Autumnal Yin to Nourish Body and Soul
In this post we are looking at the wonderful yin postures that can support us through Autumn. Just as the leaves are falling from the trees, now is the time to be considering what there is to let go of. What has served us this year and what is no longer. Here, our yoga teacher Louise explains how yin yoga can help in this time.
The Lung Chi in Yin Yoga
In Chinese Medicine (TCM), Autumn is the season to nourish our Lung Chi. The lungs include the organ of the skin and are paired with the large intestine, (the colon). This energy is all about taking in what we need and letting go of what we don’t. The Lung Chi is responsible for a healthy immune system, which is well worth considering in our yin yoga this time of year.
Furthermore, emotionally the Lung Chi is about being able to deal with change, grief, and being able to go with the flow of what life brings. Letting go of the need to fix ourselves, or others, the need for control or perfection. Essentially, being able to find the beauty in each moment. Cultivating awe, those moments of stopping to notice something that touches us helps to nourish the Lung Chi.
Yin Yoga helps to stimulate the energy, or Chi, through the energy channels of the body by long held poses that put gentle pressure on them. In the body, the Lung Meridian runs from the front of the chest from the collar bone down the inside of the arm to the thumb. The Large Intestine Meridian runs from the second finger up the outside of the arm and up the neck. These Yin Yoga postures help the flow of energy through these medidians.
Yin Melting Heart Pose
Also known in yang practices as Anahastasana. On all fours bring one arm forwards and then other arm bent, the head can either rest on the forearm or on the inside on the floor. Lastly, as arms lengthen away allow the chest to soften to the floor.
Chest Opening Pose
A favourite yin posture.Firstly, lay back over a bolster (or rolled up mat with blanket over the top), starting from point of your back behind your navel. Make sure neck feels comfortable, you might want to put a cushion or block under your head. Then, open your arms wide, palms facing up. Take deep breaths and enjoy.
Heart Opening Pose
Have 3 blocks stacked up that you put your feet on and a bolster vertical along the mat that you lie back on, you position yourself with just your shoulders grazing the floor, head on the floor. You can place a belt around your ankles or thighs to hold them together, to aid relaxing the legs in the pose. If you don’t have blocks or it feels too much for your lower back you can have knees bent and feet on the floor
Wide Knee Childs Pose with Twist
Sit back on heels, knees wide apart. Lean forward half way and thread your right arm under your left arm, palm facing up. Stretch the left arm away from you or warp it behind your back for a deeper twist. You may want to support your head with a block.
For this posture, wrap one arm under the other and draw the forearms together hands meeting or touching the thumb/wrist. Draw the elbows forward and up to deepen the sensation between the shoulder blades. Most importantly, feel free to sit however you feel best here.
You will find, reathing with your diaphragm is a marvellous way to help stimulate your Lung Chi. Plus, it will have a calming effect throughout the whole body and mind. Breathe slowly in through the nose, all the way down to your lower ribs. Imagining your diaphragm opening out like an umbrella on your inhale, drawing up and inwards to exhale.
Also, getting out in the fresh air, having proper rest and a good clean out at home are also ways to support yourself this time of year. When we are able to embrace the change of seasons it not only prepares us for the next but also creates space to enjoy the natural flow of life.
Louise runs Yin Teacher Trainings in Brighton and Goa. She is passionate about helping people slow down, connect with themselves and be guided by their own wisdom. To find out more please click here: Yin Yoga Training