Yeon Dahn Explained: Melting Your Stress
One of the many exercises found in a Dahn Yoga class is Yeon-Dahn. “Yeon” refers to strengthening a sword’s steel blade by hammering it; “Dahn” means vital energy. Accordingly, like other Dahn Yoga techniques, these simple postures cause life energy to accumulate and circulate more freely in the body. Unlike dynamic exercises such as Brain Wave Vibration, however, Yeon-Dahn postures are meant to be held for extended periods of time.
By holding these postures, practitioners not only increase their physical stamina and core strength, but also enhance their mental focus.
When practicing Yeon-Dahn, it’s best to progress from the easiest to the more challenging postures. It also helps to play pleasant music, and to concentrate on the lower abdomen, where the energy center known as the lower dahn-jon (dan tian/dan tien in Chinese) exists.
Your level of concentration and physical fitness determines which posture and holding period is most appropriate and beneficial. You can hold a posture from one minute to one hour or more. The more you practice Yeon-Dahn, the more your stamina will increase, and the longer you can hold a particular posture. Or you can move on to holding more difficult postures.
The most common beginner’s posture that’s performed in a regular Dahn Yoga class is known as Sleeping Tiger. Sleeping Tiger is a lying posture done on your back with your arms straight up into the air, elbows bent slightly and wrists bent at right angles so that the palms face the ceiling. The legs are also raised with the hip, knee, and ankle joints at 90-degree angles. This posture is one of the most effective for building energy in the lower abdomen, the body’s power center, without requiring as much physical strength as other postures. It is good for fatigue from poor nutritional habits, sleeping problems, or chronic illness. It has the added benefit of providing an internal buffer against stress, and fostering a positive outlook on life.
Yeon-Dahn can improve your physical, emotional, and mental condition relatively quickly. It is a form of meditation that can teach practitioners a lot about themselves, and can foster a sense of accomplishment that empowers them to take on other challenges in their lives. This exercise is an important part of the Dahn Yoga healing toolkit.