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YIN TIME by Whitney Berra

Shorter days and longer nights are upon us.  We are in the midst of Autumn and even our tropical climate is cooling down just enough, to pull us back into bed for a few extra minutes, or invite us indoors for tea and the company of our own self.  We are beginning to rest in the darker Yin months of the annual cycle (Fall and Winter), a time for anchoring inward and finding stillness.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine and philosophy, Yin-Yang is the relationship between opposing forces and their perfect union, creating balance in our being and the natural world.  We can think of Yang as “upward and out” movements, heat rising, the branches of a tree reaching high to the sky, action, effort, external energetic movement, birthing, growth, Spring, Summer, the Sun, illumination, increased heart rate, and even our Sympathetic Nervous System or “fight or flight” responses.  Yang’s fundamental substance is “Qi” or life force energy.  Yang’s perfect counterpart, Yin, consists of all things related to receptivity, nourishment, conservation, introspection, stillness, density, and darkness.  Yin is the Water balancing the fire.  Yin substances are deeper and thicker, like body fluids and blood and even our Mother Earth.  Our emotions, the Moon, and what lies beneath the surface are Yin in nature.  Our Parasympathetic Nervous System, the “rest and restore” responses of our body are also Yin processes, where blood and fluids are nourished, our deepest tissues and Yin aspects (including internal organs) are supported and balanced, and blood flows to GI tract to facilitate digestion of nutrients.  We also digest life and experiences, and deeply receive from a Yin or more feminine and receptive state. It is necessary to cultivate and nourish Yin, especially with hectic lives, schedules, and a world that tends to move from Yang.  With too much Yang, we become depleted, “burned up” and we may even be spinning in circles, without rooting and connection to our deepest self and values.  Nature is divinely created, and so this much needed Yin time of the year comes around for all of the natural world, including ourselves, to rest in ourselves more deeply, more heavily.  We sink into still moments of being, reflection and care. 

In the Yin time of Autumn, we receive and integrate ourselves and our experiences, we softly take in and digest Spring and Summer’s fruits, its wisdom, the feeling of fullness from month’s prior.  In this lull, before we move “up and out” or  forward in any big way externally, we honor this contraction.  This is the nature of all things that are here in existence with us.  To magnetize and invite in what we want at our deepest core, to optimize our health and vitality, we recalibrate here and now.  We relax and soften to receive and from our internal stability and wisdom found in quiet, we also begin to release and let go of that which has died , what has run its course, what is ready to fall away. We settle into introspective moments and practices, to cultivate our container, one that is able to hold and be filled, receiving the nourishment of our life ..... and one that is simultaneously able to let go, release out, and empty just like the tree releases it’s leaves. Autumn is represented by Lung and Large Intestine systems in Chinese Medicine.  Receiving and releasing through the lung system, and emptying through the Large Intestine.  We are sorting now.  We simply hold space for what we already know to do, during this time.  This process is our nature, we effortlessly allow the process to take place. 

We are preparing to enter Winter with little baggage, just the necessities.  We trust the house cleaning, the grief and nostalgia present for most, the whispers in stillness, the softening of clenched hearts and hands, releasing their grips on what is no longer true for us. This is a new chapter we have entered.  Over the course of Fall and Winter, silent and hidden new beginnings are being born.  We are tending to our inner soil, so next year’s harvest can be meaningful and plentiful.  Can we trust this process and have faith in the intelligence of our body, our deepest knowing, which is pulling us deeper and deeper into ourselves. 

A nice practice for the Yin Months is a Yin Yoga Practice. We connect to the most Yin element, the Earth, as we move through sequencing low to the ground, with props, to allow for complete surrender and unraveling of tension and stress responses.  Postures are held for 2-10 minutes, to reach and stretch deep connective Yin tissue and meridians, relax muscles, and rehabilitate joints. Earth’s support and gravitational pull/passive postures, utilization of breath, and an introspective gaze allows for connection to our core self, as well as greater relaxation, clarity, grounding and peace. We revel in truth only found in stillness.  We submerge in to the deep and peaceful waters of our being.  We are able to move on from practice and into our life in a way that feels honest and whole. Yin Yoga, Yin seasons, and our Yin aspects in general, build us up, so we can offer out efficiently and truly.

Nourish your Yin! Blessings and love! 

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