“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~ Maya Angelou
This yoga pose works wonders on stretching the lower back and is stimulates the kidney meridian of the body – considered critical to fluid energy flow. Meridians (based on Chinese medicine) are invisible pathways through which energy flows. During an acupuncture session, needles are inserted into meridians to open blocked energy and allow it to flow freely through meridians. Yin yoga has a similar effect sans needles! Each pose stimulates a certain meridian and stretches the connective tissue of the body – rather than muscle in a typical yoga class.
To begin, sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Move your feet forward so that they form a diamond shape. Your knees will resemble butterfly wings – hence the pose name. Bend forward from your hips and round your spine. Let your head rest into the soles of your feet or onto a blanket or pillow that you place between your head and feet. Take deep full breaths and stay here one to five minutes.
With yoga we want to avoid pain. Find that sweet spot of sensation located between stagnation and pain. In yoga – and life – it’s referred to as “finding your edge.” If you are feeling any discomfort beyond strong sensation, back out of the pose by adding another pillow or lessening the time you hold the pose.
Benefits: Stimulating the kidney meridian helps to balance bodily fluids in the blood and circulatory system, lymphatic system, endocrine system, and urinary system; helps regulate blood pressure; offers an emotional opening and releases fear.
Omwork (homework with a yogic twist): Try a yin yoga class on DVD or at Tranquil Space. Pay attention to your energy – do you feel depleted or energized? Sit it butterfly for a few minutes a day. Note how it feels and observe your progression. Yoga is a journey and yin yoga is a yummy, slow, quiet practice.