👇🏾 Click on the video below for a guided 15-minute yin yoga practice that releases blockage held in the connective tissue through the hands, arms, shoulders, and chest while building self-love and releasing grief by opening the lung, heart, and intestine meridians and their mental-emotional counterparts.
It’s that pressure in the chest that wants to push out tears. It’s the trembling that stirs with sadness running as deep as the gut.
This is grief asking to be released from our body, our heart, mind, and soul.
We so often think of grief as related with death of loved ones or the loss of serious relationships, but it’s more than that.
It can arise from the loss of a job, a certain standard of health, certain skills, or our role in particular communities or places. Grief can be felt in a loss of comfort in what was once comfortable. We can grieve the time that we feel we “lost” through harm to ourselves or others, to not knowing then what we know now.
Grief is the weight of the past that sits in our chest and gut, asking us to let it surface when it presents itself and to be expressed as a form of love—love for ourselves through the process of change, and love for what or whom we’re learning to let go of and live without.
Why We Practice Yin Yoga
When we hold postures and offer ourselves support in these longer holds, we can relax into an opening of our connective tissue, where we retain memory and emotions. We give ourselves time to be with our bodies and the sensations that we feel in these positions. We let our nervous system rest.
Our body is our unconscious mind. All memories and emotions are stored in our bodies! When we take our consciousness into our bodies, we make the unconscious conscious. We can then intentionally embrace ourselves in full awareness. This is the process of knowing our whole selves, to be able to listen to our body that already knows how to care for itself.
How Grief is Held in the Body
In the chest and gut. Heart, lungs, and colon. Connective tissue through the upper body.
How we feel the world through the heart space, and how we extend ourselves into that world by giving and receiving through our arms, hands, and fingers. How we let new into our life, and how we let go, like the intake of oxygen and nutrients, and release of carbon dioxide and feces.
When we let go, we create space for new. This is the only way, and this is the intention with this practice.
Therefore, this yin yoga focuses on:
👉🏾 Lung & Colon meridians and their correlating fascia lines
Grief is related with the lungs and colon in five-element theory, so this Yin practice focuses on the lung and large intestine meridians that run through the thumb side of the upper body. Because these meridians run with fascia lines, these Yin postures open blockage held in the connective tissue (fascia) that runs through the hands, arms, and into the chest.
This means that when you release tension in your elbow, you release it in your shoulder, or when you release blockage in your bicep, you release it in through the thumb… because it’s all connected!
Opening the lung and large intestine channels helps to relieve difficulties in breathing by creating more space for the lungs, slumped shoulders that are a common result of too much sitting and closing inward toward phones and computers, and upper back pain while releasing grief held in the tissues that can be expressed as apathy, hopelessness, depression, isolation, and attachment to the past, things, thoughts, beliefs, or relationships.
👉🏾 Heart, Heart Protector, Triple Heater & Small Intestine meridians and their correlating fascia lines
The video’s second set of Yin postures open heart and small intestine channels and fascia lines (connective tissue) that run through the pinky side of the hands, arms, and through the typically massive knots we can hold around our shoulder blades (key points in the small intestine meridian).
Freeing blockage held through the heart and small intestine channels, and connective tissues, addresses heart health challenges, neck and shoulder pain, lacking strength, vitality, and immunity, while releasing prolonged sadness, heart closure that strains social connection, and a lack of joy and overall passion and love—all symptoms of heart restriction or depletion—that can arise through the grieving process and/or grief that we’ve been unable to process thus far and in turn have consciously or unconsciously held onto.
This Yin practice offers an opening to allow that process to unfold with more ease.
Speaking of knots we commonly hold, rub the tissues around your elbows to feel if you have any blockages there—these are common spots that are easy to self-massage. You can also massage the rest of your arms, investigating where you hold tension and varying the depth and length of your touch and holds where it feels best. These Yin postures act like a massage, using your own body weight and gravity to open and release tension through the tissues.
This Yin session is intentionally short so it can be practiced on a regular basis. The more it is practiced, the more intense the sensations may become, and the deeper the postures release blockage, toxins, and tension. When we hold postures longer as in this practice, we relax into an opening of our connective tissue, where we retain memory and emotions. The more consistently practiced, the more stored emotions and memories can surface and be released.
You will feel this surfacing! You will be asked to release into the sensations and emotions that arise to simply allow them to come, and ultimately, to go.
The postures may feel incredible one day and utterly intense the next. Can you allow whatever arises without judgment? Can you allow yourself to feel what surfaces, including the stories in the memories, without attaching to the stories? Can you give yourself that offering of safety, to be with yourself as you are, without judgment, without a need to run away before you release what is stagnant and blocking you?
Do your best to give yourself holistic care, knowing that movement is medicine, but so are our thoughts, our beliefs, our relationships, our environment, our food and drinks. Find more insight and holistic tools specific to grief relief as well as chronic stress, fear, and anger.
Be patient with yourself through this process, giving yourself the time and space you need, and asking for it when necessary. Reach out to a trusted source for support when you’re able.
If you need more guidance and support through the process of letting go while embracing all of the challenges that arise through that process, check out the Holistic Liberation Program that provides exactly that.
Jyllin is a holistic health coach and somatic practitioner, and teacher of therapeutic yoga and creative movement, specializing in liberation from addictive patterns of chronic stress. Learn more about Jyllin and The Holistic Liberation Program.