Daily Yoga

Yin & Yang: How Balanced Are You?

Yin & Yang: How Balanced Are You?

The Yin Yang Theory is based on ancient Daoism. With darkness comes light, as we observe closer to nature, we realize that the universe is a delicate balance of the Yin and Yang energy. 

Yin represents softness, grace, Divine Mother, passive, darkness, and shade. Yang represents rising, power, action, masculine force, action, and brightness. As humans, we are in the ebb and flow of these two essential components of life. We rise with the Sun and rest with the Moon. We take actions in life and retreat into solitude to rest. Like the season, our true nature embeds this delicate balance.

When we're off balance, our body, mind, and spirit dwindle. Juggling too many things, we fall short on sleep, over-caffeinated, digestion slows down, and anxiety or depression sets in. In Yoga, life is a journey of reaching a higher state of consciousness. What does that mean? From the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, the Eight Limbs Path is a step-by-step manual showing us how to reach fixed concentration (meditation) and ultimately reaching Samadhi (absorption). 

How we do anything is how we do everything. Our yoga practice is a sacred mirror of our life. Are you practicing just power-based yoga and not balancing with meditation or Yin yoga? Are you rushing in life from one stop to another and never stop to smell the roses? 

Take a look. 

If you feel that you're out of balance, here are a few tips you can try:

1. Practice In The Morning

Morning is usually the best time to practice yoga. It can be physical postures, or seated meditation and breathing exercises. Starting the day with yoga can help harmonize the rest of your hectic day. If that is not feasible, do a 5-minute meditation before you eat breakfast and see how small actions can have a huge effect on your mind.

2. Mindfulness Time-Out

Every hour or so, take a mindfulness time-out. A mindfulness time-out is when you pause and tune back to your senses. Smell the air, taste your coffee, listen to the sound in your surrounding, and take a look at the fine details of a flower or painting. Mindfulness time-out can help take you out of your mind and back to the present moment.

3. Choose your yoga practice wisely

Sometimes we get fixated on the style of yoga we practice. The truth is, we have to practice to what our body truly needs that day. I am a supporter of discipline and feel that we should keep to a routine. However, if we're already having a super busy day, it's good to end the day with some gentle Yin yoga and meditation. 

4. No yoga is sometimes the best yoga

If you're constantly busy doing a million things from the moment you get up, see if you can take a day where you do absolutely nothing. Eat alone and enjoy the taste of the food, read or take a slow walk in nature; smell the air and appreciate the beauty of the people and things around you. 

Finding balance is a skill that we can cultivate. Try these tips out and see how it feels to be in complete harmony.

60-Minute Yin Yoga Sequence To Conquer F E A R

60-Minute Yin Yoga Sequence To Conquer

F. E. A. R.

The spine is the pillar of our existence. Physiologically, the spine houses the central nervous system, supports the body’s weight, facilitates movement and flexibility, supports the functions of organs, and enables sensory perception, thought, and locomotion. 

In Chinese medicine, the Urinary Bladder meridian runs along the spine. The Urinary Bladder is a Yang organ and it is paired with the Kidneys. Based on the Daoist view, the acquired emotions after birth in these channels are fear, paranoia, panic, terror, loneliness and insecurity.  People with Qi stagnation in these channels over time can become indecisive, fearful, submissive to authority, and have the tendency to procrastinate. (When we procrastinate, we might have a fear of failure.) Yin Yoga helps to release these negative emotions. Like acupressure, when we hold a posture for a longer period, we stimulate the Qi along the meridians. Restoring Qi circulation in the Urinary Bladder and Kidney channels allows the congenital virtues of rationality and wisdom to prosper.

Here is a full 60-minute Yin Yoga sequence to help conquer fear. You can practice it in the morning/evening and once or twice per week.

Starting your practice:

Before you begin, make sure your practice area is free of clutter, loud music/noise, and most importantly put your cell phone away. Put your phone on silent or airplane mode if you use it as a timer. Essentially, in the next hour or so, you’ll be diving inward to a place of self-inquiry and quietude. Doing a home practice might mean that you have to coordinate with your family members so that you can have space to yourself without any disturbances. 

How long you should hold a posture is entirely up to you. The time set for this sequence is only suggestive. Just make sure you’re able to breathe normally and can feel the target area. I encourage you to push your edge with wisdom and compassion, which means go as far as you can without risking any injuries. 

Let’s begin!

1. Butterfly 4 minutes- Rest 1 minute

Target areas: Low spine, groin, inner thighs.

Annie Au Yin Yoga Butterfly

2. Caterpillar 5 minutes- Rest 1 minute

Target areas: Low spine, back of the legs.

Annie Au Yin Yoga Caterpillar

3. Dragonfly 4 minutes- Rest 1 minute

Target areas: Low spine, inner thighs.

Annie Au Yin Yoga Dragonfly

4. Bananasana 4 minutes per side- Rest 1 minute after both sides

Target areas: Side of the body.

Annie Au Yin Yoga Bananasana

5. Sphinx 3 minute & Seal 3 minutes- Rest 1 minute

Target areas: low spine, stomach.

Stay in Sphinx for 3 minutes

Stay in Sphinx for 3 minutes

If your back is fine, transition into the Seal pose and hold for 3 minutes. 

If your back is fine, transition into the Seal pose and hold for 3 minutes. 

6. Half-Saddle 4 minutes per side
Rest 1 minute between each side

Target areas: Low spine, top of the thigh, shoulders.

Lay on a bolster if needed. If your foot hurts, place a blanket under it.

Lay on a bolster if needed. If your foot hurts, place a blanket under it.

7. Snail 4 minutes- Rest for 1 minute

Target areas: Entire spine (specifically upper spine), back of the legs.

You can do the Caterpillar again if you cannot do Snail.

Annie Au Yin Yoga Snail Pose

8. Reclining Twists 4 minutes per side- Rest between sides for 1 minute

Target areas: Mid-low spine, outer thigh, upper arm/shoulder.

Annie Au Yin Yoga Reclining Twist

9. Savasana 5 minutes

Target area: General stillness in the body/mind. Focus the mind on a single point or try any of these simple meditation techniques.

Annie Au Yoga Savasana

Do you have a friend, family, student who needs to overcome his or her fear? Forward this free sequence to them and it might just be the thing they need!

Join us for the next 100hr Yin Yoga & Chinese Meridians Teacher Training!

June 01-10, 2017

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