Ive been really enjoying a bit of yoga recently, specifically Yin yoga.
Here’s a little layman’s summary of what yin yoga is. So we all know the old “yin/yang” thing…. well you will at least of drawn the symbol on your history folder at school… it was very cool in the 90s. Or maybe even had a little ‘yin/yang’ necklace… oh yes… you know the ones, with the little waxed rope string!
Ok… so I digress. Yin/Yang is basically about balance. My “Yang” is my working out in the gym, my HIIT training and weight lifting. Yin is the counter exercise. It’s about slowing the body down, lengthening the muscles and stretching. This provides physical balance.
Its a lot more than the physical though. In the same way my ‘yang’ exercise clears my mind and gives me clarity of thought, the ‘yin’ also does this in a different way. By holding stretching poses for 3-5min we are putting physical stress on our body and using our minds to navigate through the physical discomfort. We are fighting our little chimp that is saying “sod this, that hurts” “you’ve held that for long enough now, change positions”. By trying to find the stillness physically we are also meditating at the same time. Its a workout for the mind and body.
It is this inner strength and training to defeat our inner chimp which provides us with the strength to overcome tiredness and fatigue in our ‘yang’ workouts too.
Mediation and yin yoga go hand in hand and the more I practice one, the better it makes me at the other.
On my way home from yoga tonight I was thinking about the ways in which mediation and mindfulness are benefiting me. I wanted to articulate it clearly in a blog post, and an analogy came to mind… hang in there with me here:
Mindfulness and meditation is like tidying up a filing cabinet….
For some people who have never invested time in cleaning their filing cabinet, things can get a bit messy in there. Nothing is in the right order. Some days the filing cabinet opens up and all by itself it throws out document after document all of which are as URGENT as the next. Its pretty difficult to deal with any of these tasks or documents when I have 20more flying out the cabinet at me. Sometimes we think its important that having all these documents out on the desk at one time is the only way we can make sure we don’t forget things.
Its only when we file away neatly and know where we have put all the documents that we realise its far easier to get each task done by selecting just one or two documents at a time, dealing with them and then filing them away again. We don’t need to try and remember where each document is because its been neatly filed away. We know where to find it when we want to.
So if I lost you there somewhere, the documents are thoughts / emotions / problems and the cleaning of the filing cabinet is the mediation, keeping everything neatly organised.
All of a sudden we are not ruled by bits of paper (thoughts) flying out at as willy nilly where we barely have time to deal with one before the next one comes out and more often than not we end up underneath a pool of documents (gin) on the floor! With meditation we are training our minds to be the boss of the filing cabinet…we can look at any file we want and choose to file things away for later if we wish. Sometimes we may choose to sod the f*ing cabinet and go out to the pub / gym / shops. The pub/gym/shops are not just a quick and effective way to escape from or forget our messy filing cabinets… We can then truly enjoy the pub / gym / shops because we know all our files are neatly sorted in the filing cabinet for us to come back to the next day.
Its pretty empowering really….
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