There are five main elements of a yin yoga experience…
- Create release and stimulation in an area of the body or energy line
- Settle into the posture and practice stillness
- Exiting the posture mindfully
- Rebound time
- Create movement or counter movement into the new space
Today, we will be talking about the importance of allowing for “rebound time” after a posture. In yin, we spend quality time in the postures. Poses might be held anywhere from 3-20 minutes! This causes deep shifts and changes in the tissues of the body, energy flow and mind. All of this means that we need to be intentional about the spaces in between the asana.
R E B O U N D Defined
Time set aside to be sensitive to the shifts that have occurred in the asana.
After we have exited a pose, to fully embrace the benefits and practice with mindfulness – we should take a few moments to acknowledge the shifts that have taken place. These shifts will likely be both physical and energetic sensations and release. For instance, you may notice coolness or warmth, pressure changes, vibrations, thoughts that hold specific emotional posture, etc.
How do you practice rebound?
Rebound is most traditionally practiced in savasana (corpse pose) …but it can be done in any neutral position. See some examples and ideas below. Most often, when I am leading yin classes I have students back out of the posture and take some time upright or in a neutral shape from where the pose was first positioned. So for instance, if I had students in a caterpillar fold, I might have them rise up to a staff pose for several moments before moving onto the next pose.
What are the benefits?
- Encourages observation + helps us to stay present
- Enhances the mind-body-spirit connection
- Allows time for the tissues to recover a bit before additional stress is applied
Observation & Staying Present: In such a fast-paced world, we are very accustomed to quickly transitioning from one task to the next. We often take this habit onto our mats. The practice of yin teaches us to slow down and take our time with the whole of our experience. Not isolating “slow and still” to the postures alone – but extending it into how we enter, exit, and enjoy the poses as well. This helps to guide our minds and hearts into deeper awareness and we take in everything the moment has to offer.
Mind | Body | Spirit Connection: Rebound time allows for us to pause in a profound moment of self-understanding. Because we take this time to acknowledge and feel all of the shifts taking place within us, we are able to come back home to our complete Self. Throughout the day, we are often more aware of one part of ourselves while the others are less prevalent. The idea of yoga is that we start to live in a way that is mind-body-spirit oriented. While spending a few moments feeling the effects of the posture, we recognize that we are not just a body, or a mind or a spirit – but that we are all three. This awareness travels with us into our day. The more we practice reconnecting to the full Self on the mat, the more we see it influencing our lives off the mat as well.
Recovery Time: If you recall from our article on the physical phenomenon of creep that our tissues experience in yin, the longer-held postures leave our tissues lengthened out. It may take hours for the deep connective tissues of our bodies to recover and rebuild their new strength and vitality. Allowing rebound time right after the posture encourages this healing along and also helps prevent injury that can come from quick movement. Our tissues are most vulnerable right after the stress has been applied, so we must be extra cautious!
This is great! I plan to bring this concept into my personal practice and teaching
It makes such a difference! Thanks for reading and commenting, Heather! -Nancy
I usually allow rebound to occur having my students come into Shavasana to truly feel the echo of the pose. I use the imagery of a bell being rung and I ask them stay aware of the sensations (vibrations of bell) until they completely dissolve.
But using a previous pose to experience rebound (ie staff pose from caterpillar) is wonderful.
Love that! Thanks for sharing your approach.