Slow summer yin to balance the heat and the heart

Summer time is the most “yang” time of year. It’s a time when the natural world is abundant and is displaying beauty everywhere! We generally feel more abundant in our energy too, however because of that it can also be a time when you can get burnt out.

Sarah Powers in her book Insight Yoga notes that Summer is associated with the element Fire, which has its home in the Heart. The Heart has a yin/yang relationship with the Small Intestines. The heart is considered as the “king” of the organs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the vital role it plays in controlling our circulation and distribution of blood, and the consequent dependence of all other organs on it for good health. It is also said to house the body’s spirit and therefore plays an integral role in our emotional world.

The small intestine is responsible for sorting the pure from the impure matter that it receives from the stomach, assimilating the necessary nutrients.

Both Vedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine traditions speak to the importance of balancing heart energy – westerners spend much of our days contracting the heart space: sitting at desks, driving, looking down at a phone – the behaviours can lead to constricted front bodies both from a physical and energetic perspective.

Yin yoga can make a huge difference. It is gentle and passive and encourages us to close our eyes and melt into the shape being asked of us – the perfect conditions for encouraging the liberating experience of opening the heart.

Fascial expert Thomas Myers has been instrumental in mapping the Anatomy Trains that complement and corroborate the Chinese medicine concept of meridians. In his book, Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists, Myers writes: “closing down the front body is what we instinctively do when we’re overcome by an unwanted emotion.

From an evolutionary perspective, it means we’re protecting our vital organs (this is why child’s pose feels so nurturing).

Putting our bodies into shapes that open the front body can make us feel vulnerable, but if we can do this in an environment where we feel supported, it signals to the mind that we are safe — in much the same way that deep breathing does.

To extend the front side of the body is to step into trust and vulnerability.”

The heart meridian (or energetic pathway) begins in the heart, travels along the axillary artery to the armpit and then makes its way down the inner seam of the arm to finish at the little finger (a separate channel travels upwards to the eye, while a third branch runs downwards to the small intestine). The small intestine meridian starts in the little finger and travels up the outer seam of the arm, and from there diverges into a branch that runs up past the eye to the ear, and a branch that travels downwards into the heart, diaphragm and stomach.

Looking at chakra theory the heart and small intestine meridians intersect with the heart chakra, anahata— it has the essential role of uniting the upper and lower chakras, of connecting the spiritual and the physical. Anahata is the centre for love, joy and compassion — including self-compassion. When in balance, these qualities flow freely, while an out-of-balance heart chakra is said to manifest as fear, sadness or a lack of trust.

For these reasons summer is a potent time for a slow paced heart opening sequence so we can bring ourselves back to balance before or during the busy and often emotional festive season.

Please join us for a live class on Monday December 20, 2021 at 3:30pm or watch the replay afterwards. Even if you don’t have time for a full hour of heart opening and balancing postures perhaps try one or two for 5 mins each – child’s pose and supported fish pose are a great place to start.

Remember while practising yin, the three main principles:

  1. Softness — coming into the pose at an appropriate edge, where sensation is felt but not pain or extreme discomfort);
  2. Stillness — remaining in the pose without excessive moving or fidgeting; and
  3. Steadiness — holding the pose for an extended period of time.

“The human body is an amazing masterpiece. With the senses we see, hear, taste, smell and touch the world, drawing its mystery inside us. With the mind, we probe the eternal structures of things. With the face, we present ourselves to the world and recognise each other. But it is the heart that makes us human. The heart is where the beauty of the human spirit comes alive.” Benedictus, States of Heart by John O’donohue

Community yoga classes

We are passionate about sharing the joy of practising yoga and offering you an opportunity to connect with your true self on a regular basis.
View previous classes or book now for our next class.

Free
22nd March 2024 12:30pm (AEDT)

Hatha Community Class with Ahimsa Helen Cushing

Ahimsadhara is an expert teacher and author in yoga for trauma survivors. After teaching War Veterans for many years, she is now focusing on international programs and further writing. In this class, she uses asanas to help with healthy breathing and as a preparation for pranayama and yoga nidra.

Free
22nd April 2024 12:30PM (AEST)

Dru Yoga Community Class with Angela Baker

Angela is an experienced Yogi and Dru Teacher Trainer, environmental campaigner, peace educator, and avid traveller, always seeking the best methods to promote health through Dru Yoga’s practices. Join Angela on the mat for a simple journey through energy block release, alignment with sequence, asana and mudra to leave you feeling refreshed, inspired and welcoming change.

Testimonials

Our sole mission is to create opportunities to do good for others through yoga.
And we’re making an impact.

A huge thank you to the Yoga For Good Foundation...

…for their incredible contribution to our Life Now Yoga and meditation programs!

This generous donation will mean we can buy new yoga equipment, run a new yoga class in Broome, and enhance our meditation program for cancer patients and their primary carers.

Cancer Council Western Australia

Sending out gratitude to the Yoga for Good Foundation.

Their grant is enabling me to offer FREE trauma informed therapeutic movement and relaxation to frontline mental health and social services staff in Bega.

Participants are really valuing the time out for themselves and experiencing integrated poly vagal theory. And I get to be in a teaching space, yay!

PremKranti Counselling

The generous grant we've been awarded from the Yoga For Good Foundation...

…allows us to reach more underserved and vulnerable community groups who can benefit from a trauma-informed yoga and embodied mindfulness practice at zero cost to the participants.

Some of the community groups we’ll be serving in the current months include 000 Foundation, Men’s Walk and Talk and WAGEC.

Yoga on the Inside