Yielding is a word that now repeatedly comes to mind during my yoga, both during self-practice and when I teach. I am sort of checking if I am yielding! I learned about how it can be used in a yoga context at a Donna Farhi workshop about core stability and moving with ease. This is how it was explained to us:

– To Yield: “Actively and consciously give weight in order to receive support.”
(This definition originally comes from yoga teacher Amy Matthews)

Yielding’s two “counterparts” are Collapsing and Propping. From what I understand, when we collapse, we passively give weight, and this is not very helpful to our posture. It leads to our abdominal wall being completely relaxed, so we loose connection to our core. Apparently, the pattern of collapsing is the most dominant movement in the West… And when we prop, we are forcing ourselves upwards – which means there is too much tonus in the body. And too much tonus easily makes our breathing happen mostly in our chest. Not the ideal for a healthy connection to the core either!

Yielding is the middle ground, and this is where there is a connection going on with the core. Our breathing pattern is also better when we stay connected in this way, and when all parts of our body can agree on their relationship to the ground. We can then be stable and at ease at the same time.

So next time you are practicing yoga postures and finding yourself in, for example, downward facing dog or on all fours, why not stay there for a moment and ask yourself if you are yielding. How is your relationship to the ground? “Actively and consciously” give your weight down and notice how the ground supports you. Going down to come up. You may get a feeling of being grounded, yet light at the same time 🙂

And I would like to suggest this as well: Get into the feeling of “yielding” during your time off the mat. In a way, transferring this sense of yielding in your body to how you live your life. On one hand, by not having the attitude of not caring at all, and on the other hand, by not being too uptight (not too stubborn with your thoughts and views). Just finding yourself in the middle – grounded, and living with ease.

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children.