Spaciousness and Yin for the Win

If you know me well, you know I have long-struggled with overdoing. (By “long”, I mean half a century or so. I still remember when I was in kindergarten, hesitant to ask a high school student for help using scissors). My lifelong journey is about learning to 1) receive support and 2) relax.

In the spirit of my ongoing quest, this spring I joined a phenomenal gym. I love going so much that it’s become my new happy place. While there, I have discovered the joys and benefits of Yin Yoga classes, which I now attend 3-4x/week.

Yin Yoga, perhaps not surprisingly, is the opposite of Yang Yoga, a distinction that was news to me. In yoga, Yang indicates movement, whereas Yin indicates stillness. Both types encourage focus on the breath. In Yin Yoga, instead of flowing through a series of poses, you make “shapes” with your body and hold them for 3-4 minutes each, to release tension in the fascia. Breathing without otherwise moving, especially in a dark, quiet room with soothing music and a specially trained facilitator, can be quite meditative.

As I attended more regularly, I found myself increasingly aware of longing for spaciousness in my work. For me, spaciousness means time in my workday where my brain is not pre-assigned to a specific activity such as “meet with so-and-so” or “write a blog post”. It’s been my dream to stick to a spacious work schedule, rather than fill it all up with seemingly time-sensitive activities. Eventually, it dawned on me that I couldn’t hold the spaciousness because I didn’t believe I deserved it. 🤦‍♀️

Then during one fateful (fated?) Yin Yoga class in June, as I focused on my breath and held my shapes for minutes at a time, several reasons why I need spaciousness started surfacing in my brain. One by one, thoughts rose up that helped me connect the dots of why I needed what I wanted.

After class, I sat by the pool and jotted my realizations onto my laptop. When I concentrated on the words on my screen, I was able to identify a natural order to them. Once I recognized that, a sort-of poem (see above) seemed to have emerged. I felt a rush of energy flow through my spirit. Organized, these ideas felt revolutionary to me. I didn’t crave spaciousness because I’m selfish or lazy; I craved it because it’s a necessity for me to fulfill my purpose as a Crisis Navigation Partner®. Without adding spaciousness I would not be able to stay physically, mentally, and emotionally strong enough to continue serving others long-term. I need spaciousness to live my purpose.

That very afternoon I designed a new schedule for myself and rearranged my commitments to make it work. Since then, I have been alternating time blocks of work with time blocks of spaciousness. I have been reveling in the unassigned time! This summer I have experienced more joy, more creativity, and more rest than I have in ages.

What do you need to continue serving in your work and personal life? Please share!

9 Comments

  1. Paula G

    I love your spaciousness mantra. I also have struggled with creating spaciousness and as you know, I have been working on adding more “commas” to my day just for that.

    Truthfully we were never meant to be going full-speed all the time. I know for my creative work – whether writing, business, solving a problem… the ahas always come in the space, in the gaps, not in the “doing”

    • Debra Woog

      So true, Paula, that the big ahas come in the space.

  2. Debra Woog

    A few people have asked me where my “happy place” gym is. I joined Life Time Fitness in early March and rotate among the Medford, Burlington, and Peabody locations. The yin yoga class is called Surrender or Surrender-to-Be. My favorite teachers are Elicia Wooster and Calvin Braxton. Highly recommend!

  3. Julia

    I love how finding space in your body lead to finding space in your mind, that then lead to finding space in your actual real-life day! Wow. Thank you for these blog posts. They always inspire me.

    • Debra Woog

      Oh my goodness Julia, that’s brilliant. I didn’t recognize how it started with finding space in my body. Thank you!

  4. Amy

    This is wonderful, Debra!

    • Debra Woog

      Thanks Amelah!

  5. Maria T Yunis

    I absolutely love this post, Debra! So many points to comment on. I think we all need to remember that often times it is eliminating things from our “spaces” that gives us more space in all the ways you share in your mantra at the top.

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder and the inspiration to check out Yin Yoga!

    • Debra A. Woog

      Thanks for reading, Maria! You’re so right. Spaces can include physical, energetic, metaphorical, and Universal. Yesterday, in the super hot weather, I received an email invitation from a local business to come get free ice cream from a truck outside their front door. Inspired, I left my office to go for the treat. The ice cream gave me unexpected joy, right in the middle of a workday! And I met the business owners, who invited me to come to a team meeting to discuss how we can collaborate in the future. Had I received that same invitation last summer, I would have overlooked it because my calendar would have been packed to the gills. Thanks to my scheduled spaciousness, I had room for inspiration that might also lead to more business.