How Yin Yoga Helped Me to Heal my Body
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I have to be honest. One of the primary reasons for starting my yoga practice was this one intention – to heal my body.
A few years ago, I was living a life that I believed normal. I thought at least. I was working in a 9 to 5 job at a big enterprise, I could buy all the things I wanted. And on top of that, I just passed my university degree in international business, doing this in addition to my full-time job. I thought I had managed my life perfectly.
But in reality, my life was unbalanced and shaking. The lifestyle I thought to be perfect made me sick and tired. At that time, I got chronic back pain, unspecified pain in my left leg, a tight neck, a really poor digestion and I was suffering from symptoms of chronic fatigue.
Why is Yin Yoga so important in our modern world?
All the things I did to get better didn’t help. I exercised, I tried different diets, I was hustling from one physician to another. But none of these things worked for me. It was just getting worse.
After a while, I found out that one of the key things holding me back from getting better was: I focused on strength. I was always looking for improvement. I was conditioned to achieving and to being successful in every aspect: I tried to strengthen my body and my “weak” muscles, I was holding onto things that weren’t good for me.
All in all, I was always trying to do more. I literally overstimulated my already over-active sympathetic nervous system, which led to chronic stress in my body, and therefore to inflammation and an overly tense body.
What I have to tell you from my experience is, a healing process can take some time and effort. Sometimes you need to approach your health from more than one angle: Eating a healthy diet, a lot of movement, stress management, a healthy sleep and consulting a good health coach or a physician with a functional approach will help you to get better.
But what was missing was just one main thing: to let go. And here is where Yin Yoga joins the game. Yin Yoga is a gentle style of yoga where you hold a pose for several minutes, being still and mindful. Yin Yoga targets our fascia rather than our muscles.
Yin Yoga and Fascia – how everything is connected
Fascia is also known as the connective tissue in our body. Fascia attaches, stabilizes and separates our muscles and other internal organs, holding our body together and giving it its unique shape.
Fascia often can become tense, stiff and inelastic: just imagine a piece of felt. In this case, pain, a reduced range of motion and emotional instability occur. But the good news is: fascia reacts to breathing and mindful, passive stretches.
So, if I can give you one important hint: working with my fascia was the key to dramatically improving my chronic pain as well as my emotional condition.
How Yin Yoga helped me to heal myself
Not only does the fascia play a crucial role in Yin Yoga, by holding the pose for a long time, we give ourselves time to sit with our body and our emotions. Everything that wants to show up is allowed to show up now. There is no activity, almost no movement, and no stress being produced in the body.
We are slowing down our sympathetic nervous system, giving space for our parasympathetic nervous system to tune in. What happens here is that our activated stress response, also known as our fight-or-flight mode, is being shut down. We relax and our normal body functions resume their work. The healing process can begin.
During these moments, created from breathing, mindfulness and stillness, it is all about releasing and letting go: Releasing our tight fascia, clearing blocked energy and letting go of emotional baggage. And this is where real healing can occur!
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*This article was originally published on InnerYogaTraining.com.