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Meditation in Yin Yoga

May 3, 2024
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a female in child's pose yoga position on a green mat in a bright yoga studio

Our bodies are equipped to heal themselves and bring us back to balance – this is our design. But the heavy expectation of Doing that often plagues us disconnects us from this innate ability. Chronic triggering of the Fight-Flight response and misuses the body’s natural resources.

The sympathetic nervous system that drives the Fight-Flight response releases adrenaline and cortisol. Our muscles respond by tensing in high alert mode, ready to lift a car or dash away from a tiger. Muscular relaxation and slow, deep breathing soothes the jittery sympathetic nervous system and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This induces the Relaxation Response and feel-good hormones like serotonin and oxytocin, calming and relaxing us in body, mind, and heart. No longer in survival mode, the body can do its good work to keep itself healthy. Clenched muscles and cramped ideas give up their grip, and rather than perceiving everything as a threat, we’re able to approach our experiences with more curiosity and connection.

By learning to relate to challenges with peaceful presence, we condition our central nervous system to behave as intended, engaging Fight-Flight only for short term emergencies and letting the healing Relaxation Response work its wisdom inside us the rest of the time. As with any conditioning, peaceful presence is a practice.

A meditative approach to the Yin Yoga practice infuses gentleness and spaciousness, helping us build this bridge back to our body’s natural wisdom…one of the many reasons this practice is so powerful. Taking the opportunity to explore meditation within Yin Yoga, we practice uncovering our natural ability to relax and stay present to the whole of our experience with curiosity and compassion. The skills we build on the mat carry into the rest of life and we find ourselves more and more able to greet challenges as opportunities to soften and to open, inviting our purest potential for loving presence to arise.

If you'd like to learn more on how to practice or guide a meditative Yin Yoga experience, pick up a copy of my book Yin Yoga & Meditation on Amazon or join me for my live online 40HR Yin Yoga & Meditation Training.

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