Thankful Thursday Gratitude Practice

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We are LOVING having our students share what they’re thankful for (yes, we know it’s only October). One of the best things about yoga is finding more gratitude in our lives. Even on days when it seems like NOTHING is going right we encourage you to find just ONE thing you are thankful for. For this week’s #ThankfulThursday we created a sheet for you to print out and write what you’re grateful for on each leaf. If you need daily inspiration post this Thankful Tree somewhere you can see it each day! Don’t forget to share a photo with us on Instagram or Facebook with #thankfulthursday . We will be picking 2 random prize winners.

Mid-Week Mindfullness - 5 Daily Exercises

It’s easy to let our day to day tasks overwhelm us and stress us out. Whether you’re dashing from one meeting to the next or scrambling to keep up with household chores there’s just SO MUCH to keep track of. On top of that you’re “SUPPOSED” to eat well, take time for self care, exercise, etc…

We get it how do you find the time? Well on those especially busy days (or weeks) here’s your Top 5 Exercises to keep you sane and working toward your bigger vision.

5. Breathe

I know it seems cliche and obvious that you need to focus on your breathing but studies have shown that even a few short minutes of mindful breathing can shift not only our mood, but also gives us a mental boost and reduces stress levels.

4. Journal

Keep it simple! This isn’t about coming up with your next novel or writing a ground breaking poem (although it could be). This is about getting your creative juices flowing! Just put pen to paper and set a timer for 5 minutes. Start with stream of consciousness writing. Whatever hits the page is perfect DON’T EDIT. You may find you have something specific you want to talk about, but you may also find you just write “this is my pen” 300 times. Just write…something…anything.

3. Walking

Get out and MOVE! The weather is finally turning nice enough that’s it’s pleasurable to be outside here in Texas. Take to nature and get moving. Aim to walk for 15 minutes to start. As you walk focus on your surroundings, the sounds you hear, and the smells around you. Start off without music or podcasts and just allow yourself to tune into the present moment. Even better combine this exercise WITH your breath practice!

2. Inspire

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Grab your favorite blog, book, or podcast that has QUALITY content. Something that truly inspires you. Something that after you’ve read it you know you just HAVE to get going and do your thing. Set your timer for 10 minutes and shut off all other notifications. Allow yourself to completely tune into what you’re reading.

1. Yoga

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world couldn’t be wrong, right? Hit your mat! You don’t need to do an hour or 90 minute practice (although you could) to get the benefits that slowing down and moving with your breath offer. Set your timer for 15-20 mins and just move. Uninspired to create a home sequence? Grab one of our free online classes (don’t worry they’re all under 20 mins).

The moral of the story take a few minutes to focus on YOU. Let everything sit (I promise it’ll be there when you’re done). You may find you’re even more productive or at lease more present in your work and personal life with just a few minutes each day.

Yin Yoga - What's that??

At Just Be Well, we offer a class with an unusual name: “VINYIN.”  It is a class that combines the warming, yang practice of a VINyasa flow class and the more cooling, passive practice of YIN Yoga.  But really - what is “YIN YOGA”?

Yin Yoga is a style of yoga in much the same way that “hatha” or “vinyasa” or “restorative” is a style of yoga.  Hatha and other muscle-strengthening types of alignment-based yoga are YANG types of yoga, to borrow terminology from the Chinese.  Just as all of life has contrasts between yin and yang (think dark/light, cold/hot, down/up, water/fire, etc), so also does the practice of yoga.

In the earliest depictions of yoga, we see the “yin” aspect of yoga rather than the “yang” aspects of yoga.  In fact, the Yoga Sutras have only 2 sutras which refer to the asana portion of the yoga practice, and both of them refer to a yin ideal: postures were to be sthira (steady) and sukham (comfortable, pleasing).  The heated, yang aspects of yoga postures originated in monastic communities to provide balance to the yin, meditative postures of the practice of yoga.

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As the evolution of yoga progressed, yoga moved from being a spiritual practice (long holds and seated postures for deeper practices/meditation) to become performance art (active dynamic movement in standing postures for strength and health).  Our modern-day version of “Yin yoga” is a melding of Taoist Yoga (Dao Yin) from the early 20th century and the understanding of the meridian energy lines of the body from the Chinese Medicine tradition.

“Yin is a practice of being calm but alert to what is going on inside, so it’s a nice transition from physical movement to meditative stillness.”    -- Paul Grilley

What does the practice of yin yoga look like?  Yin Yoga has very distinct external features, namely:

  • Approach a given pose with an appropriate DEPTH

  • Resolve to remain STILL

  • HOLD the pose for a time

Sounds simple, right??  Well, actually, it IS simple, but “simple” does not mean “easy.”  In the yang forms of yoga, we are only in a given pose for a short period - perhaps as long as 5 breaths.  But in yin yoga, we literally marinate in the pose and pay attention to the flow of sensations that arise. Yin Yoga gives us a chance to learn what sensations are, where they are, whether they are healthy, albeit challenging, or too much. We learn what an “edge” is, which is something that can be missed entirely in our yang practice.  

Yin Yoga teaches us to connect with our bodies and to pay attention to our inner world, whether it is the physical sensations of increased mobility of the connective tissue, or the mental ‘chatter’ that inevitably shows itself when we become still for a period of time.

“Can one desire too much of a good thing?”

--William Shakespeare

A yoga practice that focuses on only one thing can create imbalance.  We crave good things, and creating balance might mean that we learn to crave good things that are different from our favorite things!  Both the yin and yang aspects of our life and our yoga practice deserve to be honored with the same amount of intention. Namaste.

VinYin_Susie Fergus_Fort Worth