Mindfulness – Yin Yoga
Norman Blair says ¨our mind is like a chimpanzee in a cappuccino bar.¨ We are intensely stimulated in our consumer culture to want more, buy more and consume more. We are inundated with commercials that keep our mind occupied with messages that preoccupy our mind with feelings of unworthiness and the need for more shiny things. As Norman Blair says, ¨we are enormously practiced in distraction and discontent.¨
We believe we can find resolution in our minds. Our mind judges, labels, analyzes, and compares ourselves with others in an endless loop. We try to think our way through life and figure it all out. We try to get rid of our pain by thinking our way out of it, by interpreting, limiting and controlling our experience.
When I say mindfulness I am speaking about a practice called shamata, which bascially means to place your attention on a specific object. In the lineage of meditation that I practice, of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Reggie Ray and Dharma Ocean, the object of attention is our body. I practice a style of meditation called somatic meditation.
In the stillness and quiet of our yin yoga practice we can come into the direct experience of our bodies. This subtle, energetic and inward practice invites us to feel our body from the inside. We are tuning into the basic awareness of our bodies themselves.
When we pay attention to our body we pay attention to the physical sensation, the subtle energy that flows through our body and the experience of the boundary of our body within space (for example the way our back body feels resting against the ground).
When we open our awareness into our body we do so with openness, kindness, tenderness, compassion and without judgment or agenda. That is we are not imposing our plans or goals onto our bodies, we simply arrive and listen to what our body has to say to us.
As my teacher Reggie Ray says, mindfulness is how to come with attention to the body and with awareness we surrender and open to whatever the body wants to show us. So first we come to and into our body and then we open our consciousness into the interior wakefulness that is going on under the suface.
Yin yoga can act as a bridge towards a meditation practice. Because we are actually meditating for five minutes at a time in the yin yoga postures, meditation can seem less overwhelming as we develop the confidence to meditate five minutes at a time each time we come into a yin yoga posture.
Yin Yoga Postures/Yin Yoga Sequence: Butterfly Pose, Sphinx Pose, Broken Wing Pose, Half Stirrup Pose, Stirrup Pose, Melting Heart, Seated Twist, Half Dragonfly, Legs Up the Wall
Yoga Props: Wall, Yoga Strap, Folded Blanket
Resources: Norman Blair Brightening our Inner Skies Yin and Yoga
Reggie Ray, The Awakening Body: Somatic Meditation for Discovering Our Deepest Life
Our next live class is December 29th at 9:00 am PT Yin Yoga for lower back and hips
Let me know in the comments, when you listened to your body today, what did you discover?
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Learning yin yoga is not something you can do in just one yoga video. Just like brushing your teeth, yin yoga is a way of life and is something you can embrace everyday. The best way I have learned to care embrace the yin way of life is to make yoga a part of my everyday life. I am going to share with you a good, better and best way to do that now.
- Good: We release a video here every Friday at 9 am PT, when you subscribe and turn on notifications by pressing that bell, you will receive that video and it will support you in your daily practice
- Better: At the beginning I told you I will tell you where you could go to get 7 days of yoga for anxiety. If you go to melissawest.com/anxiety you can sign up there to receive 7 days of yoga for anxiety – this will help you embrace a more yin way of life.
- Best: The best way to make yin yoga a part of your everyday life is to join our membership community. It is there that we can support you in making yoga a part of your daily life with our curated content. We have our monthly YinDulgence 90 minute LIVE workshops with 2 way videos on the last Sunday of every month at 9:30 am and 4:00 pm PT, with archives recordings made available to our members afterwards.
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