After narrowly missing the brunt of hurricane Irma, all of us in the Bradenton/Sarasota area have a reason to be thankful. Even though we were very lucky, it’s been a harrowing couple of weeks. Most of us are feeling the physical and mental impacts of the experience. Our bodies are stiff and sore, our nerves are frazzled, and many of us are feeling emotionally drained.
Post-hurricane stress is a very real thing. In the midst of evacuating, dealing with lost power, and helping friends in crisis, my yoga practice once again fell to the wayside. It’s been over a week since I’ve stepped on the mat and I’m well overdue. Elizabeth’s Yin yoga class was exactly what I needed.
Yin Yoga Philosophy
One of my favorite things about Thrive’s classes is that I feel like I learn something new every day. Rather than simply leading us through a series of poses, the instructors take the time to explain the philosophy behind them. Today was no exception. Yin yoga, Elizabeth explained, is based on the traditional Chinese medicine philosophy of Chi. This is the belief that energy flows along pathways known as meridians.
Today we focused on the kidney meridian, the home of fear and anxiety and also the seat of wisdom. The series of deep stretches, held for three to five minutes at a time, was designed to help us to identify and sit with our fears. The idea is that a true breakthrough occurs once you are able to transform those fears into a surge of wisdom.
Benefits of Body Rolling
Today’s class also incorporated body rolling, the practice of using inflated balls to massage and loosen muscles and increase blood flow. We rolled out our hips and then slowly rolled the ball down the entire length of the spine. The combination of the ball and our body weight helped to lengthen, tone, and realign the spine while creating space between the vertebrates.
By the end of the class, I was in a much better place and felt more capable of handling the ongoing recovery efforts. Unfortunately, it’s still far from over. There is a lot of clean-up left to do, some people are still without power, and many others have suffered significant losses. Those of us who were lucky enough to suffer minimal damage may feel a sense of survivors-guilt. Almost all of us are suffering from sleep deprivation. We have been stretched financially and have a lot of catching up to do in the workplace.
In a time like this, it can feel a bit selfish to step away from life’s demands long enough to take a yoga class. Take it from me, it’s worth it. The hour I spent taking care of myself put me in a much better position to help take care of others.
Are you feeling post-hurricane stress? It’s more important now than ever to practice self-care. Check out Thrive’s class schedule and sign up today. You will be glad you did!