Meditation is a practice that has been used for centuries to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. There are many different forms of meditation, each with its own unique benefits. Engaged yin yoga and metta meditation are two practices that have been shown to have therapeutic benefits. Particularly for individuals struggling with stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. These practices take their effect through calming the nervous system and tending to the heart with kindness phrases.
Engaged Yin and Metta Practice by Samantha Akers
Yin and Metta is a practice that combines yin yoga and loving kindness practice. Yin yoga is a practice that involves holding certain yoga poses for an extended period of time. Sam Akers teaches “Engaged Yin” which is her specific way of offering yin yoga with some engagement around the joints and bones. This creates a blend of being passive and engaged to support the body and nervous system. The focus is on surrendering into the pose and allowing the body to release tension and stress. Markedly, the goal is to do so without passing our edge of safety. Additionally, engaged Yin and Metta involves bringing a mindful awareness to the physical sensations and emotions that arise during the practice. Importantly, this allows one to practice while offering ourselves peace, compassion and care.
Benefits of Engaged Yin Yoga
Research has shown that Yin yoga can have a number of therapeutic benefits. These include lowering stress and anxiety, better mood, and ability to be mindful (Buckley et al., 2018). Firstly, in a study done by Buckley and colleagues (2018), participants who did Yin yoga and meditation experienced a significant lowering in symptoms of anxiety and depression. They also enjoyed an increase in mindfulness and overall well-being.
Benefits of Metta Meditation
Also, Metta meditation, loving-kindness meditation, is a practice that uses silently repeating phrases of kindness and well-wishes towards oneself and others. The purpose of metta meditation is to bring about feelings of love, compassion, and understanding towards oneself and others.
Evidently, metta meditation has been shown to have a number of therapeutic benefits. These include lowering stress and anxiety, improving mood, and more feelings of compassion and connectedness (Kirkwood et al., 2005). Additionally, In a study done by Kirkwood and colleagues (2005), participants who practiced metta meditation experienced a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression. They also enjoyed an increase in feelings of social connectedness and compassion. Sam teaches Metta from the lens of traditional loving kindness. As well as from the lenses of trauma recovery, childhood attachment repair, and nervous system regulation. Practicing loving kindness for concentration can aide in our ability to remain in our windows of tolerance for longer periods of time.
Lastly engaged yin yoga and metta meditation are two practices that have been shown to have therapeutic benefits for individuals struggling with stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. The inclusion of engagement in yin, not just a passive practice, allows students to be in their bodies more skillfully and safel.y For those that are more mobile, it offesr the feeling of a stretch they likely have been dreaming about.
By cultivating mindfulness and feelings of love and compassion, these practices can help individuals to better manage their emotions and improve their overall well-being by offering them greater resilience and attunement.
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Buckley, T., Salzberg, S., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2018). Loving-kindness and compassion meditation: Potential for psychological interventions. Clinical Psychology Review, 61, 51-57.
Kirkwood, G., Melville, C., Rampes, H., Tuffrey, V., & Richardson, J. (2005). Loving-kindness meditation in the treatment of depression: A pilot study. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 2(4), 359-363.