If there’s one thing I have learned during this pandemic, it’s the importance of creating gracious space for myself and my loved ones. These days emotions drop by without much warning, dismantling the idea that we’ve got this all figured out. My training as a trauma therapist tells me this is normal, and my body resists. The conflict between knowing and feeling sets in, followed immediately by the need to grasp on to what’s certain, the need to control.
So, I get on my mat. I’ve been practicing yoga for well over a decade, and over the last 6 years the practice of yin yoga has become my refuge. Yin yoga challenges me to consider the benefits of discomfort. To soften resistance and trust my capacity to hold space. To recognize that softening often takes you a lot further than force.
As we continue to step forward into the reopening phase, I find myself feeling more uncertain than before and a little more resistant to softening. The stakes are high. Studio owners are asking how we feel about teaching & practicing in person again. Clients and patrons are asking when we will return to business as usual. Friends are wondering what the hold up is to hang out. Our livelihoods and relationships seem to be on the line. How on earth do you choose? How do we know when we’re ready? What do we stand to lose if we say we are not quite there yet?
I am not sure if I am ready to answer those questions, to be honest. I am still sifting and sorting through my grief and fear. Dismantling the need to control, and taking time getting to know the thoughts and emotions that have arrived at my door.
But I don’t need answers to start moving forward, and neither do you.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the emotion of fear is expressed when our kidney chi is out of balance. We may struggle with motivation, experience fatigue and engage in black and white thinking. Conversely, when we nourish the kidney chi we have access to our innate gentleness, openness and inherent wisdom.
Below is a yin yoga practice designed to nourish the kidney chi and invite you to soften your grip on fear and trade it in for wisdom.
I invite you to move into these shape with a curiosity about your physical and emotional edge, seeking a place where you are experiencing a moderate amount of tugging on the tissues. Once here, you might begin to soften around the area of sensation, utilizing a balance of strength and softness to establish physical safety. Then, I invite you to hold. Rest here in the shape while lending a listening ear to what arises physically, emotionally and otherwise.
What you learn will inform what steps you take next.