Full Body Yin Yoga | 60 mins Intermediate | Yoga with Dr. Melissa West 435

by Melissa West on

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Full Body Yin Yoga

In a full-body yin yoga class it can be useful to review the three principles of yin yoga to begin the full body yin yoga practice.

#1 Find an appropriate edge. Here we pay attention to our bodies with sensitivity and non-aggression. Tune inwards and listen to your body. You want sensation but not sensational. If there is too much sensation it will hinder the flow of chi and you will not be able to soften into the pose. However, you do want enough tension so that you are expanding the range of motion and energizing chi in your posture.

#2 Be still and allow your muscles to be soft. In order to access the deeper connective tissues, your muscles must be soft. In this yin yoga class we are focusing on strengthening and lubricating the connective tissues that wrap around the joints and bones. In yin yoga you relax and allow gravity to help you to sink into the pose. If you use your muscles to push you further into the pose then you are not accessing the deeper connective tissues. It then becomes a yang practice and causes the chi to flow up and into the muscles. To keep this a yin practice we stay still so that chi will move into the bones and joints as much as possible.

#3 We hold the poses for awhile. Depending on the yin yoga pose we hold the pose anywhere from 1-3 minutes. Time is more important than tension. Time is more effective than tension. Breathe into your pose and allow time to do all the work. Over time chi is coaxed deeper into the connective tissues of the bodies and can have an incredibly healing effect.

Why do my joints pop and crack when I move?

How does Yin Yoga Help?

One of the benefits of yin yoga is that it prevents fixation. Fixation is the temporary sticking together of two surfaces. The reason why you should care about it, is that over time, it is fairly common for joints to become fused. The reason why you will probably be interested in fixation is that is holds the answer to the question, ¨Why do my joints pops and crack when I move my body?¨¨

There are 3 reasons your body will pop or crack when you move:

  1. the release of gas
  2. friction
  3. fixation

Release of Gas: Sometimes gas bubbles form in the synovial fluid of our joints. When the bubbles are released we will hear a pop.

Friction happens when one part of our joint strikes another part of our joint such as when we crack our knuckles or go down into a squat. It can happen when cartilage or ligaments rub against each other.

Fixation is the temporary sticking together of two surfaces. You will hear the crack or pop when the surfaces release. This can happen when you come into a reclined twist and you back cracks and pops. It feels good because pressure has been released.

There are three conditions that need to be present for fixation to occur

  1. the two surfaces that are stuck together must be smooth
  2. there must be some liquid lubricant between the surfaces
  3. the surfaces must be under some pressure that pushes them together

When we break fixation we are preventing the fusion of a joint. Fusion begins with fixation; fixation is cured by mobility; and mobility of the joints is one of the big benefits of Yin Yoga.

Yin yoga can help to reduce fixation. Fixation will limit the range of motion of your joints. Ultimately it will prevent fusion of a joint which is the permanent loss of mobility of a joint.

Resource: Bernie Clark The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga

Mermaids of the Forest by Melissa West

like fish in water
who have lost their school
we swim in a confused disturbance
preoccupied by the lure of advancement

oblivious to our fluid, oceanic woodland immersion,
we bathe in a murky sea of distraction,
while the seaway grove reaches out to us
attempting to breathe new life
into our dullness

what would happen
if we opened to its currents
noticed the waves that flow through this coastal cover
from the gentle breeze that touches the skin of our face
to the birdsong offering its gentle guidance

would we remember
we are mermaids in the forest’s ocean
responding to the gravitational forces
that pull us home?


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