Relax…. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  Being relaxed when you are comfortably stretched out on your mat in a delicious savasana is one thing.   But finding a way to be relaxed when you are not in the safe, soothing atmosphere of your yoga practice, when you are actually physically uncomfortable – that’s another thing entirely!

I found this out recently when I went to the dentist. I have nothing against dentists, I’m glad we have them. But I still don’t like going!  Recently I was there for a regular cleaning.  You know the routine, they dig around and scrape and probe.  Granted, much easier than a root canal, but still not a comfortable or fun event.

As I was trying not to cringe at some of the digging around, I realized that this was the perfect time to bring up some of my yin training:

notice the sensations without judgment or value
breathe slowly and deeply into the area, and
relax all your muscles, trusting and knowing that everything will shift and change.

It took me a few moments to get into the flow of it, but I got into that place of slow steady breathing and relaxing all my muscles, from the top of my head (and my mouth and face!) all the way down to my toes.

And as I was quietly settling into my yin zone, my dentist said, “Wow, you are so relaxed.  Nice job.”  I didn’t feel like I did anything visible to anyone else.  But he sure noticed a difference.  I wonder if he has ever had anyone relaxed in his chair…?  So, to paraphrase a saying, I think it was as good for him as it was for me.

Even better, he gave me the cleaning for free – I wonder if the yin had anything to do with it?

by Patty Whitelaw Drogue

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