Hips and Hamstrings
In today’s intermediate yin yoga class for hips and hamstrings we are going to focus on what happens inside our body from an energetic point of view. The energy channels that flow through our body, called meridians, nourish the urinary bladder meridian and stomach meridian when we are doing yin yoga poses for the hamstrings and hips respectively.
But before we get into the urinary bladder meridian that runs along your hamstrings and the stomach meridian that runs along the front of your hips we are going to rest back into some important yin yoga principles.
There have been some important questions coming up about breath, which is amazing, because breath is a fabulous way to free up the energy, chi or prana. When we regulate our breath in our yin yoga practice it is a way to free the energy in our body. Also when we quiet our breath it helps to still our mind.
When we practice yin yoga we want our breath to be quiet, unlaboured and gentle like the surface of a mountain lake. This will help to still our mind. When we practice yin yoga our breath will be calm, even, slow, deep, natural and unforced. I like Donna Farhi´s directions for essential breath (and I will link to a whole video on how to do this breath: click here)
Gradually, without forcing or effort, over the next few breaths, extend your breath out or your exhalation. Notice the pause at the end of your exhalation. Rest in the pause at the end of your breath out. Notice the pauses between the breath out and the breath in are the places of deepest stillness.
When we are focusing on the front of the hips, we are stimulating the stomach meridian which relates to anxiety. We are constantly digesting our internal impressions and external environment including everything that we see, read, hear smell, think and feel. This can be quite overwhelming in the age of digital and social media and the information overload.
We may go over our thoughts in our head again and again and obsess about certain ideas. When we overthink we have difficulty concentrating. Overeating is one way that we compensate for lack of mental peace. When our stomach meridian is balance we will feel grounded, centered and connected to Mother Earth.
When we are focusing on our hamstrings we are stimulating the urinary bladder meridian. This is the longest and most complicated meridian line in our body. Mentally it refers to the fluidity of our ideas, thoughts and attitudes.
In nature, water can take many forms, from a clear lake, a raging ocean, subtle mist to a frozen glacier. Water is adaptable. When our urinary bladder meridian is balanced we know when to be still and quiet and when strength and power is needed.
If our mind is dry we become fixed and brittle with our thinking, attached to our beliefs and unable to go with the flow. When our bladder meridian is balanced we feel hopeful, calm and peaceful. Our bladder meridian is the guardian of peace.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
If you made it all the way to the end of the class put: ¨those lunges though!¨ in the comments.
Thank you for your donations: Sean from NY, Anne Marie from Australia, Leah from NY, Peige from Italy.
Opening up your hips and hamstrings is not something you can do in just one video. 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 8 days of yoga for back pain. If you go to melissawest.com/backpain you can sign up there to receive 8 days of yoga for back pain: 1 video a day for 8 days with the best of yoga, ayurveda, self massage and pranayama (or breath practices) to help your back.
- Best: The best way to open your hips and hamstrings is in our membership community. We have loads of classes, our most beloved is a 10 class series with short videos called hippy shorts.
The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark Canada:
The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark U.S.
The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi Canada
The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi U.S.
Dusky Leaf Rectangular Bolster:
Dusky Leaf Yoga Mat Canada:
Dusky Leaf Cork Yoga Blocks Canada:
Dusky Leaf Yoga Strap Canada:
Dusky Leaf Yoga Mat U.S.: