A Personal Experience in Dao Yin Stretch
I thoroughly enjoyed taking the Dao Yin Stretch class at OSM during the winter quarter. I honestly had no idea what to expect beyond a class with elements akin to tai chi or yoga that combine body awareness and mindfulness with physical movements in a sequence (or kata).
After attending the Dao Yin class for two months I learned a lot about my body. I have one ankle with a previous strain injury and finding my one-legged balance is a work in progress. I felt like I could take each piece of the sequence to the perfect level of challenge to work on my range of motion and balance without feeling like I am doing something wrong. Every once in a while, when I attend a drop-in yoga class I find that I’m not familiar with the poses and don’t get a lot out of them. Having a consistent weekly Dao Yin class is a very different feeling. I can build on the sequence with each new step and feel confident that I know what is happening.
The most notable experience I had in class happened two weeks in a row. I received upsetting personal news a few hours before class and was struggling to find my calm center in order to stay focused. Doing the kata actually brought my mind to a place where I could be present and in my body, instead of my thoughts floating out in space with a lump of stress in my throat and a nauseous stomach. Having an anxious mind is a common experience that I notice is alleviated after I spend that 45 minutes moving around the different energies as we perform the sequence. After completing the kata I feel clear and open and energized. My breathing is back to a fuller more nourishing tempo and I am calmer.
I have practiced many different modalities of energy work including reiki, and I put a lot of intention into certain positions where I can use my hands to build up energy. My favorite move in the Dao Yin kata is called the “Ball of Chi.” It reminds me of my favorite tai chi move, “Grasp the Peacock’s Tail” from classes I took back in 2011. I really feel a lot of energy moving through my hands doing the Ball of Chi. I close my eyes and bend at the hip, legs spread far apart on the floor, stretching my torso in a large circle holding my invisible but truly amazing ball of chi. After we return to center I absorb the awesome chi ball into my head and carry on with the kata.
I would recommend Dao Yin Stretch class to anyone who wants to get in touch with their body, mind, and spirit. I looked forward to every class and would even take it again when I have the opportunity. It goes by fast but the effects can last for hours!
Article by Stephanie Walen
Spring Term Dao Yin Stretch Classes
PORTLAND – Thursdays 5:30-6:15PM, April 5-May 31, $125
SALEM – Wednesdays 5:15-6PM, April 4-May 30, $125
Call 800-844-3420 to register.