Welcome back everybody. Today, we're consolidating the second half of my Mind-over-Matter weight loss system into one workout post. This half is the Yin routine, which focuses on meditation and stretching. Don't forget about this half of the strategy. Just doing the heart-pumping Yang workout will only get you so far. You need to exercise your decision making center as much as you exercise your muscles.
Next week, I'll throw in one bonus exercise that you can add to both the Yin and Yang halves of the workout. But you'll have to wait to see what that exercise is. Good luck with the Yin workout!
Candle Meditation: This is the easiest of the self-guided meditations, so you want to begin here. To make things even easier, make sure to check the Fire Breathing and Tip-of-the-Tongue tips that I give down below the first video. If you don't have any candles lying around, you can always download an app on your smartphone, or use a candle meditation Youtube video to help guide you. Remember: make sure you are sitting comfortably, and begin with short sessions. Work your way up to 5, then 10, then 15 minutes.
Iron on the Wall with Fire Breath: Now that you've got that Fire Breathing down, you can utilize it during a gentle stretch. This will relax your entire shoulder girdle, neck, and upper back. You may even find that it helps relieve migraines and other forms of headaches. Remember to visualize the skeleton moving up, and the fascia, muscles, skin, and ligaments moving down. We don't do western style-stretching here! So don't do this for only 30 seconds and think you're done. Go for as long as you can, ideally holding the stretch for 2-3 minutes at a time. Breath deep and loud while you do this stretch, and imagine your soft tissues like ice, melting to water, and then evaporating like steam.
Water Breath: Well, now that you've mastered fire breathing, it is time in the workout for a more challenging task: water breathing. Slow, silent, and steady. That is what you should be thinking while you do water breath. If you can hear your own breathing, even that's too loud! Just like the candle meditation, work your way up to 15 or 20 minutes while doing this meditation in a workout. If you wish to only meditate by itself, not as part of a workout, you can go up to 45 minutes, but then make sure to walk around and stretch your legs for at least 15 minutes before sitting again.
Vitamin H with Water Breath: The same rules apply for this stretch as for the Iron on the Wall Stretch. You may not be as able to visualize the ice melting here, but make sure to keep your toes pointed forward, your legs straight, and tilt your hip bones toward the floor (you can think of it as tilting your butt up to the ceiling too, if that helps). This hip tilt makes sure that you put the maximum amount of stretch on your hamstrings as possible. Breath deep!
Embrace the Tree: This is a standing meditation, and some people may find it a bit tiring in the legs, but that is good. Practice it like you practice the other two meditations, working up to about 20 minutes. With this meditation, don't forget to picture the lower energy center. You can even hold a tai chi ball or something similar two inches below the navel if that helps you visualize.
Cloud Hands: Last but not least, you will put a slow, moving meditation to work for you by doing the cloud hands movement in addition to the lower energy center visualization and water breath. This exercise seems pretty simple on the surface, but when you combine everything we've done in this Yin routine do far, it actually requires a lot of concentration and control to do it correctly. Improve with this exercise in steps: first just do the motion, then incorporate the breathing, then the visualization. This is where your willpower and decision-making center really come into play and get a full workout.
Good luck and Happy Stretching!