Yin yoga for the water element
Three yin poses that help to encourage reflection, relaxation and slowing down. By Gillian Davies
Yin yoga has a strong association with Traditional Chinese Medicine, as it uses the meridian lines to structure classes and tailor the practice to address imbalances we may experience throughout the year. Each season has its own element, associated pair of organs and emotional expression.
The winter season is related to the water element, which in turn links with the organ pairing or the urinary bladder and the kidneys. This element encourages us to take more rest, to slow down and reflect – like a pool of still water. The meridian lines run along the back and front of the torso, and along the back and inner seams of the legs. Working with these meridian lines opens up a wealth of yoga poses to support the free flow of energy and to encourage us to take more rest.
The energy of the water element is yin, which is slow, dark and cool making this an ideal time to begin a yin yoga practice. By taking time to slow down and melt into the darkness of winter we can replenish our energy levels leaving us feeling ready to embrace the expansion of yang which comes with the spring season.
Here are 3 yin yoga poses which work with the meridian lines of the urinary bladder and kidneys to help encourage reflection, relaxation and slowing down.
Begin seated with a straight spine, sitting on a folded blanked if needed. Bring the soles of the feet together and begin to lean forwards (if that feels OK in your hips). Aim to stay here for up to 5 minutes before gently coming out of the pose.
Begin laying on the stomach, elbows directly underneath shoulders and forearms on the floor. Adjust the position of the feet – closer together may increase the sensation in the lower back while taking the feet wider apart may lessen it. Choose what feels best for you today. Remain in sphinx pose for up to 3 minutes.
Start from sphinx pose, press into the hands to life the elbows from the floor. This will deepen the backend and the compression at the lower back. Relax the shoulders and adjust the position of the feet as in sphinx to allow the lower back to remain comfortable. Stay in seal pose for up to 2 minutes, then come to rest face down on the mat.
If this option feels too intense for you, please remain with sphinx pose.