A Quiet Fix: Holistic Healing through Yin Yoga

February 7, 2021

What started as a quest for increased flexibility led Low Entropy Volunteer Writer Kathy Woudzia to emotional sanctuary via breath and meditation. 

As a person living alone, I have had a difficult time coping with the social isolation associated with COVID. Before January 2020, I spent my time raising a family and all duties that entailed. For 18 years I was a stay-at-home mom, spending my days looking after the household. I worked out, shopped, cleaned and prepared dinners, finding little time for building friendships.

In January 2020, it all fell apart. I found myself newly single, and with all of my children having flown the nest, COVID was the icing on the proverbial cake.

In order to cope, I would do an intense workout everyday. Fitness was not only a great way to keep fit, but more importantly, helped me keep my sanity. There is a feeling of euphoria after each and every workout. It’s not just the endorphins that course through your body after an intense fitness session, but also the general sense of accomplishment that would carry me through the day.

Unfortunately, I overworked my body to save my mind, and my body rebelled. The frequent workouts were taking a toll. I got to the point where I could barely walk without pain.  

Even worse than the physical pain was the emotional despondency of not being able to work out anymore. The fact is that I don’t feel good about myself when I don’t perform a fitness activity daily.  In too much pain to do another workout, I resorted to something I never thought I would ever do, much less enjoy: Yin Yoga.

Yin is a type of yoga where you hold poses for a minimum of three to five minutes each. I was reluctant to try this because I knew it was going to incite a different kind of physical pain from my current injury.   I’d neglected stretching for a good portion of my life, which is exactly why I was now having problems with my IT band. With a background in kinesiology, I knew about the three components to physical fitness: cardio, strength, and flexibility. I possessed the first two but I was sorely missing the third. If I wanted to repair my injury and work out again, I would need to improve my flexibility. 

I looked up Yin Yoga online. I found it to be equal parts science and spirit. Combining the practices of Yin Yoga and mindfulness meditation creates powerful possibilities for transformation and holistic healing in all layers of our being: body, mind and heart. I knew there were obvious benefits to Yin Yoga for the physical body, but it would be a very welcome surprise if it were to have a positive effect on my mind as well.

I began with some deep breathing and found that this immediately relaxed me. Next were some poses, which could be potentially painful, but the instructor said something important: only go into the pose deep enough so that you are feeling a five out of 10 in the stretch and, above all, stay present.

This made a world of difference to me. While in each three-minute pose, I focused on my breath and on being in the moment. I do not usually take the time to meditate, but I found that for three minutes at a time I could be in a complete meditative state. The video was 45 minutes long, which provided me with almost a full hour of meditation. By the end of the Yin Yoga session, not only did my body feel better, but I felt a sense of calm that regular exercise didn’t provide for me. I am now going to stick with Yin Yoga even when my body no longer needs it for repair. For me, Yin Yoga and meditation is a repair of the mind.

Where do you find your inner peace? Let us know in the comments section, or attend one of Low Entropy’s supportive meetings to exchange ideas and experiences. 

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