Why does yin stir up emotions?

One of my first experiences in a yin workshop, the teacher said to the  group “The issues are in our tissues”.  I’ve taken this into consideration any time I’m working in yin postures. Yin yoga is a very meditative practice.. one where it’s common for emotions to arise – but why is this? When we practice, we allow our bodies to rest in postures for extended periods of time. Each yin posture corresponds to a meridian within the body; each meridian corresponds to a pairing of emotion, For example, the lung/heart meridian corresponds to love/grief. If we move into a lung/heart meridian posture, it is possible that we may experience feelings of love, grief, or anything that may encompass either of these emotions. Staying in the postures for longer periods of time (3-10 minutes) allows the body to relax into the pose and start to feel safe with whatever arises. We learn to be calm in the face of intensity; to realize that we can be safe in any emotion. When we experience this on the mat, we can begin to realize that all emotions are not only safe, but they are also necessary in processing and learning through our experiences.

Often, these experiences are not recent –  it can be common for experiences or memories to arise that were seemingly long dealt with or buried. Like an onion, there are different layers to our memories. What we’ve processed in the moment then allows for us to move to the deeper layers the next time.

It’s not just difficult emotions that arise – sometimes there can be an overwhelming sense of elation, an indescribable need to laugh, a feeling of immense love and happiness.

Whatever the emotion, all are welcome. They allow us to process on a new level, and to become comfortable with the ideal that emotion is not only okay, but necessary.

The issues are in our tissues; the emotions are in our issues.

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