Movement

Turning Inward

Embrace the shift to introspection as seasons change. Enjoy a yin yoga practice to nurture inner peace and delve into self-discovery.

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There’s a familiar pattern that occurs this time of year when the days become shorter, the trees change colour and we wake to find mountains capped with snow. We begin to crave different foods, our energy levels shift and we feel a pull towards quiet, cosy spaces. It’s a time for slowing down – for turning inward.

And we’re not alone. Across the world, the realities of isolation mean many are now spending a significant portion of time with only the people closest to them. And as we all know, finding comfort in time alone – in simply being in your own body – isn’t without its own challenges. So as we move through these shifting seasons (whatever they look like for you) we encourage you to embrace turning inwards.

(Scroll to the bottom for a Yin Yoga Flow)

Nurturing our inner world

If ‘inner world’ feels a little too galactic for you – we understand! – think of it as your mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Our inner world is the part of ourselves we’re faced with in those quiet moments, and just like our physical self, it needs training and care to function at its best.

However, as you’ve just observed, it’s easy to naturally separate ourselves into two parts – mind and body. But in reality, these two work in tandem, flowing in constant communication right down to a molecular level. Take our fascia, for example – a 3D interconnected web of connective tissue in the body that surrounds and holds muscles, bones, organs, nerves and blood vessels. The fascia literally creates communication pathways between the 70 trillion cells in your body, keeping them all humming in relative harmony.

The fascia is also where we store our emotional experiences, such as grief or trauma. All emotional traumas and tensions leave their mark in the world of our fascia (Mahoney, 2017) – and so when we nurture our physical selves, we in turn nurture our emotional and spiritual selves as well.

Introducing yin yoga

“Since the body is an extension of the mind, time spent in yoga reflects and lightens your internal state of wellbeing.” – Kora Appleton, Aro-Ha Co-Ordinator

One way to nurture your inner-world is the practice of yin yoga. Yin yoga is a slow, meditative practice that encourages our awareness to turn inward, beginning an inquiry into the body’s inner landscape through physical movement.

In yin yoga, we use asana – the passive physical shapes of yoga – to create safety for the body, allowing our muscles to feel held and supported whilst working our connective tissue or fascia. We do this by holding postures that put gentle tension on tissue and joints, releasing fascial adhesions that come from ageing, stress and inactivity. This process of release has tremendous benefits for the sympathetic nervous system, as well as improving overall physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Rest and digest

“The quieter you become the more you can hear.” – Ram Dass

Through the practice of yin yoga, your sympathetic nervous system – known for controlling your ‘fight or flight’ response – is given the option to sink into a more parasympathetic state; a place of peace and calm, otherwise known as ‘rest and digest’. By training your body to become accustomed to this state, you may find it easier to return to when being tested outside the world of yoga, in times of everyday stress.  

In addition, by spending prolonged time in these restful shapes, we enable movement in our fascia, allowing stored emotions and traumas to become unstuck. When we become unstuck, we start to feel internally grounded, present and steady, reflecting back into the world from a place of true authenticity. We call this internal alignment – when the intricate systems in our bodies are cooperating harmoniously. This is optimal health and wellbeing.

Journey inward with Aro Ha

We use yin yoga as one of our tools here at Aro Ha, with the intention of supporting our guests on their own inward journey.

To explore how yin yoga could work for you, join Simon, one of our Retreat Leaders here at Aro Ha, for a 90-Min Yin Yoga practice. Our vision is to provide you with the tools you need to begin developing your own practice, supporting you to spend time fully present in your internal and external being.

However, if yin yoga isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to step inward.

Some alternative practices could be:

  • Deep belly breathes. Close your eyes and observe the thoughts that pass through your mind. Focus on what you can hear, smell or sense in that moment.
  • Light a candle and drink a cup of tea without any distractions. Intentionally notice the sensation of it, bringing your mind back to the present moment.
  • Notice what restores you, then do whatever that is as an active act of self-love.