I hope you are doing well and that you are seeing pops of springtime wherever you are in the world. Things are finally starting to feel like spring in Texas – though I know our winter was NOTHING compared to some of you!! I love this time of year and it reminds me of yin so often. Just as the weather fluctuates, storms roll in, sun shines through and flowers pop up one day, while frost remains still on occasion – there’s change brewing.
As I practice yin, I find myself in a similar chaos of change. There is resistance, healing, newness and moments of warmth and refreshment. It’s all a part of the process of bringing us into full view of ourselves – mind, body and spirit. What a gift this practice is!
Today, I’m (finally) jumping back into action with my meridian series and am setting better goals of posting consistently. You might have noticed some design elements of my site have changed as I have started to make my yin workshops more of a primary part of online interaction. The events page includes both in-person and web events (my Let’s Talk Yin sessions, online classes, etc.). And my store now provides access to webinars that have passed so you can view and purchase them anytime! I will also be updating my store with some “Be Still” apparel soon so you’ll be able to rock your yin-gear whenever you’d like! Let’s spread the yin love!
As you’ll observe from the pictures, I’m currently 7 months pregnant so things will likely quiet down a bit at the end of May but I’ll do my best to be consistent with content for the next couple of months until baby arrives! Speaking of – my next webinar is on teaching Prenatal Yin and practicing yin while pregnant in general. If the topic interests you, RSVP for that session! I’d love to have you be a part of the conversation. I will also be sharing a prenatal yin sequence next week on the blog for you expecting mamas or for those of you who teach pregnant practitioners. My friend Hannah from Moga will be writing a guest post about “The Gift of Yoga while Pregnant” as well. If you’re interested in learning more about prenatal yoga in general, check out Moga.
Lots of exciting things are happening and I’m excited to have you along for the ride!
For today’s sequence, we will be focusing on the Urinary Bladder Meridian. You can see some details about this energy line below.
As you can see, this meridian line runs through the back body and covers everything from the outer foot all the way up the back of the head and over the crown down to the eyes. It’s a powerful meridian and is often out of balance this time of year. Usually, this meridian line is overactive in the winter months and under active in the summer months. Both of these represent imbalance and might result in some of the above listed reactions. This mostly happens because we spend much time hunched over in cooler temperatures and more open-hearted in warmer months where we feel less physically cold. My hope is that today’s sequence will bring you back into balance in this meridian so that your Qi can flow more efficiently as we enter into the warmer months of the year!
Begin your practice today resting in a supine position. You’re welcome to find any shape and supportive elements that will help you connect with your back body. Take these moments here to clear some physical and mental space for your practice today as you breathe. Notice where your body is connected with the earth and rest into the fact that gravity is drawing you in like a hug.
Extended leg w/strap – 4 min
Gently make your way to seated to set up your strap. Make sure that it is in a large loop that is tight and won’t adjust itself without your help. You want to be able to press into it completely here in a moment. Wrap the loop behind your back, leaving the tail end at one side so it can be easily adjusted when needed. Tuck the strap under the armpits across your shoulder blades and come down to your back. Wrap the strap around the sole of your left foot and tighten the strap until you feel a release through the back of the leg without having to use your arms to hold the leg in close. Arms can drape out to the sides or overhead and the opposite leg can extend to straight or you can bend the knee and place the sole of the foot to the earth.
Extended leg w/strap (outer hip variation) – 2 min
From the same position, allow your foot to drop about 45 degrees over to the right while keeping the left hip grounded. Pause when you feel the stretch in the outer leg and hip. This might also trigger a sensation in the low back. Always back out if you feel too much or any pain! Find just the edge of sensation here and breathe steadily.
Supported bridge + knee to chest – 3 min
Bring the leg back to center. You can keep the strap where it is and just release the foot forward or remove the strap for the next posture. Set up for supported bridge on your bolster or yoga block. You’ll place the prop under your sacrum so you feel balanced and secure coming into the backbend. Extend the left leg forward and hug the right knee in using your arms or tighten the strap around the shin for a hands-free variation.
*repeat extended leg variations and supported bridge on the other side*
Table (cat/cow/childs, etc.) – 2 min
Make your way into a table top position. You can use these moments to wiggle through spinal movements or rest in a childs pose.
Toe Squat – 3 min
Begin to curl all ten toes under and slowly sit back to add weight toward the heels. You can keep the hands forward or sit upright. Check in with the baby toe (where the urinary bladder meridian begins!) and make sure it’s curled under as best you can. Breathe here! Once time is up, walk your hands forward and uncurl the toes. Gentle pat the tops of the feet to the earth and roll out the ankles to counter that deep release.
Dangling – 5 min
Begin to come into a standing forward bend shape. You can place a block in front of you for support for your hands if needed and bend the knees if that helps alleviate any pain or overwhelming sensations through the back body. You can do this anywhere in the room or at a wall with the upper back supported by the wall. That option is nice if you find yourself off balance here. Hands can release to the floor or you can take any arm variation you’d like. Feet and legs can go as wide/narrow as works best for your body.
Squat – 2 min
Rise up about half way out of your dangling position and turn the toes out. Drop your hips toward the floor coming into a squat position gently allowing the head to come above the heart. You can sit onto a prop here if you’d like. Head can stay lifted or you can drop the chin to the chest and interlace the hands behind the head for added release in the neck.
Shoelace / Square – 5 min
Make your way into a seated position on the mat and begin to cross one leg over the other coming into either square (crossing legs in front/behind each other) or shoelace (stacking the knees a bit more). You can also extend the bottom leg in shoelace if you’re unable to sit evenly on the hips. In your own time, fold forward and settle into the outer hips and pay attention to sensations you feel through the feet, spine and head as well. Utilize props here as desired.
Twisted Roots – 5 min
Sit up slowly from your fold and cross the top leg over completely if it’s not already there. Begin to drop your legs over to the opposite side of the top leg and make your way onto your back for your twisted roots resting twist. Gaze can stay centered or over to the opposite side of the legs to complete the twist into the cervical spine.
*repeat shoelace and twisted roots on the other side*
Savasana – 10 min
Unravel from your final posture and find a position for savasana. If you’d like, take legs up the wall to continue to connect deeply through the back body as you rest. Use this time to let go of control over the breath and allow yourself to settle into the new space you’ve created through the body. Enjoying and meditating on the areas you feel more spacious in.