Every year they come anew, these magical nights. The Rauhnächte (for an explanation about Rauhnächte click here).
A time to reflect on the past and visualise the new. Not only the runes help, but also Yin Yoga poses.
Yin Yoga is a calm, relaxing and static style of yoga.
The aim of Yin Yoga is to stretch the deeper connective tissue, such as the fascia tissue.
(You can read more about Yin Yoga here. And you can also read more about the Rauhnächte here)
Yin Yoga for the Rauhnächte
I offer you two Yin Yoga asanas for each Rauhnacht. Connected with the runes that are assigned to the respective Rauhnacht.
Runes are ancient Germanic signs. However, they do not only stand for one letter, but all have a deeper, magical meaning.
With this magic you can strengthen your retrospection and your wishes for the coming year during the Rauhnächte.
Working with the Runes & with the Asanas
The Yin Yoga poses combined with the meaning of the runes show you where you come from and where you want to go.
While holding the asanas, reflect on the runes, connect with their meaning and you will feel the magic that lies within you and thus gain new insights.
You might want to write down your thoughts afterwards. Or you can use a template Rauhnacht-Workbook.
FAQ Yin Yoga
Before you start with the asanas, here are the most important rules for Yin Yoga.
⌘ Go into the posture very gently and at your own speed.
⌘ The stretch felt should be about 80% of the possible stretch. As the positions in Yin Yoga are held for a long time, this leaves room for your body to stretch further into the position.
⌘ Feel yourself into the asana. Hold each Yin Yoga pose for about three to five minutes. If you want to stay longer – do it. If you feel a sharp pain, correct the posture by using other props.
⌘ Use as many props as possible. These can be cushions, blankets or yoga blocks, for example. They help to relax in the position and make different poses more accessible.
⌘ If you feel an unpleasant pain despite the use of props, then do not practise the asana. But feel free to try again at another time, because the body feels and practices differently every day.
⌘ Just as you came into the posture, you also leave it again – gently and at your own tempo.
Feel free to browse a little on my website. Under EXERCISES you will find further explanations and exercises on Yin Yoga.
Yin Poses for the Rauhnächte
1st Rauhnacht – 24th to 25th December
The first night of Rauhnacht is about recognising your own roots. Because only when you know where you come from can you discover where you want to go.
The first night of Rauhnächte can help you to identify your basis. That on which you can build. Because every house is only as stable as its foundation.
If you are firmly rooted, you can open up much more easily.
Use the first night to let your ancestors guide and accompany you.
Lie on your stomach with your legs closed. Now place the elbows and forearms on the mat. The elbows are under the shoulders.
Inhaling slowly raise your upper body and press your belly button into the floor.
The rune Othala fits the Sphinx Pose. It is about inherited or inherited wealth. Both material wealth and the qualities and characteristics that you have inherited from your ancestors.
Here you can recognise your roots.
To get into Dangling stand up straight. Ideally, the feet are closed. However, since in Yin Yoga anything goes, you can also open your legs wider. Please keep them at a maximum of shoulder width.
Inhale and stretch your arms far upwards. With the exhalation bend forward from the hips. Then round the back and relax the entire upper body. Feel free to place your hands in the crook of your elbows opposite each other.
Make sure that the knees are not fully extended. However, they should not be bent too intensively either.
Uruz means strength, security, grounding.
Firmly rooted, you can think about your basis, your abilities and talents.
2nd Rauhnacht – 25th to 26th December
The second Rauhnacht offers you to connect with the highest source.
Trapped in everyday life, in worries, in the material, we slip away from what is really important. Use the energy of the second Rauhnacht to reconnect with the universe and your intuition. Let yourself be guided by the runes.
INVERTED LEG POSTURE (CANDLE)
For the shoulder stand supported by the cushion, place a cushion under your lower back in the supine position. Now stretch your legs upwards. If possible stretch them out. Alternatively, you can bend your knees. Or rest your knees on your forehead. See what does you good.
In this Asana, the torch accompanies you, matching the candle. For this is the interpretation of the rune Kenaz. It also gives light. It illuminates everything that seems to lie deep in the shadows.
This light helps you to see what is hidden in the darkness. Here you can think about everything negative in your life.
Get into a sitting position that is comfortable for you. You are welcome to sit on one or more cushions. In Yin Yoga it is recommended to use many cushions and props.
Then put your two hands together in prayer position. And not in front of the body, but behind the back. This is where the name of the pose comes from: Reverse Prayer Pose.
If your hands don’t reach each other – no problem. Then just enjoy the position that feels right for you. Maybe you can feel the energy, the magic, pulsating between your palms.
The meaning of the rune Dagaz is day.
Every day begins and every day ends anew, day after day. Dagaz makes us aware that everything is ephemeral. Except for our soul, the connection to the universe, a part of the universe. It remains forever.
Take this chance and give up everything that no longer serves you. Reconnect with yourself and the universe.
3rd Rauhnacht – 26th to 27th December
In the third night of the Rauhnacht you may surrender to your yearning. Listen to your heart and hear what it has to say to you.
The runes of this night make you aware that you may stand by your longings. That you may strive to find fulfilment in them.
For when your heart beats in true harmony with the universe, all your desires will come true.
For the Dragon Pose, place your hands on the floor in front of you and then bring your left leg back. Put the back of the left foot down and push the hip towards the right heel.
If it is comfortable for you, place your hands on the right knee. Alternatively, place your hands on the outside of your right foot on the floor.
Afterwards, practise to the other side as well.
Tiwaz represents the god of war, Tyr. Tyr is also revered as the guardian of law and order. We can transfer this connection between struggle and law and order to our lives today. Whoever connects himself with the rune Tiwaz fights – within the limits of the law – for his heart’s path.
Think about it here: Are you following the path of your heart? And is this path chosen in such a way that it does not harm others, but helps others?
Place one or more cushions behind you and come into heel seat. From the heel position lean backwards and support yourself with your hands. Come up onto the elbows and slowly move backwards until your back is resting on the cushions. You can stretch your arms open upwards or cross them and rest your head on them.
Then bend your lower legs outwards and bring both heels to your hips.
Ansuz, Ase, God, Amon Amarth. Ansuz is the link to the gods, the communication with them.
Open yourself to deep understanding here. The rune Ansuz transforms chaos into order. That which is to come to you will find you and you will understand it.
4th Rauhnacht – 27th to 28th December
The fourth Rauhnacht is under the sign of development and transformation. It is about a turning point. Also about turning around (one’s own) necessity.
Welcome the transformation. For it helps to let go of the old and outdated and to allow for the new, which will support you on your personal life path.
To enter the Dragonfly Pose, spread your legs as wide as you can from a seated position. Knees and toes point upwards.
Inhaling, lengthen upwards with outstretched arms, exhaling lower your arms and move forward with your hands as far as you can.
Feel free to place a cushion under your belly, chest or forehead. Choose the cushion or sitting position that is most comfortable for you.
As the hail suddenly comes over the land, Hagalaz symbolises abrupt destruction.
But only through passing away can there be newness. The power of Hagalaz takes away what is no longer needed. Not nice at first. But if you look at it in such a way that it makes room for something new, something better, even hail can be a blessing.
Think about this: What sudden changes have there been in my life in the past year? And how did this make room for something new, something better?
From a four-footed position give your left leg as far back as you can. The back of the foot is on the mat.
Slowly rotate the right leg outwards and place it bent in front of the body. The more turned out or the more parallel the right leg is to the front end of the mat, the more difficult the position becomes. Feel free to place a folded blanket or cushion under your hip or thigh.
Inhaling stretch your arms upwards and exhaling lower your arms downwards. Feel free to place a cushion under your chest or put your elbows up and support your forehead with your hands.
Then practise the Sleeping Swan with the other leg.
Turning necessity – that is the meaning of the rune Nauthiz.
When we find ourselves in an emergency situation, a solution often seems miles away. Nauthiz may remind us that we are not alone. Formulate your need and ask for help. Act and react as best you can and you will receive support.
Become aware of your needs. Ask for help and you will be able to see new possibilities.
5th Rauhnacht – 28th to 29th December
In the fifth Rauhnacht you are invited to illuminate your relationships on the outside.
Who do you let into your heart and is it good for you? It doesn’t have to be just a person. It can also be an animal, a country or a music genre.
Feel that all your connections are connected like a spider’s web and that every vibration is perceived.
For the Frog Pose, place a single folded blanket lengthwise at the level of your knees. Sit on your heels and bend your upper body forward. Put your weight on your elbows and push your legs outwards. The thighs should be in line.
Stretch your arms far out in front and rest your chin on the floor. Alternatively, you can place one or more pillows under your belly and/or chest and support your head in your hands if necessary. Just try out which position suits you best.
Gebo – the gift. When giving and receiving are in harmony, the energy balance of all involved is also balanced. Of course, this does not only apply to material gifts. Here it is above all also about love and human togetherness.
Ask yourself: Is my taking and giving in balance? Am I allowed to give more? Or may I allow myself to accept more?
Sit on the mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your left knee, your left shin is now parallel to your hip in front of you. Lift the right leg and place the right shin over the left.
If it feels uncomfortable, put cushions under each knee.
After that, practice with the right shin down as well.
The rune Ehwaz is also about human interaction, relationships and trust in the other person.
Two people don’t always resonate on the same frequency. Ehwaz helps you to recognise who fits into your life.
Feel into yourself and understand who you can trust, which relationships you should deepen and which people belong in your circle.
6th Rauhnacht – 29th to 30th December
Today you are asked to reflect on the areas of your life where change is necessary. Where you should correct your (life) course.
Consider yourself and your life. How have your decisions affected you and your environment so far?
The runes and the Yin Yoga asanas will help you.
To get into the Banana Pose, as this wonderful side stretch is called, lie supine on your mat. The legs are closed. You can stretch your arms upwards or cross them under your head.
Without moving the upper body, now give your legs as far as possible to the right side. If you want to increase the intensity of the stretch, cross your left ankle over your right.
Then practise to the left side.
The flow of life, release, purification – all this is associated with the rune Laguz, which also simply stands for water.
With Laguz, tears are allowed to flow. Because tears also stand for release and purification.
Here you are allowed to simply feel. Feel everything that is otherwise hidden under the surface of the water and let it bubble up. Now you can turn a still body of water into a raging river.
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
For this supported variation of shoulder bridge, place your heels close to your buttocks. Lift your back off the mat and place a block or pillow under your sacrum.
Then stretch your arms far up and your legs long down.
With Pertho you are connected to the Wyrd, to the energy system that connects everything. Even the past, the present and the future.
For me, this is the perfect way to feel the connection between runes and yin yoga. Because, as they say, the fascial network branching out over the whole body is the place where the prana, the chi, or simply the energy, flows.
With Pertho you can become aware of your opportunities. You can also recognise what you really want and what you really need.
7th Rauhnacht – 30th to 31st December
In the seventh night of Rauhnacht you may take care of yourself intensively. Take care of yourself, pamper yourself, nourish yourself. Be the most important person for yourself today. Focus inwards and heal your body and soul.
If you have ever studied sports theory, you know that the real improvement doesn’t happen during training, but in the regeneration phase afterwards.
Take this to heart and allow yourself the rest and love you need.
From the supine position, bring your knees towards you for the Happy Baby. The angle in the squat should be 90 degrees.
Hold your legs in the place that is comfortable for you. On the thighs, the calves or from the inside on the soles of the feet. Gently pull your legs down. The shins should be perpendicular to the floor.
Feel free to put a cushion under your buttocks and/or head.
Berkana wants to remind you that you can only be active if you are also passive. Only when you are well nourished can you develop your full potential. You need time in which you should only take care of yourself.
Realise that you need rest and reflection to tackle new projects. Allow yourself time for yourself so that you can realise all your plans with renewed strength.
Come into a four-footed position. Your knees are under your hips, your wrists under your shoulders. The feet are relaxed.
Now walk forward with your hands for your melting heart. The legs remain in the starting position, so the knees remain above the hips. Your chest may gently bend downwards.
If it doesn’t feel comfortable for you to place your chest on the floor, or you can’t get your chest on the floor, place a cushion under your chest.
You can keep your arms stretched out or bend them in front of you.
The sun has immense healing power. Just as you automatically heal when you follow your soul path. Sowilo helps you with this.
Just as the sun rises every day, you may continue to follow your path every day anew.
Sowilo gives you energy and light to go your way. At the same time you get the strength to face difficult situations warm-heartedly.
8th Rauhnacht – 31th December to 1st January
Today the old year ends. Celebrate the transition by leaving behind everything old that no longer serves you.
Get ready for the first step into the new, into the unknown, into the new year. And remember that you don’t have to go your journey alone.
CAT PULLING ITS TAIL
Lie on your right side. Stretch out your left leg, i.e. the upper leg, long in front of you on the floor. If you are more comfortable, you can also lie on a cushion. Bend your right leg (the one below) and grasp your right foot with your left hand. Now gently pull the knee away from the body.
You can either practise with the upper body lowered or rest your head on the hand of the lower arm. Alternatively, you can support yourself with the elbow of the lower arm.
When practising with the upper body stretched out, make sure that the elbow and shoulder form a line.
Then practise the other side also.
Eihwaz stands for yew. The yew can grow very old. With its ability to continue to exist from new shoots, the yew symbolises the cycle of death and rebirth. It thus tells us that the only permanence is change.
Let go. Reconnect with the earth and open yourself to the sky. This way you can overcome the transition and consciously take the next step.
From the four-footed position, pass the right knee over the left for the lace and sit backwards. Open the lower legs so that your buttocks come to sit on the mat. Feel free to place a cushion under the crossed knees.
Then practise to the other side.
Sinister, damaging power. Unlimited energy, drive.
Thurisaz also symbolises Thor’s hammer. But Thor has always been known as a friend and protector of mankind.
Here you may turn to Thurisaz with confidence. The question is always who is harmed by this unlimited energy, who is harmed by this sinister power.
If you are pure of heart you may be aware that Thurisaz protects you on all your transitions.
9th Rauhnacht – 1st to 2nd January
Check your boundaries today. Is your innermost being well protected?
Only those who feel secure, safe and protected inside can open up to the outside.
Imagine a protective circle that limits you to the outside. You can cross the boundaries at any time. But only allow what supports you on your path to enter your circle.
To enter the Caterpillar, start in a seated position with your feet open to a maximum of hip-width. Stretch out your legs.
Inhaling lengthen upwards with arms outstretched. Exhaling bend forward from the hips and place your hands towards the ankles. Let the hands land where they want to land – on the legs, on the ankles or next to the legs on the floor. Your nose pulls towards your knees, your back may become completely round.
Feel free to give yourself a cushion on your legs to rest your head on.
Isa, the ice. Everything freezes. Standstill. But standstill also means deceleration.
And so Isa gives you the time you need. Time to think everything over, time to look at everything very carefully. Time to come back to yourself.
For the Open Wing Pose, from the prone position stretch your right arm to the side, at a maximum right angle to the body. The palm is on the floor. Then gently put weight on the left hand and roll up.
To increase the stretch, you can bend both knees and place the left foot on the floor next to right foot.
Then open the other half of your body.
Protection and defence are the central aspects of the rune Algiz.
This is where you can think about where you are vulnerable. Where you should perhaps set clearer boundaries. But also where you can open up more.
At the same time, Algiz gives you the protection and the space you need to become clear about all this.
10th Rauhnacht – 2nd to 3rd January
Confidence is the most important thing that you can take with you on every journey. Confidence that everything always happens at the right time. And confidence that everything else you need for your journey is either already inside you or will come to you at the right time.
Practice unconditional confidence today.
In the supine position, place the soles of your feet together for the lying butterfly. Your feet are as close to your pubic bone as is comfortable for you.
Exhaling let your knees fall outwards. Feel free to use cushions under your knees to keep your legs relaxed.
You can place your arms stretched out beside your body, in a T-shape or stretch them out above your head. Choose the position that is most comfortable for you.
The rune of fertility. Ingwaz. Sometimes things need time before they are permitted to be born, but when a complete development has taken place, then everything is allowed to pupate – like a butterfly.
Trust life. Remember that energy follows attention. Just as your attention would follow a passing butterfly. You may trust your intuition unconditionally.
For the Half Saddle, place one or more cushions behind you and come into a heel seat. From the heel seat lean backwards and support yourself with your hands. Come up onto the elbows and slowly move further back until your back is resting on the cushions. You can stretch your arms open upwards or cross them and rest your head on them.
Then bend your lower right leg and bring your right heel to your hip.
Practise to the other side.
Mannaz. Man. The theme here is that everyone has to do something, but not everyone has to do the same thing. Each one of us has certain abilities that may be brought to bear for the good of all. If each of us fulfils his task, we may all be together in harmony.
Recognise the connections here. Where can something be changed? Where do decisions have to be made in order to get to the next level?
11th Rauhnacht – 3rd to 4th January
Wealth and prosperity will come to the one who follows his own path in life. To the one who follows his or her destiny.
The Rauhnächte also help to recognise one’s own path in life.
Connect with your soul today. Think about your destiny. If you have to make decisions, listen to your intuition, because intuition is your navigation system.
EYE OF THE NEEDLE
In the lying supine position, bend both legs for the eye of the needle. Then cross your right leg over your left leg so that your right ankle is on the outside of your left knee. Raise your left leg and clasp your hands behind your thigh.
Gently pull your left leg towards your body and at the same time stretch your right knee.
Afterwards repeat to the other side.
Off we go on the ride, on the journey in the rhythm of life. What is ready to develop now, that will develop. Raidho helps you to discover what wants to be set in motion. What you are now allowed to take responsibility for.
Feel what now wants to be realised. See what it is now time for to pick up speed.
For the Seal, open your legs about shoulder-width apart in the prone position. Your hands are beside your chest. Inhaling slowly come up, pushing your hands into the mat. Keep the pelvis on the floor.
If it feels more comfortable for you, place a cushion under your belly button.
Wealth, abundance and fulfilment. Fehu helps you to come closer to this goal. This does not only mean material wealth, but also spiritual fulfilment.
Be aware of the path you have successfully taken so far. How much patience you have had and how blessed you are. Be grateful. Because through this gratitude, even more wealth will come into your life.
12th Rauhnacht – 4th to 5th January
Gratitude makes you happy. There are so many things you can be grateful for.
Today, consciously pay attention to the small moments that make you happy. And say thank you for them. Say thank you to the person who gave you the moments. It could be another person, your cat or you yourself who gave you the happy moment. Then say thank you to yourself.
Don’t forget to thank the universe, God or whatever you call it. Because gratitude is the energy that gives us all happiness.
Sit on your mat for Half Butterfly with your legs wide open. Now bend your left knee and bring the sole of your foot close to your groin.
Make sure that the knee of the right leg points upwards.
With arms outstretched, inhale and stretch upwards. Exhaling bend forward and walk forward with the hands.
You can also rest your head on a cushion.
Remember the second side.
The pure joy. Harmony, love, the fulfilment of all desires. This is how one could describe Wunjo. It can be a seemingly very small moment of joy, like a sip of coffee in the morning, or a very big moment, like the feeling of having made it to the front row of a metal concert.
But accepting joy also needs to be learned.
Feel inside yourself and remember such moments. Soak up the feeling of pure bliss. Feel the gratitude of having experienced so many such moments and allow yourself to generate more such moments in your life.
For the Deer Pose, start in a sitting position and first place the soles of your feet together.
Raise your left knee and bring your left foot behind you. If possible, move your right foot away from the pelvis.
It is important here that your buttocks remain on the floor.
Practise to the other side.
Everything has its time. Jera gives you the time. The rune that stands for the good (harvest) year. For respecting and observing the natural rhythms.
Listen to your intuition and Jera will tell you what to do next. Gratefully accept its advice.
13th Rauhnacht – 5th to 6th January
All possibilities are open to you!
Everything lies within you. And just as you are inside, so will your outer world be.
If you are at a loss on your journey, then retreat into your innermost being. Ask for advice and you will be shown the right path.
For the Pentagram lie on your back. Your legs are wide open. If this is uncomfortable for you, put your feet up and bring your knees together.
Stretch your arms diagonally above your head. The palms face openly upwards.
The rune without a name. Odin’s rune. Although he has so many names. But that is unimportant.
“As I hung there on the windy tree…myself to myself…”Hávamál, 138
This is about recognising that nothing has been decided yet.
Everything is open. Everything is still in the fog, but the fog will lift. The only thing that is necessary for this is yourself.
Because everything you need lies within you. You just have to patiently look for it and gratefully accept it.
Just as Odin once gave his eye to gain wisdom, it also requires many sacrifices from us.
In the end, however, every sacrifice is not really a sacrifice. For the gifts behind them bring more wealth than we can ever imagine….
Many, many thanks for spending the Rauhnächte with me. I hope the Yin Yoga asanas in combination with the runes helped you to find yourself, your roots and your path.
May wealth and happiness accompany you through the year!
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA