How To…Slow Down, Cool Off, Release Tension + Reduce Stress!

So we’ve crossed the threshold into the official start of summer marked by the Summer Solstice on June 21st and we can now take a deep breath and say…“ahhh happy summer!”

I mean, that’s going to make you feel a lot better than our usual “holy sh*t is it already July?!”

For all of us in the Midwest or anywhere that has four seasons, summer is, well…sacred. You feel that sense of relief and accomplishment when you round the corner past a finicky spring and touch those bare toes confidently into the warmth of summer.

I’ll admit that summer is not actually my favorite season – I know, it’s a risky thing to say in this part of the country. I’m one of those die-hard fall enthusiasts though.

This past month in our Yin Yoga classes and our Meditation +Tea Ceremony workshop, we talked a lot about the idea of summer being a very “yang” time of the year.

We can think of two opposite forces of energy in the world and in ourselves: “yang” and “yin.” These are opposing forces – like sun and moon; hot and cold; light and dark; striving and yielding.

We already have a lot of “yang” energy in our culture and our lives – that busy, active, heating, achievement-focused energy.

Then we get into summer and the “yang” ramps up even more – we get busier, more active, hotter, and excited to use our extra dose of energy to get out and get things done.

That idea of summer being slow, easy and relaxed, sipping iced tea on a front porch – can quickly become a laughable fantasy.

Summer is hot, bright, fast, light and expansive. It can be an amazing time for growth and getting things done (or at least getting them started!).

It can be a joyful time, too, a time for getting together with friends and family as we shed our wintry protection and look for connection and togetherness.

We enter summer flying high off of the abundance of spring, but we do need to be mindful because every summer we run the same risk…burnout!

We scurry around doing yard work, re-staining decks, shuttling kids to soccer games and summer activities, attending family get togethers, baseball games, preparing for the cabin – on top of all the usual responsibilities of work and general existence.

But a great step towards personal growth is taking care that we don’t run ourselves dry. Making sure we’re continuing to refill our energy resources during this time of great energetic output is essential.

So just how do we do this?

We embrace our “yin” side!

Yin Yoga is one practice that, of course, embraces yin energy – that quieter, cooler, slower, more inward focused and deeply grounding energy.

When it seems impossible to slow things down, cool off, or carve out even a tiny sliver of quiet in our lives – this is when you know you need some YIN.

This time of year our Yin Yoga practice encourages feelings of being balanced, grounded, earthy, full, and nourished on all levels of being.

Now isn’t THAT what summer is all about?

Join me for Summer Yin Yoga Classes on Wednesdays 7-8pm and Fridays 1-2pm beginning July 10th and 12th!

At last…Weekly Yin Yoga Classes!
Slow Down, Cool Off, Release Tension & Reduce Stress…

What is Yin Yoga?
I almost hesitate to even call it “yoga” because it’s not at all what you’re picturing in your head right now!

  • You won’t be standing at all, you’ll be lying or sitting on the ground with a plethora of cozy props to support your body in various shapes.
  • The goal isn’t to make perfect shapes, it’s to release into deep relaxation in your body AND mind – and we go about this using a variety of physical, mental, and energetic tactics.
  • There’s no one to compare yourself to and no one to judge – because most of the time our eyes will be closed!

“Angela is a kind and gentle instructor who makes each student feel as though they have her undivided attention. Her Yin classes are calming, restorative and inspirational. I never wanted to miss one of Angela’s classes and thought of them as weekly therapy for body, mind and soul.” -Kate

What are the benefits of Yin Yoga?
Physical Benefits:

  • Restore range of motion and flexibility to joints that have become stiff from injury, surgery, or lack of use.
  • Release deeply held tension from the body by working with your fascia.
    • Fascia surrounds all of our muscles, so no matter how much you work on stretching a muscle, if you never address your fascia you may never fully release the tension stored there.
    • Our experience of stiffness in the body is often directly related to the stiffness and health of our fascia.
      • Most of us do not make a conscious effort to address our fascia despite it playing such an important role!

Mental & Emotional Benefits:

  • Turn off the “fight or flight” stress response through deep breathing techniques and turn on the Parasympathetic Nervous System, a.k.a. the “rest and digest” response.
  • Experience the benefits of mindfulness:
    • Build mental and emotional resilience by practicing staying calm and centered despite a busy mind or rebelling emotions.
  • Experience the benefits of meditation:
    • Quiet your busy mind, experience mental and emotional calm and clarity.

Energetic Benefits:

  • Experience the benefits of acupressure (similar to acupuncture):
    • Mental and emotional calm & release of endorphins.
    • Nourish the body’s organs.
    • Stimulate the flow of energy/chi in the body to prevent energetic stagnation or blockages.

“I had tried several different kinds of yoga with limited success, but once I tried Yin Yoga with Angela I was hooked. I have fibromyalgia, and it has really helped with my symptoms far beyond what I ever expected. She is an excellent teacher, and I highly recommend her.” – Lisa

Do I need to be athletic to practice Yin Yoga?

  • Nope! Yin Yoga is not a workout nor a physically demanding practice – it will help to release tension from the body, calm the mind, and reduce stress.
  • You won’t get sweaty – but you WILL feel good. Think about how you feel after a massage! Yep, that good. Calm, relaxed, tension-free.
  • And if you are athletic, Yin Yoga is a super complement to your muscular/heating/”yang” activities to support your connective tissues and bring some calming “yin” energy into your life.

“My perception of Yoga has always been about drastic poses and stretches, of which I’ve done. But with Yin Yoga, this was more of a gentle embrace, more so of what my mind and body needed desperately.” -Sierra

Do I need to be flexible to practice Yin Yoga?

  • No! The practice will slowly and gently help you regain range of motion and flexibility in your body. Every pose has lots of options to support every individual’s body.
  • And if you are flexible, the practice will help you maintain supple joints, release tension/pain/stress from the body, and provide all the mental, emotional, and energetic benefits listed above, as well!

“This opportunity to ‘just be’ is very appealing and allows for a break from the screens and social media services that are always demanding our attention. Angela’s classes were definitely impactful to me and changed the way I view the world and interact with people.” – Zak

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