E. in the Yoga Sutras. The practitioners in the past were almost always men. The western world has picked up yoga thanks to men. Even the founder of the famous Bikram yoga was – yes, you guessed it – a man.

And then there’s the obvious! Yes, yoga is predominantly practiced by women. However, it is incorrect to explicitly tie yoga, or any other physical activity, to women. Yoga is for everyone; it is gender-neutral. So, ignoring such myths about yoga and stereotypes surrounding it as a tradition is essential.

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#YinYogaLove

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I have a body

I have breath

I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts

I have energies and powers inside of me, some I was born with, some I create, stimulate, and balance as I need.

There is a physical world around me, I know I can have a positive impact on it; however, I move with the seasons and remember not to push only to flow and nurture the change I wish to see in the world. I trust when the time is right it will be so.

There are also many people around me. I intend to interact with all of whom cross my path with openness, love, and kindness however never at the expense of my own humanness nor self-love.

I give and I receive

I manifest and I adapt

I stretch and I compress

I am soft and I am powerful.

The benefits of Yin yoga are a touch like the fascia it works with, you can try and simplify it and say it works on different layers  – the physical body, the energetic or spiritual body and the mind. However, like fascia it is more like an interconnected web of benefits. A web of benefits that supports the creation of a balanced lifestyle, or Wu Wei. The benefits of yin accumulate to a human experience in which we can stand in our own power, beauty and wonder whilst equally moving with and flowing with the ebbs and flows of the universal seasons.

However, our human minds still prefer the logical and analytical so let’s take this layer by layer.

The physical body.

Yin yoga is a practice is for any and all body types, it is one of the most accessible styles of yoga as it honours the concept that functional alignment is greater than ecstatic alignment. Within yin practice there is space for modifications for all bone structures and body types. “I’m not flexible so I can’t do yoga” doesn’t cut it here.

If we strip it back to anatomy yin yoga works with ‘yin tissues’ this includes joints, bones, ligaments, and fascia.

Joints – Yin supports the rejuvenation and maintenance of our joints, by compressing our joints we are stimulating the production of synovial fluid which is responsible for the lubrication and health of our joints.

Fascia-  the fascia is a type of connective tissue that essentially holds all our bones, muscles and organs in place without it we would be a puddle of bones, organs and skin on the floor yin yoga we take passive long holds to stretch the fascia, this stretching creates space and releases tensions in the body, increases range of motion, reduces feelings of stiffness and improves circulation. Fascia is also responsible for our sense of proprioception (our ability to know where our body is in space). By working with our fascia, we are developing a strong sense of body awareness, which physically supports our motor planning, sequencing and execution which translates to improved skill acquisition in relation to any new skill.

There is much we don’t know about fascia however there is exciting emerging research around its functions and roles within the body. Some neuroscientists are coming to believe that fascia is capable of carrying conscious thought, meaning yin will allow and create a strong body-mind connection. There have also been studies on the impact healthy fascia can have on cancer recovery and autoimmune disease.

The energetic body.

Yin is a powerful modality to develop an awareness and understanding of the energetic body.

Yin is based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine concept of the meridian system and the flow of chi. The meridians are pathways in which chi flows. Chi refers to our life force energy sometimes referred to as prana. Throughout different stages of life our chi can become stagnant, and it can also be overactive in various areas of our body. The practice of yin helps to balance our chi by stimulating and compressing our meridians the end goal is to have free-flowing chi around the whole body. Yin also offers a space in which we take the time to feel the flow of our chi.

Being in contact and having awareness of our chi and our meridian system is an unbelievably helpful tool in understanding our emotions and how we can work to regulate them.

We have 12 major meridians all of our meridians have various emotions and characteristics associated with them. Meaning that depending on what energies, emotions or life situations are present we can use certain yin postures to work toward free-flowing chi in the associated meridian.

Below are our main meridians and just one of the many examples of life situations/ emotional states associated with them.

Urinary Bladder Meridian – It can be helpful to work with the UB when we are experiencing nervous system dysregulation and to stimulate a parasympathetic state.

Kidney Meridian – Working with the kidney meridian can be a powerful tool in learning how to respond to fear particularly when faced with change or challenges it allows us to tap into a general trust in life and ability and trust in universal guidance.

Liver Meridian – Working with the liver meridian is useful when dealing with feelings of frustration and anger that emerge from plans gone wrong. The liver can help us to gain perspective, develop cognitive flexibility and learn to overcome barriers.

Gallbladder Meridian – Working with the gallbladder energy helps us to tap into our sense of courage helping us to make decisions and follow plans. Less talk more action!

Stomach Meridian – Activating the stomach meridian promotes the nourishing and nurturing of ourselves and the people around us in an appropriate manner.

Spleen Meridian – Working with the spleen is helpful for any of those who tend to overthink, healthy chi flow of the spleen promotes mindfulness and one thing at a time mentality. No hurry, no worry, no sorry!

Heart Meridian – Working with the heart vibration we cultivate a sense of joy, passion, and laughter we remember to be playful and lean into joy.

Small Intestines Meridian – Working with the small intestines energy can help us to become more in sync with those around us supporting connection and interaction with another.

Lung Meridian – With this energy in balance we know how to be with strong emotions like sadness, sorrow and grief without trying to hide them, fix them or fade them.

Large Intestine Meridian – Great to tap into during a full moon ritual or in the waning moon phase, the ultimate energy you need to let go of what no longer serves you!

The mind.

The process of yin promotes the development of mindfulness. Yin has a superpower in challenging the western “go go go”, “rise and grind” lifestyle. Yin allows us to firstly slow down, gain awareness of our thoughts, separate ourselves from our thought and realise importantly that we are not our thoughts. Our thoughts can say whatever they want to say at the end of the day they have no real power over us, we always have choice and control over our actions and how we show up in this world.

Let’s look at an example: You’re in a yin class and so far you have been enjoying some gentle forward fold and you are excited to continue to enjoy a nice relaxing gentle sequence but then the teacher tells you, “and now 5 minutes in frog” your thoughts tell you ff off, not happening, give up, they tell you that it’s too much, that wasn’t what I was expecting, that you can’t do it, you feel angry and frustrated. However instead of hooking onto these thoughts and feelings you unhook, you let them drift around. Slowly time passes, you begin to sink into the pose you create some space physically but also mentally for these thoughts to come and go, the intensity of the thought reduces and what’s this? You are actually beginning to enjoy the sensations. Now the teacher tells you it’s time to find your rebound.

The cognitive skills displayed here are extensive.

  1. Emotional awareness
  2. Awareness of thoughts
  3. Cognitive flexibility, there was an unexpected obstacle to a plan, and you overcame it
  4. Mindfulness

Yin yoga importantly creates harmony in our lives bringing together our mind, body and energetic field helping us to connect to mother earth and equally the universe.

Colleen Mann, Yin Yoga Therapy Ambassador Australia

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Connecting to your yin side in a yang world

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We live in a very yang-dominated world. We are constantly on the go, we are multitasking,yin yoga teacher training maldives girlnotifications are always ticking in on our phones, our schedules are jam-packed, we have endless to-do lists, and we are always being encouraged to achieve more, make more money, buy a bigger house, work longer and harder, get more results, just do more… Always do more.

Our modern yang-dominated lifestyle desperately calls for balance. Daily stress is impacting our bodies, minds, and souls. Perhaps we keep going because we don’t know how to stop. We don’t know how to get out of the hamster wheel. We simply don’t know of any other way to keep up.

At the same time, we long for ease. To just be. We long for enjoying life just as it is, without this constant doing and achieving.

This is where yin comes in.

Yang is the action of doing, yin is the ability to receive. 

Right now our world – and ourselves – is unbalanced. We are lacking the yin, the introspective. When looking at how we live our lives it is no wonder that stress and anxiety are on the rise. There is too much yang and much too little yin. Too much doing and not enough being.

That is why it is so important to consciously connect to our yin side. If we are to restore balance in the world and within ourselves incorporating yin practices into your life is essential. But the world we live in is never going to tell us this, we must consciously choose to connect to our yin side and embrace and cultivate the ability to sit and listen closely.

The Yin Yoga Therapy practice is designed to create space for just that. To unwind your body, clear your mind, and open your heart. To allow energetic healing and balance to take place.

Yin Yoga is more than just physical stretching and rejuvenation. Yin Yoga can be an art, a philosophy and a way of living.

 

But practising yin yoga is just one way you can connect to your yin side. There are many more yin practices you can incorporate into your daily life so you start to balance the yin and the yang.

A few yin practices we love:

☯️ Naturally, we love Yin Yoga. Practising Yin Yoga 2-3 times a week will not only help you with your body’s flexibility and stability, it will also give you a profound sense of calm and relaxation.

☯️ Go into nature. Nature is so healing. Get your feet dirty. Dance in the forest. Swim in the ocean. Hug a tree. Breath in the fresh mountain air. Watch sunrises and sunsets. Walk barefooted in the grass. Just connect with Mother Earth.

☯️ Dan Tien breathing. Breathe all the way into your belly. Allow your belly to expand gently on each inhalation, exhale fully, let it all go. By breathing deeply you activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and you will start to notice how your body becomes more and more relaxed.

☯️ Turn off your phone. Yes, we need our phones for work and staying connected with our friends and family and just the world in general. But it is so important to also take time to disconnect and not be on your phone. Perhaps set your phone on airplane mode every night and don’t turn it on until after you have had a bit of quiet time in the morning to just be.

☯️ Be still. Just sit with a cup of tea and enjoy your life. No phone, no magazines, no music, no podcasts. Allow yourself to just be.

☯️ Create your own yin rituals. Sweeten that tea with a dash of cinnamon, put love instead of sugar. Drink it sitting on your favourite spot on the ground, rooting yourself while lighting a candle and applying your preferred aroma oil on your wrists. 

☯️ Nourish yourself by mindfully preparing your food fresh, sprinkling some blessings over it. 

We hope these practices will help bring some balance to your life. Remember, connecting to your yin side doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can be as simple as just sitting down and taking a few deep, nourishing breaths while allowing all your worries, cares and stressors to float away. 

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Choose Love Over Fear

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We recently posted a post on Instagram about choosing love over fear and thought we wanted to talk more about this topic in an email.

In life, it can be so easy to choose fear over love. It is all too easy to let fear take the steering wheel and let fear decide the course of your life. How many of us have decided against doing something simply because we were fearful? How many people never get around to starting their own business, becoming yoga teachers, or taking a chance in love because they are afraid?

All too many people allow fear to control and dictate their life.

Of course, fear can also be good. We need fear in order to survive. If we didn’t feel fear we would walk out in front of cars, and we would do stupid, dangerous things. However, when fear is holding us back from living life to our fullest potential it becomes problematic.

You can feel fearful but still, have the courage to do it anyway.

Fear will always be present, but that doesn’t mean you have to live your life from a place of fear. Perhaps you are afraid to start a new relationship because you were so hurt in your last relationship. This is a prime example of choosing fear over love. Or perhaps you know in your heart that you are meant to teach and share yoga with the world, but you are worried what other people will think of you, that you never get around to signing up for a teacher training. Or perhaps you want to start your own business, but you’re afraid to leave your cushy 9-5 job so by the time you’re 60 years old, you still don’t have a business.

Here’s the thing. Every single day people choose fear over love and faith.

However, we have the choice to live our life from a place of love and faith. It doesn’t mean that fear isn’t present, it just means that fear isn’t calling the shots.

When we live life from a place of love and faith, we become brave with our lives. We sign up for that yoga teacher training, we start that business we have been talking about for years, we apply for our dream job, we go on that solo trip to Bali, we say yes to a new romantic relationship, we wear the clothes we love…

We become our truest, most authentic selves and we start to radiate love and light.

 

Here’s a wonderful quote from Teddy Roosevelt about being courageous with your life:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

― Teddy Roosevelt

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Were attention goes, energy flows ☀️

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If you have ever attended one of Alex’s yoga classes or one of her healing sessions, then then you undoubtedly have heard Alex say these words more than once:

“Where attention goes, energy flows.”

If you spend your days worrying about how you will ever find a new job, get clients, what will other people say, will there ever be peace in the world, then you are directing your energy into all the wrong things… The truth is there are endless things for us to worry about, but as the saying goes:

Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.

As human beings, we have a tendency to worry and think about everything that could go wrong. We make up scenarios in our minds that most likely will never happen. When we spend all this time worrying and stressing, that is exactly where all our precious energy flows.

If you dream of starting your own business and travelling the world but you keep worrying about leaving your cushy job, not having a steady income, and everything that could go wrong while travelling, what are the chances of you actually starting your own business and travelling the world for example as a digital nomad? Probably zero to none.

If instead, you focus on actually starting your business, writing down where you will travel to, and generally focus all your attention on how this could actually happen and everything that could go right, guess what? Energy will flow there, and your odds of manifesting your dreams are much higher.

You need to get laser-focused on what it is you really want and let go of all the worrying and the limiting beliefs. Remember: worrying is like praying for what you don’t want, it can become that self-fulfilling prophecy. So focus your attention and energy on your goals and dreams. You will be amazed at what happens once you direct your attention and energy to the right places. 

Suddenly you are at the right places at the right times (synchronicity). You meet people who support you. You stumble upon resources that are helpful. You overhear conversations that inspire you. You will be surprised at how fast the universe works once you simply direct your energy where you want it to flow.

This also means focusing on the positive. It can be all too easy to get caught up in negative thinking, self-doubt, and worry. Instead, focus on what is going well. Focus on everything you have to be grateful for. As they say: focus on the good and the good gets better. 

Choose gratitude. 

Count your blessings.

Choose to believe that even your wildest, craziest dreams can come true.

And then, as Alex often says as well:

“A little courage is needed, growth happens outside your comfort zone. 

And I promise you, just there, a little over that edge, you will discover the best version of yourself.”

Tune in. Stay yin. Brightest Blessings,

Your Yin-Love Team

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Top 5 Benefits of Using Essential Oils for your Yoga Practice

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Yoga is now one of the most preferred physical fitness and mental exercises developed to enhance the overall well-being of the mind, body, and soul. Yoga has tremendous physical and mental health benefits, which can be achieved only through regular yoga practice.

While there are many other forms for gaining strength and flexibility, yoga is still considered one of the best forms. The reason behind this enormous popularity of yoga is its amalgamation with many natural techniques to attain inner peace and provide comfort to the muscles during workout sessions. One such technique that helps you deal with your daily stress level or tiredness by giving you a soothing experience is essential oil therapy.

If you are unaware of the benefits associated with essential oils, you are missing out on something really beneficial to your well-being. They are considered one of the most effective ways to deal with many common ailments without spending much time or money.

Essential oils are organic compounds used for various purposes like flavors, scents, etc. These oils come from plants and their different parts, roots, bark, seeds, etc. The potent scent of these plant-based compounds is depicted by its name “essential.” This essential oil therapy has proved to be extremely helpful in enhancing the quality of yoga practice when dealing with muscle pain after strenuous workout sessions. Here we would like to discuss some essential benefits associated with using essential oil during yoga practice:

#1. Relieves Muscle Aches and Pains

One of the significant reasons behind muscle pain after a yoga session is stretched or contracted muscles that are not given enough time to relax properly. Using essential oils for alleviating your muscle aches and pains would be helpful since these compounds have an anti-inflammatory property that helps in diminishing any irritation caused by overused muscles. It also reduces the recovery period after a strenuous workout session. The best way to apply these essential oils during yoga practice is through a massage or by putting a small amount on your Yoga mat.

#2. Promotes Serenity and Positive Energy

One name comes to our mind regarding spices, i.e., “Cardamom.” It is one of the most common spices found in different types of cuisines worldwide. Cardamom has its benefits in providing serenity and positive energy to our body when used during yoga practice. Since cardamom works wonders when promoting your overall wellness, it can help you during yoga sessions for various reasons like nausea, indigestion, etc.

#3. Relieves Stress and Anxiety

Who doesn’t get stressed out? Many factors keep on stressing us every day, including the financial crisis, poor health conditions, the workload at the office, etc. The modern lifestyle leads to stress because of a lack of time management and dealing with multiple problems simultaneously.

The most beneficial way to reduce the mental stress from our daily routine is through aromatherapy involving aromatic compounds like essential oils. The best part about these spices is that they have a soothing effect on our minds and uplift our mood level to relax during yoga sessions. Include lemon essential oil during yoga as it is one of the most easily recognized oils because of its refreshing, energizing, and uplifting scent. You can add a few drops of your favorite oil in a bathtub filled with warm water, or you can put some amount on your Yoga mat before starting your practice.

#4. Enhances Blood Circulation and Relaxes Nervous System

In today’s world, when people are stressed out due to their hectic schedule, it often leads to poor blood circulation in our bodies and various other health problems, including anxiety and depression. Aromatherapy has the power to improve our blood circulation and also helps in relaxing our nervous system through its powerful scent. It can help you during yoga sessions since it promotes a relaxed feeling and reduces the recovery time of muscles after an intense workout session.

#5. Heals Injuries Fast

Another primary reason behind muscle pain that occurs after strenuous yoga practice is injuries often caused while performing different asanas, which involve holding your body in unusual positions for long hours. The best way to get rid of this kind of injury would be to apply essential oils on your body’s affected area or put a few drops of oil on your Yoga mat before starting a yoga session. These compounds have anti-inflammatory properties that heal your injuries fast, promote blood circulation, and give a soothing effect to your senses.

Wrapping Up!

So these are some of the benefits that you can avail of from using essential oils for yoga practice. By incorporating these compounds in your daily life, you would be able to get rid of pain caused due to overused muscles, stress, and anxiety, heal any injury fast along with getting a relaxed feeling while performing yoga sessions regularly.

If you have any queries related to this topic, please feel free to ask by commenting below! Thanks for reading, and stay connected with our blog for the latest updates.

 

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Ahimsa, non-violence

yin yoga teacher training at The Body-Mind-Soul Centre 6

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Ahimsa is the first of Patanjali’s Yamas, which are the yogi’s ethical and moral guidelines towards society. Directly translated Ahimsa means non-violence. Himsa means violence. A means non. However, you can expand the definition of Ahimsa to also include compassion, empathy, non-harm, peace, mercy, and love towards all beings. The practice of Ahimsa is called ‘Mahavrtam’ which can be translated to ‘the Great Vow’.

You could see Ahimsa not simply as non-violence but as the opposite of violence: Compassion, mercy, peace, love… 

Many yoga practitioners believe by becoming vegetarians/vegans they are practicing Ahimsa. However, Ahimsa is much more than what you choose to eat. If you are vegetarian but you are constantly judging others, you have missed the mark. We are not practicing Ahimsa by judging, condemning, and holding anger towards others.

Violence takes many forms, and it is not only about not harming animals and the environment. Violence can also take the form of judgment, a lack of compassion towards ourselves and others, negative self-talk, negative thoughts, beating yourself up… 

Violence can also show up on your yoga mat. If you are constantly thinking thoughts like: I’m too big to do this pose, why don’t I have a body like hers, I’m bad because I can’t get my leg behind my head… Then you are not practicing Ahimsa in your yoga practice. Practice with the body you have. The perfect body for yoga is the one you already have. Don’t starve yourself and don’t force your body into shapes and poses that clearly are an act of violence against your body. Listen to your body, and do your practice with love and kindness for yourself.

   If you like to find out more, in all our 200-hour courses like the  Yin & Yoga Foundations Teacher Training Course 200 Hours we look deeper into subjects like this.

When practicing Ahimsa try cultivating an attitude of acceptance, tolerance, and compassion for yourself and others. Make peace with yourself, your failures, your successes, and your body. 

If eating a vegetarian or vegan diet feels right, do it. But do not force it upon others and do not judge others. That is not practicing Ahimsa. Many yogis do at some point in their practice start to feel overwhelming compassion for the animals and the earth. But your decision to switch to a vegetarian diet should come from a place of love, not anger. Ahimsa is not about creating dogma and then judging others when they fail to live up to the dogma you have created.

The truth is we all fail at Ahimsa. Every time we speak a harsh word, we feel jealous, we put gas in our tank, we take a flight, we buy vegetables wrapped in plastic, we think negatively about ourselves and others we are, in a way, not practicing ahimsa. But don’t beat yourself up for failing. Forgive yourself and others and move forward with a humble heart.

Live your life while maintaining Ahimsa in thoughts, speech, and actions both when interacting with others and when by yourself. Make peace with yourself and others.

Take a moment to reflect on the following question: 

How will you practice Ahimsa today? 

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The yoga butterfly pose – Investigation & A 60 min yin yoga sequence

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As you have probably already guessed from the title of this article, we will be discussing the yoga butterfly in this article. Some people love the yoga butterfly pose and almost just melts into the pose, and it seems like they could stay there for an entire yoga class. For others, this is a challenging pose that can bring up a whole range of emotions. Actually, whether or not you find this pose easily accessible or challenging it is not uncommon that emotions rise to the surface. In fact, any time we work with hip openers it is very common to have feelings arise during the pose. But remember; that just means yoga is working.

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Yoga Butterfly Pose

Before we dive deeper into the yoga butterfly pose we would like to take a moment to talk a bit about alignment in general, yoga teachers facilitating a space where students can tune in and listen to their bodies, and students taking responsibility for their own body and yoga practice.

If you have been practicing yoga for some time chances are you have heard at least one teacher talking about ‘good alignment’ but what is ‘good alignment’? Is it copying a picture you have seen in a book or on Instagram? Is it having every student in the room looking the exact same in any given pose? Should we all strive for the same aesthetic ideal?

No, we do not believe that is ‘good alignment’, and we don’t believe that you should ever strive to make a pose (any pose) look a certain way. There is no such thing as ‘universal alignment’. We all have unique bodies with different ranges of mobility, flexibility, and strength. We each come with our own story, and to think we can (and should) all look the same in a pose is simply delusional, and it will not lead to anything good.

Take the yoga butterfly pose for instance. Some people have very open hips, and folding forward in the pose will be like the most natural thing in the world for these people. Others, however, may have less open hips, an injury or something else that prevents them from easily folding forward. Both are doing the pose equally correct, and they are working with the body they have.

To assume we should all look the same in a pose is unintelligent, and instead of working with the body we are working against it. Now, this is not to say we should just dismiss alignment altogether. It is more about working with ‘functional alignment’ instead of ‘universal alignment’. This means we work more with each individual body and explore the pose and how it feels rather than thinking we should all have our hands and feet in the exact same place in a pose.

Start tuning into your body and explore the pose and notice how it feels. Think of your yoga teacher’s cues as mere guidelines, and remember to listen to your own body. At the end of the day you are the only one who can feel what is going on in your body, and whether something feels right or wrong. Respect and listen to your teacher’s cues but remember that ultimately you are in control, and there are many right ways to do the same pose.

 

Yoga butterfly pose – benefits, contraindications, modifications & getting in and out of the pose

In this part of the article we will dive into different aspects of the yoga butterfly pose so you will feel confident and safe practising this pose by yourself after reading this article. And remember; always, always, always listen to your body. If you feel any pain, slowly come out of the pose. Modify if need be, and respect your body’s limitations (both physically and mentally). Never force anything. Simply just let go.

Benefits: 

  • Yoga butterfly pose is a really nice way to stretch the lower back.
  • Depending on where you place your feet your hamstrings will get more or less of a stretch. If you place your feet further away from your groin, the hamstrings will get more of a stretch. On the other hand if the feet are closer to the groin, the hamstrings will get less of a stretch.
  • The pose is said to help regulate periods, ovaries function and make childbirth easier.
  • As a little yin specific side note (we will not go into this in this article) we primarily work with/stimulate the kidney and urinary bladder meridians in this pose.

Contraindications:

  • The pose can aggravate sciatica. Therefore you may wish to elevate the hips by sitting on a cushion until the knees are below the hips if you have sciatica. Perhaps you also have to avoid this pose entirely.
  • If you suffer from any lower back disorders that do not allow flexion of the spine, then keep the spine as straight as possible and avoid any rounding of the back. Alternatively you can do the reclined version.
  • If you have suffered whiplash or you have reverse curvature avoid dropping the head down.

Getting into the pose:

This pose is a relatively easy pose to enter, and there’s not much you can do wrong. Come to a seated position and bring the soles of your feet together, and then slide the feet away from you. Depending on your hips and knees you can slide the feet further or less away from your groin. Allow your back to round, fold forward, and lightly rest your hands on your feet or on the floor in front of you depending on what feels the nicest to you. Allow your head to relax.

Coming out of the pose:

  • Slowly come back to seated by rolling back up. Then slowly stretch your legs and come to a nice rebound on your back for a minute or two.

Modifications:

  • You can elevate the hips by sitting on a bolster, cushion or blankets.
  • If you feel too much stress in the neck, you may wish to support your head in your hands and then rest your elbows on your thighs or blocks.
  • If for whatever reason your back is not okay with folding forward in this pose, you can do the reclined version by lying down on the floor (or on a bolster) while keeping the legs in the butterfly position.

Fun thing to do:

  • You can try a Toe Zip, folding your opposite toes into each other. Great stretch for your toe joints, lots of juicy sensations to observe and it can help you to be more grounded and find anchor in your balancing poses.

Joints affected:

  • Hips and lower back/spine

Recommended hold time:

  • We usually recommend students to hold the yoga butterfly pose between three and five minutes. However, please listen to your body and come out of the pose if you need to.
  • If you really love this pose, and you just cannot get enough of it, you can hold it for even longer than five minutes. In fact, you can hold it for as long as you like. You can even read, talk on the phone, watch your favorite TV-show, talk to a friend, eat etc. in this position. If you start sitting in this pose while performing daily tasks you will really start opening up your hips!

As a last little note before we move into the sequence, this pose is usually very nice for pregnant women as it allows the hips to open up and it can help release lower back pain. Both things that many pregnant ladies find very lovely.

 

60 minute sequence with the yoga butterfly pose

While the butterfly pose is a wonderful pose to do on its own either when you need a little work break, you feel like opening up your hips, or you simply just like sitting in this wonderful pose while chatting to a friend, the pose is also wonderful in yin yoga sequence.

This 60 minute sequence is specifically made for the kidney and urinary bladder meridians (as mentioned earlier the butterfly pose targets both the kidney and urinary bladder meridians). The sequence is lovely for opening up the hips and releasing lower back pain.

You can do this sequence on its own or after a yang practice. Whatever you feel like. Yin yoga can be done any time of the day but we personally love practicing yin yoga in the afternoon or evening as you don’t always feel like working or being super active (both physically and mentally) after yin yoga. Actually, yin yoga is a lovely way to decompress after a long day. It helps calm down the nervous system, and it helps you unwind and get ready for bed.

We have already mentioned it but we cannot stress this enough. Listen to your body while practicing, and if something feels off it probably is off. Pain is always a one-way ticket out of any pose. Respect, listen and honor your body.

Always come in and out of the poses slowly and mindfully, and remember to do a rebound in between the poses where you just relax and refrain from moving. Simply just observe any sensations, feelings and thoughts that have arisen after the pose.

Lastly, you can do savasana for as long as you like but we recommend you spend at least five to ten minutes in savasana. Savasana is just as important as any other pose so don’t skip it.

Now, let’s get to the sequence and we hope you will have a beautiful practice.

Note: you can always refer to yinyoga.com if you have any doubts about any of the poses.

60 minute sequence:

5 min. Meditation + Dan Tien breathing

Start in a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and notice your breath. Just sit here for a couple of minutes while observing your breath, without looking to change it. Now start deeping your breath and breathe all the way into your belly. Exhale fully. This is called the Dan Tien breathing. If possible, see if you can continue to do this deep belly breathing throughout your practice. It will help you relax, let go and just melt into the poses.

After 5 minutes, slowly open your eyes and prepare for the first pose.

3 min. Toe Squat

If possible, stay in Toe Squat (sometimes referred to as Tugged Toe) for two minutes. This pose can be rather intense so if you need to modify the pose by all means do so. If it gets too intense during the pose you can always shift your weight forward while keeping the toes tugged. The Anjali Mudra on the back as seen in the picture is quite intense and optional, but a perfect way to activate upper body meridians as well.

      

Rebound – on the back

Now, come into a rebound on your back. It’s very important that this rebound is on the back and not on the belly.

 

4 min. Caterpillar

Again, modify if need be but otherwise simply just enter the pose and stay here for 4 minutes. Surrender to gravity and just let go.

     

Rebound

Time for rebound again. Simply just roll onto your back.

4 min. Butterfly

Now it’s time for Butterfly.

           butterfly pose yin yoga teacher training

butterfly pose variation – yin yoga teacher training

Rebound

Once again, slowly roll back so you lie on your back and come into your rebound.

4 min. Dragonfly 

Now come into the Dragonfly pose. Again, if you need to modify the pose, please do so. Stay here for 4 minutes. Again, see if you can just let go and surrender to gravity. Don’t force anything. Simply just breathe and let go. Here in the pictures you can see different variations if you like to explore, but a simple forward fold is perfect.

      

     

    

Rebound

Slowly roll onto your back again and come into rebound. Just observe anything that has arisen during the pose.

3 min. Happy Baby

This time stay on your back and come into Happy Baby, and stay here for 3 minutes. This pose usually feels a little bit more intense after a bit of time in the pose. See if you can just relax and breathe deeply.

     happy baby yin yoga ttc

Rebound

Again come into rebound lying on your back.

3 min. Sphinx + 2 min. Seal

Start by coming into Sphinx on your elbow and stay here for 3 minutes. Relax the space between your shoulder blades, and if possible relax your head and neck too.

If it’s accessible to you, transition from Sphinx into Seal by stretching your elbows. Stay for 2 minutes. If Seal is too much for your lower back, you can stay in Sphinx for another 2 minutes.

Rebound

This time you can do a rebound on your belly. You are also welcome to do the rebound on your back if that is more comfortable for you.

5 min. Back Bend over Bolster 

Place the bolster so you can place your back on it and lie down. You can stretch out your legs, but you are also welcome to place your legs in Butterfly position so you are in Reclined Butterfly since this is the theme of this article.

If you are looking for a more physically balanced version of this sequence for your hips, now would be the time right to move to a hip inward rotation after all the previous outward rotations. Try the triangle legs! Simply bend your knees and bring the feet outside of your mat, now let the knees lean into each other.

Place your arms wherever it feels best for you.

butterfly pose reclined Butterfly Pose Reclined

Rebound

Come into a rebound on your back.

4 min. Twisted Roots (each side)

Start by twisting to your left side and stay there for 4 minutes. If you need to you can do a ‘mini rebound’ before moving to the right side where you will also stay for 4 minutes.

Come into your last rebound for today.

9 min. Extended Savasana / Starfish

Relax, chill out and simply just enjoy an extended Savasana / Starfish to let all your meridians flow freely!

We hope you have enjoyed both this article and the sequence. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, and we will get back to you.

Interested in learning more and becoming a yin yoga therapy teacher?  See what Yin Yoga Therapy Ambassador Jorunn Lavonius from Finland shares about her experience.

 

Testimonials

Testimonials – Yin Yoga Butterfly Pose

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A deep dive into the Banana Pose & A 60-minute yin yoga sequence

DSC_0295 yin yoga teacher training

If you are looking for an in-depth talk about the Banana pose, then you have landed in the right spot. In this article, we will cover everything there is to know about the Banana pose, and we will end the article with a blissful 60-minute yin yoga sequence, which, of course, will include the Banana pose.

Most people tend to like Banana pose, and it’s a pose which the vast majority of people can do as it is easily accessible, and there are not many contraindications. The pose is very relaxing, and it is wonderful as one of the very last poses of a yin yoga sequence. The pose is not the most intense yin pose there is, however, it gives you a wonderful opportunity to stretch the entire side of your body. It is also a pose that is relatively easy to let go in and relax. We are sure you will come to love this pose if you don’t already love it!

DSC_0295 yin yoga teacher training
Bana Pose Detailed Article

Remember, during a yin yoga practice feelings may arise to the surface. That is perfectly normal and nothing you should panic about. Simply observe the thoughts and emotions that may arise during your practice. Avoid analyzing, going into the emotions, or pushing them away. See, if you can simply observe whatever arises with an equanimous mind. Remember; you are not your thoughts and feelings, you are just the one experiencing them. So breathe, and remind yourself that nothing is permanent, and whatever arises will eventually dissolve again. 

A word on ‘good alignment’

Before we dive deeper into the Banana pose we would like to take a moment to talk a bit about alignment in general, yoga teachers facilitating a space where students can tune in and listen to their bodies, and students taking responsibility for their own body and yoga practice. 

If you have been practicing yoga for some time chances are you have heard at least one teacher talking about ‘good alignment’ but what is ‘good alignment’? Is it copying a picture you have seen in a book or on Instagram? Is it having every student in the room looking the exact same in any given pose? Should we all strive to the same aesthetic ideal? 

No, we do not believe that is ‘good alignment’, and we don’t believe that you should ever strive to make a pose (any pose) look a certain way. There is no such thing as ‘universal alignment’. We all have unique bodies with different ranges of mobility, flexibility and strength. We each come with our own story, and to think we can (and should) all look the same in a pose is simply delusional, and it will not lead to anything good.

Take Banana pose for instance. Some people are prone to experience tingling in their arms and may need to support their arms on a bolster to avoid these tingling sensations. Others may have lower back problems that prevent them from going deep into the pose. Then there are people whose body is like soft butter, and they may need to go deep into the pose to feel a stretch. Everyone is doing the pose correctly, and they are working with the body they have.

To assume we should all look the same in a pose is unintelligent, and instead of working with the body we are working against it. Now, this is not to say we should just dismiss alignment altogether. It is more about working with ‘functional alignment’ instead of ‘universal alignment’. This means we work more with each individual body and explore the pose and how it feels rather than thinking we should all have our hands and feet in the exact same place in a pose.

Start tuning into your body and explore the pose and notice how it feels. Think of your yoga teacher’s cues as mere guidelines, and remember to listen to your own body. At the end of the day you are the only one who can feel what is going on in your body, and whether something feels right or wrong. Respect and listen to your teacher’s cues but remember that ultimately you are in control, and there are many right ways to do the same pose.

Banana pose- benefits, contra indications, modifications & getting in and out of the pose

In this part of the article we will dive into different aspects of the Banana pose so you will feel confident and safe practicing this pose by yourself after reading this article. And remember; always, always, always listen to your body. If you feel any pain, slowly come out of the pose. Modify if need be, and respect your body’s limitations (both physically and mentally). Never force anything. Simply just let go.

Benefits: 

  • A wonderful way to stretch the whole side of the body
  • The pose works the spine in a lateral flexion (side bend) from the IT (iliotibial) band to the tops of the side rib cage
  • Stretches the oblique stomach muscles and the side intercostal muscles between the ribs
  • Some may also feel a lovely stretch in the armpit

Contraindications:

  • We actually already mentioned this earlier but for good measure we will mention it again. If you are prone to tingling in the hands or arms when extending your arms overhead, you may need to place a bolster under the arms. Alternatively, you can also bring the arms down by your side. However, you will lose a bit of the stretch so we recommend you try with a bolster first.
  • If you have lower back issues, you may wish to not go too deep in this pose. Listen to your body, and if you experience any pain back out.

Getting into the pose:

Start by lying on your back, and then reach your arms overhead and clasp your hands or elbows. Now, keep your buttocks on my mat while moving your feet/legs and upper body to the right side so you are shaped like, yes, you guessed it, a banana. Avoid rolling or twisting your hips off the floor. Find your edge, and stay here. Then do the pose on the left side.

Coming out of the pose:

This pose is super easy to come out of. Simply move your legs and upper body back to the center, and take your arms down the side.

Modifications:

  • If prone to tingling sensations in your hands and arms when overhead, you can place a bolster under your arms.

Fun thing to do:

  • If it feels nice you can cross your ankles in this pose once you have found your edge. Place your left ankle on top of your right ankle when doing the pose on the right side and vice versa on the other side.

Joints affected:

  • This pose moves the spine and the rib cage in a lateral flexion.

Meridians and organs affected: 

  • This pose is especially fantastic for the gall bladder meridian, which runs along the side of the body. 
  • When stretching your arms overhead, you may also be stimulating the heart and lung meridians.

Recommended hold time:

  • We recommend students hold this pose between 3-5 minutes. 
  • If you feel fine in the pose, you can always stay in the pose for more than 5 minutes. 3-5 minutes is more of a guideline or a rule of thumb, but if you feel like staying longer, by all means feel free to do so.

60 minute sequence with Banana Pose

While the Banana pose is a wonderful pose to do on its own either when you need a little work break, you feel like stretching the side of the body, or you simply just feel like lying down for a ew minutes, the pose is also wonderful in a yin yoga sequence. 

This 60 minute sequence is specifically made for the gallbladder and liver meridians (as mentioned earlier the Banana pose targets the gallbladder meridian). The sequence is lovely for stretching your outer thighs and hips and opening up your hips.

You can do this sequence on its own or after a yang practice. Whatever you feel like. Yin yoga can be done any time of the day but we personally love practicing yin yoga in the afternoon or evening as you don’t always feel like working or being super active (both physically and mentally) after yin yoga. Actually, yin yoga is a lovely way to decompress after a long day. It helps calm down the nervous system, and it helps you unwind and get ready for bed.

We have already mentioned it but we cannot stress this enough. Listen to your body while practicing, and if something feels off it probably is off. Pain is always a one-way ticket out of any pose. Respect, listen and honor your body.

Always come in and out of the poses slowly and mindfully, and remember to do a rebound in between the poses where you just relax and refrain from moving. Simply just observe any sensations, feelings and thoughts that have arisen after the pose.

Lastly, you can do savasana for as long as you like but we recommend you spend at least five to ten minutes in savasana. Savasana is just as important as any other pose so don’t skip it.

Now, let’s get to the sequence and we hope you will have a beautiful practice.

Note: you can always refer to yinyoga.com if you have any doubts about any of the poses.

60 minute sequence

5 min. meditation + Dan Tien breathing

Start in a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and notice your breath. Just sit here for a couple of minutes while observing your breath, without looking to change it. Now start deeping your breath and breathe all the way into your belly. Exhale fully. This is called the Dan Tien breathing. If possible, see if you can continue to do this deep belly breathing throughout your practice. It will help you relax, let go and just melt into the poses.

After 5 minutes, slowly open your eyes and prepare for the first pose.

Butterfly – 4 minutes

Now come into your Butterfly pose and stay here for four minutes. Continue to breathe deeply and let go as much as you can. 

Come into your rebound for a minute or two and simply observe what happens after the pose.

Lateral Dragonfly – 3 minutes each side

After your rebound come back up to seated and come into Dragonfly. Start by stretching your left arm to the side, and then after three minutes switch to the right side and stay here for another three minutes.

Time for a lovely rebound again.

Sleeping Pigeon – 4 minutes each side

Start by doing Sleeping Pigeon on your left side and switch to your right side afterwards. Stay on each side for four minutes.

You can do this rebound on your belly if you wish. You are also welcome to do it on your back.

Shoelace – 4 minutes each side

Start with your left leg on top of your right leg, and then switch the sides after four minutes. You can rest your arms in front of you wherever it is comfortable. If you wish to work a bit more with your side body you can do this pose lateral (in the same way you just did a lateral Dragonfly). It’s up to you.

Enjoy your rebound before the next pose.

Twisted Roots – 3 minutes each side

Start by lying down on your back here, take your arms out to the side, bend your knees, and then wrap your right leg around your left leg. Slowly lower your legs to the left side and stay here for three minutes before repeating the pose on the other side.

Rebound

Another rebound. See if you can just let go fully and observe what is happening in your body and mind after the pose. 

Banana pose – 4 minutes each side

Our last pose for today is the Banana pose! Start on your left side or the love of yin.

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9 min. Extended Savasana

The last rebound for today. Relax, chill out and simply just enjoy a Savansana to let all your meridians free flow!

We hope you have enjoyed both this article and the sequence. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, and we will get back to you.

LoveLight

Alex & the Yin-LoveTeam

PS: Here is a little video from our training at the Body-Mind-Soul Centre of one of our chanting circles.

CHANTING CIRCLE AT YIN YOGA THERAPY TRAINING

Interested in learning more and becoming a yin yoga therapy teacher?

See what Yin Yoga Therapy Ambassador ​​Jess from Australia shares about her experience.

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A 60-minute yin yoga sequence & A deep dive into Melting Heart pose

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If you are looking for an in-depth talk about the Melting Heart pose (also known as Anahatasana and similar to Puppy Pose in yang styles of yoga), then you have landed in the right spot. In this article, we will cover everything there is to know about the Melting Heart pose, and we will end the article with a blissful 60-minute yin yoga sequence, which, of course, will include the Melting Heart pose.

Melting Heart Pose – Yin Yoga

This is a pose that really divides people! Some love this pose and others, well, it is not exactly their favorite pose. If you have very tight shoulders this pose might feel a little bit intense (but it will benefit you greatly!), and if you have very open and flexible shoulders this pose will probably feel very nice. The pose will give you a nice backbend for the upper and middle back while also opening up the shoulders and softening the heart. It is a pose with many benefits and while it can be a little bit challenging for some people we are sure you will come to love how this pose makes you feel after practicing it.

Remember, during a yin yoga practice feelings may arise to the surface. That is perfectly normal and nothing you should panic about. Simply observe the thoughts and emotions that may arise during your practice. Avoid analyzing, going into the emotions or pushing them away. See, if you can simply observe whatever arises with an equanimous mind. Remember; you are not your thoughts and feelings, you are just the one experiencing them. So breathe, and remind yourself that nothing is permanent, and whatever arises will eventually dissolve again. 

A word on ‘good alignment’

Before we dive deeper into the Melting Heart pose we would like to take a moment to talk a bit about alignment in general, yoga teachers facilitating a space where students can tune in and listen to their bodies, and students taking responsibility for their own body and yoga practice. 

If you have been practicing yoga for some time chances are you have heard at least one teacher talking about ‘good alignment’ but what is ‘good alignment’? Is it copying a picture you have seen in a book or on Instagram? Is it having every student in the room looking the exact same in any given pose? Should we all strive for the same aesthetic ideal? 

No, we do not believe that is ‘good alignment’, and we don’t believe that you should ever strive to make a pose (any pose) look a certain way. There is no such thing as ‘universal alignment’. We all have unique bodies with different ranges of mobility, flexibility, and strength. We each come with our own story, and to think we can (and should) all look the same in a pose is simply delusional, and it will not lead to anything good.

Take The Melting Heart pose for instance. Some people have very open and flexible shoulders and they may easily place their heart center on the floor and perhaps place their chin on the mat. This will also lead to a deeper backbend. If you have less open shoulders you probably will not get as deep into this pose, and you may also feel much more of a stretch in the shoulders and an opening of the chest as opposed to a backbend. Everyone is doing the pose correctly, and they are working with the body they have.

To assume we should all look the same in a pose is unintelligent, and instead of working with the body, we are working against it. Now, this is not to say we should just dismiss alignment altogether. It is more about working with ‘functional alignment’ instead of ‘universal alignment’. This means we work more with each individual body and explore the pose and how it feels rather than thinking we should all have our hands and feet in the exact same place in a pose.

Start tuning in to your body and explore the pose and notice how it feels. Think of your yoga teacher’s cues as mere guidelines, and remember to listen to your own body. At the end of the day, you are the only one who can feel what is going on in your body and whether something feels right or wrong. Respect and listen to your teacher’s cues but remember that ultimately you are in control, and there are many right ways to do the same pose.

Melting Heart pose – benefits, contra indications, modifications & getting in and out of the pose

In this part of the article, we will dive into different aspects of the Melting Heart so you will feel confident and safe practicing this pose by yourself after reading this article. And remember; always, always, always listen to your body. If you feel any pain, slowly come out of the pose. Modify if need be, and respect your body’s limitations (both physically and mentally). Never force anything. Simply just let go.

Benefits: 

  • A lovely backbend for the upper and middle back
  • Opens shoulders
  • Softens the heart

Contraindications:

  • If you have a bad neck or have some kind of neck issues, this pose could strain it.
  • If you feel any tingling in the hands or fingers, it could be a sign that a nerve is being compressed. Therefore if you feel any tingling, you may wish to adjust the arm and hand position, or perhaps you need to skip the pose entirely.

Getting into the pose:

Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Walk your hands forward and allow your chest to drop towards the floor. Keep your hips right above the knees. If possible try to keep your hands shoulder-width apart.

Coming out of the pose:

Either slide onto your belly or slowly walk your hands back to you again come on your hands and knees before coming into your rebound.

Modifications:

  • If you experience any pain in the shoulder, try moving your arms further apart. Slightly bending your elbows may also help.
  • If you have the flexibility (and your neck allows it) you can bring your chin to the floor instead of your forehead. However, be careful with the neck, as we are staying in the pose for quite some time in yin yoga so it could strain the neck. Listen to your body.
  • If your knees and/or ankles are a bit sensitive, you can place a blanket underneath them.
  • You can tuck the toes under.
  • If you have tight shoulders, you may wish to rest your chest on a bolster so it’s easier for your body to relax and let go.
  • You can do this pose with one arm at a time. Rest your head on the other forearm.

Joints affected:

  • Shoulder joint
  • Compression for the upper back
  • Mildly stresses the lower spine

Meridians and organs affected: 

  • This pose is wonderful for the Heart and Lung meridians that both run in the arms.
  • The deeper you are in this pose the more you will stimulate the Urinary Bladder that runs on the backside of the body.
  • If you feel a stretch on your stomach you are also stimulating the stomach and spleen meridians.

Recommended hold time:

  • We recommend you hold the pose between three and five minutes. If you are very comfortable in this pose you can hold it for longer.
  • If you are resting the chin on the floor you may not be able to hold the pose as long because of sensations in the neck. Always listen to your body.

A 60-minute Sequence with Melting Heart Pose

While the Melting Heart pose is a wonderful pose to do on its own either when you need a little work break or you just feel like opening up your shoulders, perhaps after traveling, driving, or computer work, the pose is also wonderful in a yin yoga sequence. 

This 60-minute sequence is specifically made for the Heart and Small Intestine meridians (as mentioned earlier the Melting Heart pose targets the Heart Meridian). Both meridians run in the arms which means this sequence is great for opening up the chest and shoulders.

You can do this sequence on its own or after a yang practice. Whatever you feel like. Yin yoga can be done any time of the day but we personally love practicing yin yoga in the afternoon or evening as you don’t always feel like working or being super active (both physically and mentally) after yin yoga. Actually, yin yoga is a lovely way to decompress after a long day. It helps calm down the nervous system, and it helps you unwind and get ready for bed.

We have already mentioned it but we cannot stress this enough. Listen to your body while practicing, and if something feels off it probably is off. Pain is always a one-way ticket out of any pose. Respect, listen, and honor your body.

Always come in and out of the poses slowly and mindfully, and remember to do a rebound in between the poses where you just relax and refrain from moving. Simply just observe any sensations, feelings, and thoughts that have arisen after the pose.

Lastly, you can do savasana for as long as you like but we recommend you spend at least five to ten minutes in savasana. Savasana is just as important as any other pose so don’t skip it.

Now, let’s get to the sequence and we hope you will have a beautiful practice.

Note: you can always refer to yinyoga.com if you have any doubts about any of the poses.

60-Minute Sequence:

5 min. meditation + Dan Tien breathing

Start in a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and notice your breath. Just sit here for a couple of minutes while observing your breath, without looking to change it. Now start deepening your breath and breathe all the way into your belly. Exhale fully. This is called the Dan Tien breathing. If possible, see if you can continue to do this deep belly breathing throughout your practice. It will help you relax, let go, and just melt into the poses.

After 5 minutes, slowly open your eyes and prepare for the first pose.

Toe Squat with reversed Anjali Mudra – 3 minutes

When you’re ready after your meditation, come into a Toe Squat with Reversed Anjali mudra on your back (this will stimulate the Heart meridian).

Toe Squat with reversed Anjali Mudra
Toe Squat with reversed Anjali Mudra

Rebound – on your back

Now, come into your rebound. It is very important that you come into your rebound on your back after Toe Squat (even though it might seem tempting to just slide onto your belly).

Child’s pose – 5 minutes 

After your rebound come into a nice Child’s pose with your arms stretched overhead.

 Child’s pose
Child’s pose

Rebound

Time for a lovely rebound again. You can do this rebound on either your back or on your belly.

Closed Wing – 4 minutes each side

Now it’s time for Closed Wing which will be lovely for stretching the outside of your shoulders. Start on your left side, and stay for four minutes on each side.

melting heart pose
Closed Wing

Rebound

It’s nice to do this rebound on your belly but if that’s uncomfortable for you, you are welcome to do the rebound on your back.

Melting Heart – 4 minutes

When you’re ready come into Melting Heart and stay for four minutes.

melting heart pose
Melting Heart

Rebound

Enjoy your rebound before the next pose.

Open Wing – 4 minutes each side

After your rebound, it’s time for the Open Wing pose where we will also stay for four minutes on each side. Start with your left side.

Open Wing

Rebound

Another rebound. See if you can just let go fully and observe what is happening in your body and mind after the pose. 

Twist – 3 minutes each side

The last pose for this practice is any twist your choice. Make sure your arms are spread wide to each side here for a free flow of all the meridians which were compressed in our earlier poses. Stay for three minutes on each side, and start on your left side.

melting heart pose
Twist

9 min. Savasana

Relax, chill out and simply just enjoy Savasana.

We hope you got in touch with your Melting Heart pose and enjoyed both this article and the sequence. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, and we will get back to you.

LoveLight

Alex & The Yin Love Team

Ps: Interested in learning more and becoming a yin yoga therapy teacher?

See what Tara Kurian, Yin Yoga Therapy Ambassador in India tells you about her training experience.

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