By Jennifer Kelleher
At Ocean Bliss Yoga Studio, we spotlight a different theme each month to help us stay balanced and to expand in different areas of our yoga practice and life. This July, our focuses are Yin Energy and the Water Element.
Yin and Yang are part of a Chinese philosophical concept that describes opposite, yet interconnected forces. The principles of Yin and Yang complement each other. When something is too extreme, you can look to the other side of the spectrum to determine what is needed for balance. For example, what would you do if a beverage was too hot? You would probably add ice!
In regard to seasons, summer can be described as the most Yang time of year, as it has many extreme Yang qualities.
Summer is warm, fiery, bright, extroverted, and active. Masculine in nature, this time of year gets our hearts pumping, gets our blood flowing, and pulls us up and out. If we are intentional, we can use this energy beautifully to help drive productivity and replenish resources after the long winter. However, many people live very Yang, activity-filled lives, which is why it is important to stay aware so that the extra heat doesn’t throw us into overdrive. Intentionally bringing in Yin principles during this time of year can be essential for helping us to stay balanced and on track.
Yin energy is calm, cool, dark, inward, and feminine. It’s all about slowing down, resting, and restoring. Yin is acceptance. It is “being,” rather than “doing.” Yin is relaxed, and soft. Water is the most Yin element. Water is also the most nourishing and essential substance for life, whose wisdom is to flow. Yin balances Yang and Water balances Fire. Below are some ideas to help you even out the heat of summer:
- Eat cooling foods, such as vegetable salads, fresh fruit (especially watermelon, melon, and peaches), lettuce, cucumber, celery, yogurt, bean and grain salads, and fish.
- Use cooling herbs, like mint, chamomile, lemon balm, rose hip, and hibiscus. Drink them in tea, include them in recipes, and use them in essential oil form diffused, in self-massage, and natural, homemade products, such as face/body spritzers and cooling, scented soaps.
- Choose to practice moderate exercises, like certain types of yoga (yin, hatha, restorative, and slow, mindful flows), walking, swimming, and easy bike riding.
- Use meditation, guided imagery, and mindfulness to relax the mind and calm the nervous system.
- Pause throughout the day for conscious, diaphragmatic breaths with elongated exhales.
- Submerge in water! Dip in the ocean, float in a pool, or soak in a tub.
- Listen to water sounds, either live or recorded.
- Practice Jala Mudra (Mudra of Water) by joining the tips of the thumbs and pinky fingers.
- Spend time in nature, being with it and admiring its beauty.
- Create a healthy and helpful bedtime routine and get to bed by or before 10:30 p.m. Evening rituals can include things like turning off all electronics, taking a salt bath, drinking herbal tea, using lavender essential oil, doing guided imagery, and journaling.
We invite you to join us in the studio all month as we explore these two themes through classes and workshops. This month, we have added in new Yoga and Pilates classes and are offering six exciting workshops. Check out our offerings and book at oceanblissyoga.net. Call Jen with any questions at 917-318-1168. We look forward to seeing you in the studio!