RESTORATIVE-YIN YOGA involves supported body/mind relaxation. This is gentle, gentle yoga that promotes deep relaxation for stress reduction while also stretching and rehabilitating connective tissue.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Soft Power Yoga Mini-Workshop [3/14/2012] Post-Workshop Notes

Copyright Lance Kinseth, 2012

SOFT POWER yoga is an outgrowth of restorative-yin yoga.  It aspires to carry forward restorative elements into yoga poses that address muscles.  Yin yoga emphasizes attention to connective tissue.  The goal involves continuing the “quiet way,” with its stimulation of relaxation response, with holding of poses to optimize the flexibility and strength of broader range of both muscular and connective tissue.

(See earlier post for overall sketch of Soft Power Yoga: Soft Power: A Remarkable Outcome of Restorative-Yin Yoga Practice, 10/1/2011.)

Briefly, Soft Power Yoga emphasizes holding poses, doing a sequence of variations on poses, and using breath to expand and release.  It not only offers a calm practice [rather than a fitness/”exercise” practice], but also the likelihood of more rapid gains particularly in flexibility due to holding poses. 

(Mini-workshop sequence of poses not described here.)

A Sketch Of A Few Selected Overriding Attributes:
  • “Opening Up:” By slowing down and listening to the body, an opportunity to find those places where there is restriction, and to concentrate on opening up those places for increased flexibility.  And increasing flexibility also “opens up” awareness of new areas, continually refining body-mind practice.
  • “Appreciating Mobility:” An overall wellness/ “functional” goal of making the body more mobile rather than a more specific athletic goal of flexibility and strength.  “Mobility” is a very open, non-specific term that softens the drive toward uber-fitness.  And rather than focus on specific gains in flexibility and strength, a directive of mobility can begin to “exercise” less specific areas of the body and leads to more attention to oft-neglected areas.
  • “Muscle Spindle Theory:” Holding poses emphasizes listening to the body in a pose, there is time to perceive the initial restriction that occurs to protect the muscle from being over-extended, and then feeling and following the release of the muscle and it’s expansion.
  • “Relaxation Response:” Discovering and enjoying the potential to relax while holding typical yoga poses, with relaxation being more than “relaxation:” physiological changes such as lymphatic flow, endocrine stimulation, slow breathing enhancing oxygenation, etc.
  • “Adjustment Opportunity:” By working with poses that can be held longer, there is time for the facilitator to work individually without stressing participants.
  • “Intuitive Practice:” Holding poses quietly and listening to the body, spontaneous directives for practice emerge.  [“This is what I need at this present moment.”]  Increasing flexibility and “opening up” offer new stimuli [“What if I were to turn this way?”]  This practice can offer a remarkable shift from ego-directed body fitness training to listening to the body and following its directives.  It can soften the ego enough to let in new information, and one of the great teachers is the billions-years-designed body itself.  Soft Power Yoga has this point where the breathing makes a dramatic shift from being intentionally directed by the mind to become a practice of following the breath—opening the wisdom of the body and listening to it an being lead by it.
  • “Integration/Creativity:” Poses in yoga and body movement such as tai chi and dance utilize and, therefore, stimulate right brain activity (because right brain attends significantly to proprioception).  Holding poses longer may sustain right brain stimulation. Right brain activity can generally function to integrate body-mind and to operate more holistically rather than emphasize very functional left-brain discrimination.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In Any Season, Always

Copyright Lance Kinseth, Wisdom Blossoming / Esho, 2012

ALL OF THIS ENERGY, as the sun rises higher in the Northern Hemisphere in spring, seemingly has come too early this year.  April in most years was, perhaps, really March this year. 

Winter doldrums shift to spring energy. Now, in April, as we have already begun to work the gardens rather than simply beginning to think about it, and we can seem to be trying to keep pace with what we perceive to be a very early, quick start out of the blocks. Perhaps our “bio-clocks” are doing just fine, not doing anything really that extreme.  And yet the pace may feels like catch-up, as if we are somehow behind the flow of life as it should be.

So too our body-mind practice.  Energized, yes, yet tuning—hopefully—into the deep pace of life-as-it-is rather than into a catch-up with a temperamental season.

To settle ourselves, we might image the “atomic clock” that chips off time into replete, exquisite seconds, regardless of erratic seasonal paces. 

In simple, concrete relaxation and calmness and as is posited to be the case in deep self-realization, there is no time-change, and no explicit surface upon which the flurry of thoughts, dust, or seconds can alight.

So, in April, body-mind practice might be that place where we shift out of the fast everyday pace and out of the temperaments of the weather.  And in that practice, perhaps we will even go a bit further, and not even do “yoga” or even “meditation,” but rather come inside this landscape of stillness, quietness, and peacefulness in any season, always.