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.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Patience: A Cooling Elixir

Copyright Lance Kinseth, 2012

SUMMER 2012 in the Northern Hemisphere has been a string of record high temperatures.  And so, the idea of “cooling down” presses more into our awareness anywhere in Earth in this season.  While we can’t really change the larger environment, we might look at what we can do to cool internally—“body-mind.”

Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper sprinkle cool patience.
Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, sc. 4

In any season, impatience is likely to heat us.  And unlike something coming from the outside, it is we who are turning on the heat.  And patience is rarely so over-present that it likely to be a problem, keeping us from taking a needed action. 

In tai chi, it is difficult to continue practice without having a sense of patience.  You can find out very quickly if you have enough patience for the slow practice. 

In yoga, patience is advocated, but primarily with one’s expectations about improved flexibility or balance or strength.  The primary classes in modern yoga studios tend to appeal to people seeking a workout.  And as a workout, the focus may be more on releasing energy.

Especially in restorative-yin yoga, where quiet and calmness and holding poses are the norm, a certain degree of patience is required to simply do the practice.  And yet, even “trying to be calm,” we might still harbor impatience, disappointed that we are not yet calm enough.  But when you actually become patient, you are really doing or actualizing and calmness.  Patience is not simply a moral virtue, but rather is an optimal expression of mature body-mind, expressed in very real physiological and mental health, be it tai chi or yoga or marital art.

And so, how to optimize patience?  How to deepen its value?

Especially in restorative-yin yoga, as we relax and still the body, and since we are in motion less do to holding poses and can attend more deeply to breath, we might just say the word patience as we exhale.  And we might invite patience as our underlying intention for a body-mind practice session.

Patience is the companion of wisdom.
St. Augustine

Let us be less impatient.  Let us be more wise and take things easy.
If the asanas are done peacefully, this yoga will indirectly slow us
down (also improving the immune system which suffers from stress)
and strips us out of many useless and harmful efforts, giving us the
feeling of a different quality and introducing a delicate fragrance
into each day's existence.
Vanda Scaravelli, Awakening The Spine [p. 130]

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