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Back-to-School Yin Yoga

Every year, it happens; I swear it won’t, and yet somehow it does: Back to school rolls around, and what starts as enthusiastic passion reveals itself as overburdening myself with too many activities and an overflowing schedule.

The long days of summer start to slip away and the darkness of—dare I even say it?—winter creeps back, and I am forced to admit that I am feeling the effects of the frantic and overwhelmed pace of back-to-school yet again.

They are the classic signs of yang in excess: too much activity, overthinking, stress, irritability, working too hard. Here are my five reasons why I love yin yoga, to bring all that yang energy back into balance at this crazy-busy time of year.

  1. In yin yoga, we hold each pose for three to five minutes. These long holds allow us to slow down and experience a lace of rest and refuge amidst the rush of back-to-school.
  2. Yin yoga asks us to find that just-right edge and soften into the pose with nonabandoning attention. This kind of approach gives us the space in our ambitious and aggressive lives to be gentle and kind with ourselves.
  3. During those long holds, we get to release the stress that accumulates in our bodies as tension. After a yin-yoga pose and session, we experience a release of the constriction as well as ease and peace in our bodies and minds.
  4. There are so many things to think about during back-to-school, such as registering for courses, picking up supplies and books, and scheduling important meetings. During yin yoga, we can give our minds a break and practice mindfulness, simply focusing on one thing at a time, such as our breath or the sensations in our bodies.
  5. By taking the time for yin yoga, holding those poses for five minutes with gentle attention, we create space to be present for ourselves. Instead of pushing through stress and anxiety, and going over and over our laundry list of to-dos, we soften into our experience and feel all the feels. Taking time to be still with these emotions, without judgment or criticism, is a beautiful act of care, consideration, and love that we can offer to ourselves during this wild and crazy time of year we call back-to-school.


Dr. Melissa West

She helps you restore your energy every Friday on
YouTube with her library of over 400 restorative,
yin, and hatha yoga videos.