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Feeling the rebound - don’t forget how to relax!

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Part 7 of my take on

Yin Yoga

I love the part of the yin class when you take some time out to "feel the rebound" after a long deep stretch or sequence of poses that are working a target area.

The rebound is a pause in your practice where you just lie back and relax completely to bring your attention on any physical sensations happening inside, allowing yourself to feel pulsing, streaming, tingling. The focus is on the target areas you have been working on in the previous poses and on noticing how that area feels different to how it felt before you started the practice.

The idea of having a few seconds or minutes of rebound within the class is something that I hadn’t really experienced before I started doing Yin. In other more dynamic styles, there is sometimes a rest in childs pose or down dog, for you to refocus on your breathing or cool down. But having a series of mini-savasanas in the middle of a practice is a very different experience. And the funny thing is, once you get used to this style of pausing and interrupting the flow of the class, you begin to miss it even in other styles. I sometimes find myself thinking in the middle of a vinyasa flow class, this would be a good time to just stop and lie out for a few minutes to feel whats going on in my hip, or shoulder after all those sun salutations!

Like savasana, which is usually practised at the end of the class, I find the rebound gives my mind and body a chance to catch up with each other. it helps to make sure I’m not missing out on noticing the benefit of those connective tissue stretches and joint stresses.

But maybe there is even more going on here then just feeling good - because there is a school of thought that muscles can become chronically tight. The body can basically forget how to relax. Thomas Hanna and Hanna Somatic Education says "By learning to regain both awareness, sensation, and motor control of muscles – an educational process that can only be achieved through movement – the brain can remember how to relax and move the muscles properly. ...Sensory Motor Amnesia is the condition of chronically-tight muscles that have learned to stay contracted due to repeated and reflexive response to stress such as accidents, injuries, surgeries, repetitive tasks, and on-going emotional stress. The resulting patterns of muscular contraction that develop result in such common conditions as chronic back pain, neck, shoulder and hip pain, limited mobility, joint pain, poor posture, shallow breathing, and uneven leg length."

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