The benefit of the Dragonfly Pose in yin yoga, is to open your groins, your hips and your hamstrings for better joint mobility. You can also stimulate your Liver, Spleen, Kidney and Urinary Bladder meridians, when you do this pose.
"Yin practice slowly changes your nervous system and it gradually becomes easy for you to sit in meditation... Yin yoga is a practice of being calm but alert to what is going on inside, so it is a nice transition from physical movement to meditative stillness. Yin yoga is a kind of a half-way house." ~ Paul Grilley
There are many benefits to the practice of Yin Yoga. If you are unfamiliar with how the yin practice differs from a "yang" practice, please see my page on this subject by clicking here.
The poses are often similar, if not the same, but the difference in the method in which you practice yin vs. yang is dramatic. I hope you delve into this yin style practice and learn to love it as much as I do!
I have been teaching Yin Yoga now, for some time, ever since I was introduced to it at my local studio. I fell in love with this mindfulness practice, immediately! This was the practice I was doing in "secret" in my own home practice. I just never knew it had a name! I hope that you delight in the methodology of these poses, as much as I do.
Not everyone emphasizes the yin yoga practice according to the Chinese Medicine theory of energy meridians and the method of self-acupressure for increasing your "chi" or vital force energy. As far as I know, only my Yin Yoga teacher, Sarah Powers does this.
The beauty of Yin Yoga is that during your stillness, while you hold the pose for 3-10 minutes, you can practice many internal methods, such as your ujjayi or "ocean" breathing, contemplate the benefits of tugging on your meridians, focus your attention on the joints/tendons/ligaments that are being opened as you breathe your energy into them, or just stay present to the stillness of the meditative moment, such as Paul Grilley suggests in the above quote.
This pose is sometimes also called the Straddle Pose in Yin Yoga. To set up the pose, come to a wide-legged seated position, just as in the yang pose called Upavista Konasana, or the Seated Angle Pose. When you reach a comfortable straddle width, assess your body. If you have sciatica, or lower back or knee pain, you may wish to place padding or a cushion under your knees.
Begin to shift forward on your hips and start bending toward the ground. Any pain, other than the stretching of the inner groins, may not be felt until you start folding forward. If this is true for you, try the padding under the knees now. It is much easier to bend at the hip, if your knees are bent.
Make sure that your body feels safe, and you are not pushing through any pain, especially in your knees!
Come only to a mild edge initially, or just a slight feeling of discomfort. Because this pose will be held for a long period of time, give yourself the time to adjust to the potential opening by not going too far, too fast all at once.
The joints will benefit more by staying in a mild edge for a longer period of time, than a strong edge for a brief period of time. This is an important principle in the practice of yin yoga.
If, in order to stay relaxed in this pose, you wish to drape your upper body over a bolster or pillow, this is very practical and will benefit you, especially if you are unfamiliar with holding an edge for a long period of time.
Beginners will find this pose to be very edgy and frustrating at first, because they think the goal is to get as far as possible folding forward! Nothing could be farther from the truth. The intent of the yin practice is to be non-judgmental of your body, wherever it lands, and to notice the subtle shifting that occurs when one stays with mild levels of discomfort for long periods of time.
If you have patience and resist the urge to move and squirm, you will open yourself to the possibilities of this Dragonfly Pose. Holding discomfort and watching it slowly shift and lessen is a mindfulness practice, that when learned in the body and it subtle energy system, can be applied to the rigors of life.
If you find this pose to be too intense for you, the Half Dragonfly is a very viable and therapeutic alternative to the Full Dragonfly.
As you hold the pose, and fully embody your experience of the pose, you may notice that your joints gently begin to open as the weight of your upper body gently pulls it down farther. If this happens, play with the changing edge, and go lower until a stronger sensation is once again achieved.
Learning how far to go, that makes the pose therapeutic, but not too far to make the pose stressful or even dangerous, is the skill of the Yin Yoga practice.
If this pose is too edgy for you, the more accessible Half Dragonfly is a wonderful alternative and just as therapeutic!
Because the inside of the legs are being stretched and tugged upon, many meridians are stimulated that run through the inside of the leg. This includes the Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Liver and Spleen meridians.
Because all the organ systems in Chinese Meridian theory are keepers of physcial and related emotional health, this pose is very therapeutic. The subject of the meridians is very vast, and I am in no way an expert on the subject.
As already stated, there are many internal methods of focus you can apply to your Yin Yoga practice to deepen it. Using a breathing and meditative practice of your choice while you hold the Dragonfly Pose is very effective in enhancing its benefits. When you remember to breathe deeply and send your energy of the breath to the area that is needing your attention, the therapeutic value of the pose increases.
May your soul journey be enhanced by the practice of the Dragonfly Pose, to bring awareness to yourself and your own issues in your life! May you invite this beautiful entity that we call "the body" to be part of your soul's experience to bring you total health, of your body, mind and soul!
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