This New Year | The Gift of YIN-tention

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Nancy Nelson

This year, this pandemic, it’s all been chaos. Time has moved so fast, yet somehow – also the slowest it has ever felt. I have personally felt bombarded with a multitude of messages to process, emotions to feel, precautions to take – fight or flight has become more heightened than ever before. We find ourselves on the edge of our seats physically, mentally and emotionally. In many ways, these past couple of years have been very yang in nature.

I think one of the most difficult elements for me to navigate is stepping into 2022 in the midst of all of this, is the fact that my goal-setting, workaholic tendencies are still trying to kick it into high gear. The problem? I haven’t had the time to process any of the above fully. I have found no balance, no respite, and no rebound time to focus back on what matters. The world keeps on spinning and many of us are not taking the time to sift through the difficulty we all have faced during this season. I feel like setting a bunch of new goals and intentions for the new year is almost like putting a bandaid on what needs surgery in my spirit. Do you resonate with this?

Recently in an instagram post, I shared about how emotions are stored in our bodies like memories. If we don’t take the time to fully process them, they start to pile up and it all gets confusing. Then what happens is we keep trying to bury them and move on. It’s a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to discontent, agitation and fatigue.

As we’ve been slowly (and also not-so-slowly) approaching a new year, I’ve felt more of a need to move into a mindset of YIN-tention and out of my normal habit of big go-get-it intention setting. What do I mean by this? Let’s revisit the contrast between yin and yang.

YINYANG
yieldingengaging
coolwarm
slowactive
steadyvarying

What would happen if we lean into being softer, more yielding, and more introspective with ourselves as we turn the page in our calendars? When I started thinking on this, I felt my fight-or-flight response imposing feelings of guilt and a bit of “FOMO” – fear of missing out on all this potential progress by not doing what I normally do prior to the new year. But what is progress unless I can first go within to find acceptance and give myself the space I need to process?

Maybe what we need this new year is less resolutions and more self-compassion. Self-compassion for the ways we have been burdened during the pandemic, feeling like we have to figure everything out, disagreements, lost relationships, continuing on like things were normal – while feeling the tension of knowing things are far removed from normal.

Today, the practice is simple. Four poses. One mantra. 20 minutes of you time. Practice on a soft surface if you can!

As you settle into the following postures, repeat this mantra as often as you need the reminder.

Inhale: I take in this moment.

Exhale: I settle into softness.

Constructive Rest (5 min)

Spend the first five minutes of your practice in a resting position on your back. Let one hand rest to your belly, one hand to your chest. Bend your knees and widen your feet so the knees can rest into one another. Feel the breath smooth out, your heart beat, and allow the full weight of your being to be supported by the soft space beneath you.

Child’s Pose (5 min)

Next, transition slowly to hands and knees. Open the knees wide and drop the hips back toward the heels. Use pillows or any additional props so you feel comfortable enough to let the body relax completely. Arms can reach forward, stretch back, or you can rest your forehead onto stacked hands and massage the third eye space between the brows. This acupressure point (called Yin Tang) calms anxiety and stimulates the rest and digest response.

Butterfly Pose (5 min)

Rise up and come to a seat. Open the knees and connect the feet together. Begin to fold forward and allow the head to hang heavy. Turn the palms up and release any grip in the fingers, jaw and shoulders.

Legs Up the Wall (5 min)

Come to a wall space and kick the legs up the wall in whatever shape feels restful and rejuvenating to you. This inversion will help to send the grounding energy of the feet up and through the rest of the body.

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Nancy Nelson
Nancy Nelson
Nancy is the fearless leader here at Nancy Nelson Yoga! She has been instructing yoga since 2012 and is certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500, YACEP) with Yoga Alliance. She loves guiding yoga classes in all forms – from sweaty vinyasa flows, to slow mindful movement - but her favorite style to practice and teach is yin yoga. She attended a formal 50-hour Yin Yoga training with Bernie Clark and Diana Batts in the fall of 2018 and it truly propelled her into developing her yin focused website, webinars and trainings.

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