Sunday, June 27, 2010

There must also somewhere be yin

Where there is Yang
Where: Rubin Museum of Art, NYC
When: May 30, 2010

In my Shiatsu class, our teacher always has us do Qigong exercises to warm up before practicing. The other day, he commented that in the exercises, it is extremely important to always be aware of balance in your body. When there is yang, there must also somewhere be yin. If one area of the body is doing work, another area of the body should be at rest. This is also true in our work - it's very easy when concentrating on someone else's body to ignore building tension in your own, and if you don't pay attention you will end a session feeling burnt out and sore, or even injured.

I've been taking the concept into my yoga practice as well. I now begin each practice with Qigong, to help remember what the flow of tension and relaxation feels like. Then in the yoga, with each pose, rather than concentrating on the areas of tension, I'm trying to notice the areas that are relaxed. Practicing this way, asking in each pose "where are the areas of yin", is helpful in several ways:
1) Asking this question causes areas of my body to suddenly let go - areas I hadn't realized were tense in the first place.
2) By noticing the areas that have let go, it seems to provide a "role model" for the areas of tension, allowing those areas to also release as much as they can, and letting me go a little bit deeper into a pose.
3) Sometimes there are no areas of relaxation, which tells me I need to back out of or adjust the pose until there is more of a balance.

There are a few things this type of practice is bringing up for me:
1) I hold tension in my body so habitually that I don't even notice that it's there until my body lets it go.
2) The body is a mirror for the mind. My body will let go where and when it can - and it knows more about what is tense and what is not than my conscious mind does - but it needs the right pattern of thoughts to create the necessary changes. When I concentrate on the areas of tension, breathing into them and willing them to let go, I only get more tension.
3) My body is almost certainly responding in unnoticed and unexpected ways to my thoughts, all the time. This idea kind of freaks me out.



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New York City, United States

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This is my first blog attempt. It hasn't been kept up over the last year, for some reason being pregnant really ate into my creativity, and I picked up the camera very rarely. I am thinking about starting it up again, but am not sure what direction to take it in.

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