Stress. We all have it. It’s a part of life, right?
When was the last time you felt stress or anxiety? This week? Today? Right now?
Stress affects our memory and our ability to learn. It can make the simplest illness worse; it even shortens lives. Every year 120,000 people die due to workplace stress alone and experts estimate that stress adds $300 billion per year to our healthcare costs.
Suffering in silence, counseling and medication are time honored responses for ‘handling’ stress. The good news is that there is more we can do to help manage the effects of stress on our bodies and in our lives.
Jesus asked, “Do you want to be healed?” John 5:6b
When I first came to yoga, it was for the benefits of improving my mobility and general wellbeing. Then I began to notice that after a yoga class, I was not feeling near the level of stress or anxiety that had recently been consuming me. There was more happening than simply ‘getting some exercise.’
Our minds and our emotions are deeply connected to our physical selves. We carry stress in our bodies; shoulder tension, back aches, headaches, upset stomach, and so on.
Over 4,000 years ago, Chinese healers began to observe that physical health, mental health and emotional health (or regulation) can be affected by movement, especially specific movements with focused breathing and relaxed stillness. Dao Yin (“guide and pull”) is the original Chinese name for these practices.
Yin Yoga is built on Dao Yin, a complete practice that includes still (yin), meditative asanas, and gentle movement (yang) vinyassas. Relaxed stillness allows our joints to be opened, allowing energy, qi, to flow more freely through our body. Then, when we move, we are encouraging and supporting the flow of qi through the meridians of our body. Specific poses and movements connect with different organs and emotions held in our body.
Jesus said, “I come that you might have life in its fullness.” John 10:10b
Yin Yoga helps us to release unhealthy emotions that no longer serve us, making way for grace, gratitude, peace, joy and love.
As a contemplative spiritual discipline integrating the heart, mind, soul and body, Yin is ultimately approached as a practice that can greatly strengthen one’s relationship with God and promote holistic wellness. We would love to invite you to join our next Holy Yoga Yin Training starting soon!
Post by Gary C. Steeves, C-HYI
An ordained pastor, Gary first experienced the power of yoga practice in Baptist Power Yoga and then with the Africa Yoga Project. When he encountered Holy Yoga he had, “found his tribe”. Gary’s passion is helping people who are struggling with stress, anxiety and trauma.
For fifteen years he has worked with inner-city residents in one of the most underserved neighborhoods in the country. In addition, he works with with refugees from war torn South Sudan, both here and in East Africa. Ten years ago Gary suffered from the effects of anxiety, poorly managed stress and he weighed over 430 pounds. In addition, he suffered with severe osteoarthritis in both knees and hips. His doctor told him to expect knee replacement surgery within the next five years. Today he is fit and active (with no knee replacement), and his stress and anxiety are well under control.
With a belief that everyone is deserving to live their life in all its fullness, he is eager to share his experience and training in healthy movement, mediation and prayer to anyone desiring hope and healing. We are not fragile. Throughout history we have, with and through the grace and power of God, overcome incredible obstacles and setbacks.