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Acupressure Yoga: Healing Touch
What is acupressure?
Acupressure treatment is a healing method that is more than 5000 years old and has its origins in Asia. Acupressure stimulates the same points as acupuncture, but instead of needles, it uses gentle but firm pressure from the hands to release tension, improve circulation, and activate the body's ability to heal itself. In both ancient China and ancient India, it was believed that all physical and mental health problems stemmed from a disruption in the flow of energy in the energy channels. In Chinese it is qi, and from yoga we know it as prana, the life energy that flows freely and unhindered through the body. If this flow of energy is disturbed, blockages and problems occur.
In acupressure yoga, the acupressure points are held and stimulated during yoga asanas, pranayama, or meditation. The effectiveness of the yoga exercises is thus strengthened and the body system is relieved. Working on acupressure points is particularly suitable for balancing Yin Yoga units.
What is an acupressure point?
The 365 acupressure points are located on the so-called meridians, the energy channels of our body. These energy channels are also called nadis in yoga. Through these energy channels flows the vital energy known as prana or chi, which energizes all organs and bodily systems. Acupressure points are areas of the body on the meridians where blockages in the flow of energy can increase.
Acupressure points can be localized in prominent parts of the body, ie primarily on bones and muscles. Acupressure points located under muscles, ligaments, or tendons can feel like tight cords or knots.
Each acupressure point has a physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual level. Unhealthy lifestyle habits, excessive stress, and physical or mental injuries and trauma can impair the natural flow of energy. We react with emotions to our often moving and restless world of thoughts, the challenging influences of the environment and all possible situations that life has in store for us. We often do not want to feel particularly unpleasant feelings such as anger, sadness, disappointment, doubts, etc. and suppress them or only process them on the surface. When feelings, especially intense feelings or long-lasting emotional states, are suppressed, the body stores them. Due to tension in the nervous system, in the fascia and muscles, they are held as pent-up life energy at acupressure points. If we don't release this inner tension over a longer period of time and don't give the emotional waves room to flow freely, we become weak and sickly. This can manifest itself in many different physical complaints (painful tension, headaches and migraines, gastrointestinal complaints, etc.) and in mental disorders.
How are acupressure points treated?
The acupressure points in yoga are a kind of self-healing, ie you can treat the acupressure points in the yoga asanas completely independently with your hands. Not only do you put your hands carefully on the points, but your mental attention is also focused on this spot. You will consciously feel how much pressure you can put on the acupressure points so that you still remain relaxed. A slight relaxation pain is already sufficient to achieve a positive effect and is only so pronounced that the body can still relax.
Through conscious breathing you can connect to the acupressure points. Deeper and calmer breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for resting and regenerating the organism. Proper breathing while holding the acupressure points is therefore very important. To reach the deep layers of the acupressure point, the point should be held for at least 2 minutes.
You do this as follows:
- First, the acupressure point is held very gently. The gentle holding gives the body a first impulse.
- If you notice that the point is slowly relaxing, then you can deepen the pressure a little. If the gentle holding is already causing pain, then stay at that level until the pain can resolve. If you now go deeper, you reach the energetic level. You stay until your nervous system can relax completely.
- Deeper is the emotional level in which the suppressed feelings can be made to flow. If the tensions are released here, then it is possible that certain emotions will arise in you, which you can give space to.
- Now you will be able to recognize your mental beliefs and conditioning. Be gentle with yourself and stay in loving attention.
- When these many levels are in a free flow again, you will find more connection to yourself and your core.
"We can begin to heal our lives at the deepest level when we begin to value our body and heed its messages, rather than feeling like its victim...
When we mask our symptoms with external cures, it keeps us from healing the areas of our life that need our attention and change" - Dr. Christiane Northrup
Working with the acupressure points will not immediately heal all internal issues and sometimes it requires multiple treatments. Trust the inner wisdom of your body and feel your way at your own pace.
We have prepared a short acupressure yoga sequence for you , which serves both emotional harmonization and relief for the neck and shoulders. You can integrate this short sequence wonderfully into your yoga practice and consciously give yourself healing touches.
The acupressure points: TW 16 (windows of heaven), GB 20 (gates of consciousness) and GV 20 (abode of wind) are successively held with the thumbs in the back relaxation position.
You go into the back relaxation position and clasp your hands behind your neck. Let your elbows fall outwards in a relaxed manner (here you are welcome to support your elbows with a pillow)
For the first acupressure point Heaven's Window (TW 16) , place your thumbs on the back of your neck at the hairline and allow the weight of your head to rest on your thumbs. You connect with deep abdominal breathing and relax more and more into these areas with each exhalation. You hold the acupressure point for about 1-2 minutes and then gently release it. Now you put your arms next to your body and give yourself a moment to feel. Repeat the same with the other two acupressure points.
You can find the Gates of Consciousness (GB 20) on the back of your neck in a depression under the back of your head. If you tilt your head back, a crease forms, at the level of this crease you will find the Gates of Wind. They are slightly closer to the cervical spine than the windows of heaven.
You will find the dwelling place of the wind (GV16) in the depression at the back of the head at the cervical spine. This is just a single acupressure point. You work your way from the outside (windows of heaven) to the inside (gates of consciousness, then gate of the wind).
Variation: If you want to treat the acupressure points in combination with a stretch, you can also practice the crocodile turn in the back relaxation position.
Supported shoulderstand and SI 14 approval point. Follow the same principle as mentioned above. You are also welcome to support your legs on a wall to find even more relaxation here. Hold an agreement point at a time and visualize the weight lifting off your shoulders. You give up everything that is too heavy for you. You let go of everything you still carry around with you.
Butterfly Fish and CV 17 (the Lake of Tranquility)
Feel free to use some meditation cushions, yoga bolsters or pillows for this exercise so that you can relax and let go of your body. Support the head, elbows and knees with the aids of choice. The Lake of Tranquility is located in the middle of the breastbone and is an important point for emotional harmonization. It relieves nervousness, sadness and has a calming effect on the mind. In this exercise, deepen your exhalation into the lake of calm. Remain in this position for at least 2 minutes and then give yourself time to track down.
Third Eye Point Meditation
You probably already know the third eye point from yoga. It is therefore not surprising that the point on the forehead between the eyebrows also has its own effect in acupressure. The third eye point releases mental tension and helps focus the mind. Feel free to start or end your yoga routine with this exercise. To do this, place your hands in prayer position and rest your forehead on your middle and index fingers. Calmly let the weight of the head fall onto your fingers. Keep breathing in a concentrated and flowing manner and give yourself a moment of contemplation.
We wish you many relaxing moments trying it out!