Today I did some Yin yoga. I have missed a couple of weeks due to burning my hand (ouch!) and then my instructor taking time off for the holidays. I wanted to do some yoga at home a few days before the next practice to try and get my body used to it again. It was a challenge to get started as I had to put effort in to setting up the space and making sure to eat early enough. But I did manage it! I rolled out my mat and settled down onto it.
I found a random Yin video on YouTube, took some deep breaths, and pressed play. It started off more tiring than I’m used to, with a lot more movement. I do Yin yoga because my energy levels are low and my usual instructor takes things nice and slowly. We never get to standing up or anything like that, which means I can really rest into the poses. This YouTube video was quite different, and I did find that challenging. It almost made me want to give up.
I took a moment to notice that, and then to remind myself that it was okay to take things slowly. I set myself the Sankalpa, or intention, of “I am gentle and warm to myself, the universe is gentle and warm to me”. I tried to give my body what it needed in each moment. I adapted the poses to what I needed, sometimes just lying down if the pose felt too difficult or changing the duration I held it for.
During the practice I really felt the value of directing my breath to areas of tension in my legs and hips. I could feel a tightness in my left hip which I had not been aware of and breathing around it did help me to feel more comfortable. It was nice to notice what was going on in my body, as my dissociation means I am usually very disconnected from it.
I found the practice also gave me some much-needed space to think. I do try to stay present with my breath, but of course the mind does wander! I have found that during yoga, when I am more connected to my body and feel more integrated as one self, I often come to realise things that I was just not conscious of at all. I think that it comes from that intentional presence with myself, which challenges the disconnection caused by dissociation. I started thinking about acceptance and how helpful it is when facing difficult emotions or situations. I made the connection between acceptance and some writing I had done earlier. I noticed that it felt important to me. I spend so much of my life “zoned out” and it felt like a nice change to be attending to something that was meaningful to me.
I am very glad I had the time and space to do this today. I feel grateful to myself and to everyone who has shared their knowledge of yoga with me, so that I can practise it.
Photo by Junseong Lee on Unsplash