Spirituality, Yoga, & Conscious Living

Yin Yoga: Doorway To A Balanced Emotional Life

Yin Yoga: Doorway To A Balanced Emotional Life


“Faced with grief, most people seek solace by drawing close to family and friends, seeing a therapist or a member of the clergy, or perhaps joining a support group. All these things bring comfort, but there are times when Eastern spiritual practices like yoga can bring healing when nothing else can.” ~ Catalfo

It was a dark and wretched time for me. My heart broke not only for my brother’s baby, but also for my brother whose ragged sobs over the phone in that middle of the night call I kept hearing over and over again.

“I can’t stand the unfairness of it,” I’d cried out to a friend. Without warning my feelings would overcome me like an unexpected ocean wave in the middle of the desert.

“Have you ever tried yoga?” she asked quietly. “It can really help with grief.” My friend’s words tugged gently on a truth deep inside me.

SEE ALSO: The Healing Properties Of Amethyst

Gemstone CVO

Yoga To Help With Grief

I had been introduced to yoga years before and had tried it on and off, but always for its physical benefits alone, never considering it as a container for emotions—let alone grief.

After my friend’s suggestion, however, I started again and even with beginner’s classes found myself struggling. I struggled with my body and with my mind and even with the whole concept of yoga and grief. Slowly, however, I began to feel as though the stretching and strengthening of my physical body brought with it a stretching and strengthening of my emotional body as well and I could feel the anger and grief loosen its hold on me.

Yoga allows you to probe your grief—to go into the pain, not run from it— and emerge somehow more whole and free by focusing on your immediate physical as well as emotional experience. Rather than trying to ‘get over it’ or ‘work through it,’ [yoga helps you to] integrate your grief into who you are, and into your body as well [becoming] an exercise in self-compassion. It helps you live in your body with your emotions.”  

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang, opposing yet complementary forces that can characterize any phenomenon. Yin can be described as stable, immobile, feminine, passive, cold, and downward moving. Yang is depicted as changing, mobile, masculine, active, hot, and upward moving.

In nature, a mountain could be described as yin; the ocean, as yang. Within the body, the relatively stiff connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, fascia) is yin, while the pliant and mobile muscles and blood are yang. Applied to yoga, a passive practice is yin, whereas most of today’s hatha yoga practices are yang: They actively engage the muscles and build heat in the body.

Today, yin yoga is my practice of choice and I do it more for the banquet it offers my emotional and spiritual hunger than for what it offers my aching back.  Each yin pose, or “shape” is held for 4 to 5 minutes of slow, deep, breathing and stretching, allowing the body to simply fall into itself.

Unlike the other more active yang types of yoga, yin is a passive practice that invites me to melt into its various poses and has become for me a time in which not only have I learned to let my body go without resistance, but in which I can let my thoughts go without resistance as well. There have been many occasions while holding a yin shape that tears have spilled from my eyes as my body and my mind do what it needs to do to unload stored tension and stress.

“The improvements to flexibility and chi flow are valuable [in Yin Yoga], but they are secondary to the practice of becoming intimate with and accepting of the current state of the body and mind in any given moment.” ~ Sarah Powers  

Yin Yoga For Emotional Grief

Recently I was diagnosed with an illness that caused me to lose much of my mobility. It wasn’t, however, the pain and physical dysfunction that was my greatest difficulty so much as it was the grief I carried.

Simply put, I grieved for no longer being the woman I had known myself to be. It was in yin yoga that I was able to allow my grief to have its way with me and to stop clinging desperately to the one thing that I would never have again—-the years that the illness had stolen from me.

“When you’re grieving, the simple fact of whatever loss you must endure is hard enough to face. Yet many of us do things that increase our suffering. We flee the moment, either by attempting to deny a reality that seems insufferably cruel or by imagining a worst-case scenario that might well never occur. We react to actual loss with fear of further loss. We convince ourselves we cannot survive the present crisis (emotionally or even physically), or that the loss is so unfathomable that we don’t want to.” 

I am not a yoga instructor. I am merely a person who has had her share of losses and is seeking a yin way to balance and integrate them in a very yang world. And among its benefits include a time for comfort and a space to place your grief.

All I have to do is practice on a regular basis and the rest more or less happens on its own.

(This Article previously appeared in a different form on Elephantjournal.com).

CVO- Copper- lg
The following two tabs change content below.
Carmelene Siani

Carmelene Siani

Carmelene Melanie Siani is a 75-year-old freelance writer who has been published at Elephant Journal, Better after 50, Huffington Post, The Reader, and Broad Magazine among others. Her stories are personal narratives on grief, family, food, and late-life love. Her aim is to help others see the ways that life is constantly opening to reveal its own lessons. She lives by the dictum of Muriel Rukeyser that “the universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Visit her on her Facebook Page and follow her on Twitter.

11 Responses to “Yin Yoga: Doorway To A Balanced Emotional Life”

  1. Lelio Vieira Carneiro

    Great post. I used to be checking constantly this
    blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the remaining section :
    ) I deal with such information a lot. I used to be looking for this particular information for
    a long time. Thanks and best of luck.

  2. improved electronic media

    Hey There. I discovered your blog the use of msn. This is an extremely well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra
    of your helpful info. Thanks for the post. I will
    definitely comeback.

  3. collecting media

    I’m not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading
    incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having
    this issue or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem
    still exists.

  4. Lelio Vieira Carneiro Junior

    The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested
    to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83
    views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share
    it with someone!

  5. James Frazer Mann

    My brother recommended I might like this website. He was once entirely right.

    This publish truly made my day. You can not believe just how a lot time
    I had spent for this info! Thank you!

  6. Shela

    Hi there to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is
    getting more from this website, and your views are good in favor of new visitors.

  7. Susannah

    It is not my first time to pay a quick visit this site, i am browsing this website dailly and take
    good facts from here all the time.

  8. www.youtube.com

    We’re a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.

    Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done a formidable task and our
    entire neighborhood can be grateful to you.

  9. anak susah minum susu formula

    Right here is the right site for everyone who wants
    to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I
    really would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic which
    has been discussed for many years. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!


What are you working on?

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS