Yin and mental health

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Twilight
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:49 pm

Yin and mental health

Post by Twilight »

I've been practicing for a couple of years now and am at the point where I would rather practice alone than in class. I usually do a couple of long (2 hr) sessions and a few shorter (40 min) ones a week..I hold poses for I'd guess 7+ minutes - until I've wiggled around all of the juicy variations I can find usually.

I'm suddenly really struggling. I find myself coming out of poses and walking away from my mat because there are crazy thoughts there that I can't breathe through. There appears to be some shit that I cannot let go of! Caterpiller, once a favourite pose to hold no feelings towards, set me off today, but it has been an upper supported back bend before.

Last year a teacher said to me that there is a lot of hanging around in childs pose to do. I gave up waiting in the end...This was once a really hated position - I'm not good with the vulnerability it places me in. I'd take it in class, reluctantly, about 80% of the time...but alone...nope - not unless I forced myself...I do find myself choosing to hang around a lot there now...I'm guessing that these things may be related.

But how do I work through it? Timers, mantras and attention - or actually, giving it some space for a bit? I've not caught a yang class for sometime (studio is oversubscribed!)
Bernie
Posts: 1196
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

When thoughts are overwhelming

Post by Bernie »

Hi Twilight

I shared your post with Nathalie Keiller, who co-leads the Meditation Revealed course with me and who has been a meditation teacher for many years. We both thought that your situation has, perhaps, less to do with the physical practice of Yin Yoga and maybe more to do with the mind's reaction to the practice. Nathalie's advise is great for meditators, but it also is good for Yin Yogis due to the fact that our time in the postures are like mini-mediations. What applies in meditation can also work during your yoga practice.

Here are Nathalie's thoughts for your consideration:
  • When in meditation and dominant thoughts, sensations, or emotions (all at the level of the mind) arise, we are invited to ‘be with it' and not resist nor try to control with “timers, mantras and attention" or other techniques. It is recommended to avoid blocking or wishing it would be different, or expect that thoughts should be a certain way. Meditation is a very natural practise and process.

    Based on my studies as a meditation instructor, as well as on my understanding and practise, thoughts are byproducts of release of tensions (whether we judge them to be positive or negative) and they will arise during our meditations. Meditation is a state in which we are more aware of subtle activities in both our mind and body. To get benefits from our practise, when discomfort arise, the invitation is to ‘allow' and 'take thoughts as they come'. If the release is overly discomforting it might be time to come out, lie down or sit with ease (with support behind the back) in order to allow the body (nervous system) to complete letting go of these tensions.

    As Twilight mentions at the end of her/his post, "giving it some space", or listening, or being present are other synonyms for ‘allow' and 'taking things as they come'. A procedure we should follow for as long as needed. Then rest.

So, just like in meditation when the process becomes too challenging, when thoughts during our Yin Yoga practice begin to overwhelm us, we can choose a yin-like response: we can choose to accept whatever is arising, allowing-not changing or running away. But, if the thoughts or sensations are overpowering, just ease out of the pose or out of the practice and notice that that's that for today. No big deal. No drama. Tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to try again and learn again. Yin is allowing. It is not perfecting.

One final note, remember, we all have issues in our tissues and our thoughts and emotions are embodied, as this article discusses.

I hope this helps
Cheers
Bernie
Twilight
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:49 pm

Post by Twilight »

Thank you for the quick reply Bernie...I guess it will figure out in time!
dave
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:12 am

Post by dave »

I am not sure what Yin has for this.

The old swamis are the experts.

Mind your mind @ Perth 2018 (English)YT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeCuSaTkA5E he only chants for 1/2 a minute at the start

01:54
disturbed mind disturbed mind is that
01:59
where too many agitations are constantly
02:04
happening when example I'll tell you
dave
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:12 am

Post by dave »

GalebG4M wrote:Yes, some positions may "trigger" unpleasant thoughts, bad memories and mess with your meditation... Do you think it would be possible to counter it by surrounding these practices with positive associations? I don't know, doing it with someone you like, in a place that soothes you, maybe even on a trip?
It's like props in a yoga pose you know?

When you first start yoga doing a pose is really difficult so we use props. After some time we get a little better at it and maybe only need half the props. Then after more time maybe we don't need any props at all.

It's the same with controlling the mind. We can start with music, or other people around so our mind doesn't go to unwanted places. After we get better at controlling the mind we don't need that as much.

There are 2 ways here. We can learn to stop the mind from bad thoughts. Or we can acknowledge that is impossible and not be concerned about it. Our mind goes racing off to bad thoughts but we learn to place little importance on that and know our true Self is not affected by all that.

"There are many paths but only one destination." Find the path that works for you.

There is also an idea that bad thoughts and good thoughts are equally detrimental to us. The question is; Are we seeking pleasure? Or happiness? They are two very different things.
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