Staying Connected to Yin and Yang with Yoga at Home

Hopefully, if working from home is an option in your life, you’re already doing it.

In fact, it’s very likely you’re already familiar with the phrases “social distancing” and “flattening the curve.” If you’re not, they’re very simple ideas:

Social Distancing: Maintaining a physical distance from those outside of your nuclear family or living situation in order to slow, and ideally prevent, the spread of coronavirus cases.

Flattening the Curve: By slowing the spread, the number of active cases of infection at any given moment is kept manageable for medical workers and hospitals so that facilities are not overwhelmed and everyone can receive treatment safely.

These are not new measures. With nearly 8 billion human beings living on the planet, these tactics are standard for containing viruses.

But the practical effect on the daily lives of those engaged in social distancing is a complete uprooting of routine, personal equilibrium, and the rhythm of life. 

It’s important to maintain a sense of order while the things we can’t control seem to be free-falling. 

For lots of people, one of the most difficult things about isolation is the severing of the connection to the rest of the world – and what that means for our energies. We need balm for the soul, too – handwashing for the spirit. 

One thing that can help? Participating in deliberate, mindful, centering practices, including, but not limited to, yoga…

Especially as it relates to the Taoist classification of energies as being either Yin (passive, internal cooling, and downward) or Yang (dynamic, external, warming, and upward).

To keep your energy flowing without too much disruption throughout the day, practice yang yoga in the morning, and yin yoga at night.

Here are some easy moves to practice for yang yoga…

Yang Yoga 

Yang yoga does a number of things in the body that help it stir the sleepies away and wake up. It’s focused on strengthening and toning the body, improving circulation, stretching the muscles, connecting movement with breath, awakening and sustaining stamina, and loosening tension.

Try this movement sequence to activate the body’s energy flow:

  1. Mountain Pose with Palms Facing Forward
    1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms down by your sides with palms facing outwards. 
  2. Standing Wind Release Pose with Prayer Hands
    1. Place the palms against each other in front of your chest, and then lift your right leg until it’s bent at the knee in a 90 degree angle. Point your toes downward. Stay balanced using your hips, feet, chest, and core. 
  3. Standing Wind Release Pose with Arms Raised
    1. Raise your arms into the space above your head and bring the right thigh higher, maintaining the pose but pressing the thigh closer to your body.
  4. Warrior 3 Squat Pose
    1. Slowly hinge your torso at the waist by bending your left knee and sending the right leg back and straight behind you. Then, with your head bent, stretch your arms in front of you and stretch your spine. Balance is supported here with the use of your core and left foot. 
  5. Twisted Lizard Pose
    1. Place the hands on the floor at the same time that you lower your right foot to the floor. Press into the left knee with your torso, sending the knee and thigh outwards. Twist your body and face towards the left side so that the shoulders, chest, and hips remain parallel to the floor. Continuously stretch the body so that you’re as close to the floor as possible. 
  6. Nectar of the Moon Pose 2
    1. Lift the torso up and keep pressing the right hand into the floor. Reach the left arm back and twist your shoulders and chest to the left and back. Maintain your balance with your feet firm on the ground. 
  7. Downward Facing Dog 
    1. Send the left foot back to meet the right foot at hip width apart. Keep both hands on the ground in front you, shoulder width apart. Push back into your hips and stretch, head resting and facing the floor.
  8. Three Legged Downward Facing Dog
    1. Raise the left leg and stretch the left hips. Press your hands into the floor, stretching the shoulders and chest. Return your left foot to the floor and repeat raising your right leg. 

Friday, we’ll get into the benefits of yin yoga, and include a stretching sequence for optimal cooling down.

But give this sequence a try in the mornings and let us know if you felt a difference in how you started your day! 

Did you feel energized physically? Spiritually? Mentally? Do you think you’ll practice it again the next day?

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Dr. Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling author and film maker. Taoist Abbot and Qigong master. Husband and dad. I’m here to help you find your way and be healthy and happy. I don’t want to be your guru…just someone who’ll help point the way. If you’re looking for a real person who’s done the work, I’m your guy. I can light the path and walk along it with you but can’t walk for you.