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I tried Yin Yoga for the first time yesterday. As you may expect it is a yielding and soft form where posses are held for up to five minutes to work deeply in to the body. We imagined the asana going inwards from our skin to our bones. It also made me aware of suitabilities which are only really apparent after holding the asana for a while such as the amount of tension that can still be in the hands even when the rest of the body is relaxed. After relaxing my hands I realised that the effects were felt on the whole upper body. I will deininately be more aware of this from now on and I am looking forward to what else I will find at next months class.
I am currently training for the Bupa 10K run around Edinburgh. I signed up in a wave of Spring optimism. I had not previously run in years, never mind up hills!
Today I ran around Arthur's Seat for the first time. What kept me going was concentrating on the beautiful view, the tunes on my ipod and not thinking about how far was left. Also I got a huge smile from an old gent running in the opposite direction, it made me smile too.
Sometimes when I am doing yoga I use what my Tai Chi Teacher used to call 'the inner smile'. When you have an area which feels like it needs extra special care, it is maybe stiff, sore or achy, try smiling to it inwardly. Now see how your attitude towards it has changed.
I have long been inspired by birds wings in my art work. When I first came to Edinburgh I worked on a piece called 'A Wing and a Prayer', an abstract drawing of a birds wing reflecting my feelings of coming to a new city and trying to find a place in it after finishing university. It is the fragile intricate patterns of feathers in a wing which give birds wings their strength and lightness. Birds ride on wind currents going with their changes and pressures to play and live. It was these qualities which I was trying to find here and explore through drawing, and still am!
Recently I have found a quote by Rumi which has been inspiring my yoga practice also in the shape of a birds wings.
" Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings."
Here is a five minute breathing practice to go with it:-
Sit in kneeling and close your eyes. Place your hands on your knees, palms facing upward and tune in to your breathing. Open and close your hands in time with your effortless breath, keeping time and observing all the changes and movements in the breath. On the out breath close your hands and on the in breath allow them to open again, making a continuous cycle which matches your breathing. When you are ready gently open your eyes again on the in breath.
Please have a try if you liked it and let me know what you think!
Kristina is a Yoga teacher and artist who lives in Braunton, North Devon with her husband, two children and a cat.