Yielding to the Season
By Kristine Kaoverii Weber | December 11, 2021
I like to sit outside in the morning and meditate. Our house faces east, and we have a little front porch. But because we live in the mountains, I don’t see the sunrise from the horizon – it takes a little longer (which is perfect for me cuz I’m not exactly a wake-before-dawn kinda person anyway).
Earlier this year, in June, when we first moved in, I could see the sun rising to my left – if you can imagine an analog clock face (those curious relics from the past 😉), it was at about 10 o’clock. As the season moved through summer and into late fall where we are now, the sun slowly journeyed south. These days it rises to my right, at about 2 o’clock.
(not from my house, but close by)
The waning light feels like a direct call from the season to act accordingly – less busy-ness, more rest, less activity, more reflection.
The season nudges us to yield.
The extraordinary teacher, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, defined five developmental movements: Yielding, Pushing, Reaching, Grasping, and Pulling. The first movement all babies have to learn is to yield, to let go, to allow another to hold you and care for you. In fact, you can’t learn to push (physically and psychologically) until you’ve learned to yield.
Developmental movements are interesting to revisit in yoga practice. Where do I yield? – śavāsana and restorative poses are obvious, but there are many other opportunities like Child’s, forward bends and twist, and in coming out of back bends and laterals. And of course, with every exhale.
And then where do I push, reach, grasp, and pull in my yoga practice? There are plenty of places these actions can happen too (I explore these in greater depth in class #6 of my online teacher training BTW).
(with my embodiment guru)
When we revisit developmental movements in asana practice, we have a chance to rewire some of our neuropatterning from childhood. What if you weren’t held enough? Or what if you were not allowed to push (physically or psychologically), or to reach for something, or to grasp something, or to pull it toward you (again physically or psychologically)?
When you explore developmental movements, you have a chance to feel the emotions associated with them, to observe how your body responds, and to allow this witnessing information to inform and remind you of who you are, where you want to go in life, and what you want to do.
Yoga practice provides an opportunity to explore a sense of identity.
Mostly, our sense of self, and our actions, default to previously patterned intrinsic (below the level of consciousness), psycho-social habits. These habits account for behavior that then initiates and sustains most of the problems in the world. For example, just watch politicians move (or mostly, not move) sometime, they tend to be quite a disembodied group in general, and they often have aggressive and/or defensive postures and movement patterns. Nefarious or nasty behavior is often the literal acting out of unmet, largely unconscious, developmental needs.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
If the first thing we learn is how to yield. Learning to yield also means learning how to be in loving relationship – with others, with ourselves, with our higher self, and with all that is. Every year, the season affords an opportunity to revisit, relearn, and re-embody yielding. The holidays are meant to submerge us down into that reality – at least that’s their esoteric potential.
Maybe I don’t have to decorate my house perfectly. Maybe I don’t have to spend the weekend at the mall. Maybe I don’t have to bake dozens of cookies. Maybe I don’t have to go to every event.
Maybe I can find some space and time to yield to the season.
Maybe I can sink into the quietness of the world right now. Maybe I can sit in the afternoon sun with my cat for a few minutes each day and find stillness. Maybe I can enjoy a slightly more restorative yoga practice. Maybe I can allow myself to heed the season’s call to rest and reflect and think about the deeper meaning of life.
One of my favorite poses for yielding is Supta Baddhakoṇāsana, or Reclining Bound Angle. It’s a simple and almost immediately effective way to practice yielding.
Place a block under a bolster (about 1/3 of the way from the top), and accordion fold a blanket so that it’s very thin (width or length wise depending on how much length you need).
Sit down about one fist width from the edge of the bolster. Place the middle of the blanket over your feet. Tuck the blanket edges under your hips. Then lie back. Place an eye pillow over your eyes and another blanket on top of your whole body if you like. Rest for 5-10 minutes, or longer.
Yield to the earth.
What does engaging in this simple practice whisper to you about yourself and your life? Please leave a comment.
Happy Holidays. Happy Yielding.
I’ll be teaching a workshop on January 15, 2021 called The Neuroscience of Subtle Yoga for Better Sleep – if you’d like more info, please go back to the email that brought you to this blog and click on the link, we’ll send you more info about the workshops as soon as it’s ready.
Please check out my online course, Chakras Beyond the Rainbow: Rethinking New Interpretations, Reclaiming Traditional Wisdom.