“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.”
― Master Shantideva
When was the last time you worried? Perhaps last night? This morning? Or a few seconds ago? As purported by many scientific researches, humans are designed by nature to be fearful. This is logical as fear encourages us to be cautious, to run away from predators or to preserve food for an unexpected famine. However, as we progress in time, many of our worries are based less on real life danger, but rather on hypothetical stories that run incessantly in our minds.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), sickness can be caused by blocked emotional expression or prolonged/ intense emotional stimulation. These emotions may include anger, worry, fear, sadness, and mania. The concept and practical use of Chinese meridian system distinguishes Chinese medicine from other ancient healing modalities. Out of the twelve regular meridians, the Spleen/Stomach meridians are associated with worrying, as well as emotions like remorse, regret, obsessiveness, self-doubt, and suspicion. Commonly, when energy stagnant in these two meridians, you are likely to over-worry about things that may not have any tangible connections in your reality.
Yin poses help relief energy blockages throughout the body. The mechanism behind is similar to how water runs through a garden hose in your backyard. Just like pinching a garden hose with water running inside, the water pressure would increase behind the pinched spot. Upon release, the water forcefully pushes forward, carrying with it any toxic residue that may have lined the inside of the hose. Comparatively, while holding a yoga posture, the compressive or tensile force created in the body pinches the flow of energy in the meridians. After a few minutes as you come out of the pose, the energy is also released removing any energy stagnation in the channels.
If you’re a constant worrier, here are the top 3 poses you should do to help clear your worries away:
1. Sphinx/Seal- Hold for 3-5 minutes
Start by laying on your stomach and place the elbows under the shoulder. Place the feet together or slightly apart, relax the legs. Slowly sink the chest and shoulders downward. You may feel slight to medium compression in the low back and tension in the chest and stomach.
To intensify the posture, go to Seal by lifting the elbows off the floor. Adjust the pressure in the low back by walking your hands closer or further away from the hips.
If you feel any sharp pain or numbness, go back to Sphinx or release the posture completely.
2. Saddle- Hold for 3-5 minutes
Sitting on your knees or in hero pose (see picture), slowly walk the hands behind you on the floor as you lean back. Stop once you feel tension in the thighs and hip flexors. If you feel a lot of sensation in the low back, place a block or bolster under the spine for support. Only go as deep into the pose as you can breathe comfortably.
3. Melting Heart (Anahatasana)- Hold for 3 minutes
This pose is a gentle opening for the upper and mid back. Start on your hands and knees, slowly walk your hands forward until the chin or the chest touches the floor. You can place a block under the chin or forehead for support. The hips can be slightly forward or behind the knees. You may feel slight to medium sensations in the shoulders. You can also widen the arms to see if it softens the pressure in the shoulders. Note: If you feel any tingling or numbness in the arms, come out of the posture slowly as you might be experiencing nerve/blood vessel compression.