Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yin Practice for Transforming Sadness and Depresstion into Courage, Letting Go and Right Action

Long deep holds such as the ones practiced in Yin Yoga  tap into tension in the hips, chest, and back. Stretching these areas slowly and methodically in a focused yoga class prompt emotional releases. Frustration and anger can manifest in spinal tension, heartbreak and depression can linger in the chest, and emotional pain from the past could lie dormant in the hip flexors.  I have developed this classes to explore yoga poses for emotional and physical healing by working through stiffness and blockages in our bodies.

This yin practice for transforming Depression/Sadness is focused on the 3rd and 4th Chakras (the places in the body sadness and depression are stored according to the Yogic System of Ayurveda) as well as the lungs and large intestines (where sadness and Depression are stored according to Traditional Chinese Medicine). The intention is to stimulate and stretch the places that sadness and depression live in our bodies in order that they can either leave the body or transform into courage, letting go and right action.


Sadness and Depression are found in the 3rd and 4th Chakras. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they are said to live in the lungs and Large Intestines. The Energy of Sadness is: Soft. Cold to the Touch.

As we get into Child's pose we can ask ourselves, "Why is this pose name child's pose?" The Sanskrit name for the pose is “balasana”, which translate to “child” and “pose” respectively. The pose is called Child's pose because you form the shape of a baby in the womb.  The emphasize is the naturally curved spine like a fetus. In this pose you can feel yourself safe as if you were in the womb. The pose addresses the 3rd chakra as it massages the abdominal organs. The full-body, gravitational pull of Balasana offers great physical, mental and emotional relief.  I find this pose a perfect place to begin as we explore sadness.  Is this pose we are completely protected.


Sadness is related to neurotransmitters in our brain.  It is also related to an absense of dopamine, serotonin and phenylethylamine.

Revolved Child's Pose is one of the least exposed twists.  Here you can twist without exposing the heart.

"In twists you work with the spine and the action of ‘lengthening’ is to create space between the vertebrae. When there's a lack of space our spine tends to slump or get stuck and our energy levels drop. Through twisting we lengthen the spine and get space between the bones. Then our energy can flow better. Twists give us an instant energy lift and decompress the vertebrae in a safe healthy way."


We usually translate the word Karuna as compassion but it originaly means sadness.  It is the sadness we feel when we need to let go of attachments. It is the most important to have compassion for ourselves.Embracing a sad person with love can work miracles on their mental state.  Also surrounding them with beauty and art.

Anahatasana is a beautiful heart-opening yoga pose that energizes the whole body. The name is derived from the Sanskrit, anahata, which means heart. Anahatasana improves posture, expands the chest, supports heart and lung function and promotes circulation. Melting heart also promotes the "let go" attitude, develops compassion, promotes harmony, elevates the mood and helps to achieve a sense of inner calm. Anahatasana stimulates the anahata chakra. A balanced anahata chakra promotes one's mind to a higher state where selfless love reigns supreme.


Sadness is related to the water element.  It is seen in our tears.  The moon influences the water element. The descending moon cycle is related to sadness.  The ascending moon cycle is related to Joy and Excitement

Let's go into a metaphorical water as we practice frog pose."Like a frog, this pose invites deep breathing and expansion of the lungs. Purposeful breath work in this asana helps relieve headaches, stress, and mild depressive symptoms.

In addition, focus on the exhale helps remove toxins in the lungs, decrease the heart rate, and release stress induced anxiety.Mandukasana also stimulates the pancreas which improves secretion of insulin. It has been linked to treatment of constipation, diabetes, and digestive disorders as well as improvement in sciatica for some people because the knee and ankle joints are stretched, and the shoulder and abdomen muscles are strengthened.

It reduces belly fat by firing the core and fueling the inner flame. Lastly, it helps reduce menstrual cramps (fun fact: the uterus is the strongest muscle in the body)."

There is a practice called Karuna Sadhana.  Mastering  Karuna means changing sadness to compassion.  Most people are so self-absorbed the do not understand that others problems are the same as their own.

The butterfly is the symbol of transformation as it was once a caterpillar that inched and crawled and now has turned into a butterfly that has wings.


Healing Sound of Transformation of Sadness into Courage is:

Close your eyes and put your hands on your rib cage.  Inhale slowly through your nose. Notice in you feel any sadnes, depression, constriction or other physical imbalances in your lungs.  If you do ask them if they have a message dor you.

1. Become aware of your lungs. Take a deep breath and, letting your eyes follow, raise the arms up in front of you. When the hands are at eye level, begin to rotate the palms and bring them up above the head. Keep the elbows rounded. You should feel a stretch that extends from the heels of the palms, along the forearms, over the elbows, along the upper arms and into the shoulders. The lungs and chest will feel open and breathing will be easier. Draw the corners of the mouth back, exhale, making the sound "Ssssssss", sub-vocally, slowly and evenly in one breath.

2. As you exhale, empty all feelings of sadness, sorrow and grief from your lungs.

3. When you have exhaled completely (without straining), rotate the palms down, close the eyes, and breathe in to the lungs to strengthen them. If you are color oriented, imagine a pure white light and quality of righteousness entering into your lungs. Float the arms down by gently lowering the shoulders. Slowly lower them to your lap so that they rest there, palms up. 

4. Close the eyes, breathe normally, smile down to the lungs, be aware of the lungs, and imagine that you are still making the sound. Pay attention to any sensations you may feel. Try to feel the exchange of cool, fresh energy replacing hot, dark waste energy.

5. Repeat the sequence 3 to 6 times. 


Traditional texts say that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens Kundalini. It also Strengthens the spine, Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
Firms the buttocks, Stimulates abdominal organs and Helps relieve stress
Traditional times of great sadness can be adolescence and middle age.  Also we can have a mid-life crisis.  We can be very sad after a death of a loved one. Sadness is a natural response to loss.


Concentrating on Love, Joy and Humur are powerful ways to release and remove sadness

SWAN - Sitting Swan - Sleeping Swan and Swan Twist

The deity of sadness is Varuna the lord of the water. He is the keeper of the laws of dharma and his palace is a Submerged Mountain.

Here’s the Varuna Gayatri:

Aum Jalbimbaye Vvidmahe
Nila Purushaye Dhimahi
Tanno Varunah Prachodayat


Om, Let us meditate on the reflection of water
O person of ocean blue, give me higher intellect
And let the God of water illuminate my mind


Painful emotions tell us what's our of balance.  

Benefits of Fish Pose. Fish Pose stretches the front of the body, particularly the throat, chest, abdomen, hip flexors, and intercostals (the muscles between your ribs). It strengthens the upper back muscles and the back of the neck, which improves spinal flexibility and posture.Stimulates the anahata chakra (heart psychic center). Brings more prana to the neck and shoulders
Mental Benefits are to Helps to regulate emotions and stress


Lungs allow oxygen to function.  Large Intenstines receive waste and food materials from stomache and small intestines.
Supta Baddha Konasana opens the whole front of the body: pelvis, belly, chest, and throat. It is especially beneficial for the pelvic organs. In this pose, the legs are supported. The inner groins can soften and the lower belly and pelvic area can soften. This pose calms the nervous system.


Too much sadness can lead to things like colon cancer, colds flu, skin problems, asthma, ephysema, lung cancer

Helps alleviate stress and mild depression.
Calms the brain and central nervous system.
Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands, and abdominal organs.
Improves digestion.


Fall is the Season of the Lung. Fall fruits are wonderful to eat for sadness relieve as well as green leafy vegetables. The element of sadness is metal.

SAVASANA with Yoga Nidra

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