Nourishing Yin (Reprise)
A Gentle Movement and Relaxation Practice
The sages of ancient China envisioned a world comprised of two complementary and interconnected types of energy. Yang energy is bright and uplifting, while yin energy is cool and steady. Yang sometimes is described as the sunny side of the mountain where the light shines brightly, while yin is offered as the shady side of the mountain where the air is moist and cool.
In our culture, we are often primed to embrace the bold energy of yang, while perhaps steering clear of yin’s darkness and depth. But the ancient sages taught us that yin and yang can’t exist without each other. We need to nurture both, they taught, in order for our lives to flow with true vitality and health.
Everyone needs this healthy balance of yin and yang in their lives. It is said that women in particular - and especially women as we age - need to nurture strong reserves of quiet, cool, nurturing energy in our lives.
This 28-minute movement practice - done in a reclined position close to the ground (or perhaps nestled in bed) - offers a taste of the quiet and restorative energy of yin. The movements are slow and gentle and almost liquid in quality. The emphasis is on yielding, allowing and harmonizing, with no feeling of aggression or ambition or heat.
Many of the movements in this sequence are inspired by Tias Little’s method of SATYA, or Sensory Awareness Training for Yoga Atunement. These practices fuse yoga, meditation, Feldenkrais and other somatic disciplines into a rich and fortifying exploration of inner ease and wholeness.
Yin isn’t weak or static, but rather flows like the current of a river deep beneath the surface - with quiet strength and steady purpose. In the heat of summer, this watery coolness might feel especially delicious. I hope you’ll enjoy this way of being in the world as much as I do.
All of the practices I teach are fundamentally about ways we ride the vital energies of life into full fruition. You can learn more about these practices by visiting my website. In particular, you might enjoy this essay I wrote about my introduction to Chinese medicine through the mindful movement practice of qigong. I hope I can entice you to welcome qigong into you life, if you haven’t already given it a try.