The benefits of Yin listening
These last few weeks have been so wonderfully busy that I found myself feeling intensely inspired to write again. As I sit down to word vomit out all of my thoughts, I discovered that today is the social media holiday that I will indulge in gladly; National Esthetician Day! I think we all know by now that this is the only career that I’ve had and that regardless of the years that have gone by, I’m still equally as obsessed with my work as ever. To celebrate this with a quick post on social media would not do justice to the people I want to continuously honor during my time as an esthetician. The clients, my fellow estis, my apprentices, and not to sound like a social media influencers, but my followers have all given me the platform to honor what I love to do every day and without this mix of beautiful people I somehow manifested into my life, who knows where I would be.
Speaking of honoring the craft, I just came back from an incredible holistic esthetician retreat in Northern California earlier this month hosted by the incredible Laurel Schaffer of Laurel Whole Plant Organics. This was the second retreat that she hosted for holistic estheticians but the first I was able to attend. The last one was shortly after I got married and the week before I was meant to leave for a retreat in Mexico for my previous company. So the timing didn’t align and I always felt a little regret and a lot of FOMO for not being able to be in multiple places at once. Fortunately, Laurel and her amazing team were able to create an even bigger event this time at 1440 Multiversity, which is a campus for conscious retreats such as ours nestles into the redwoods of Northern California. I couldn’t miss this opportunity and luckily I was asked to speak on two of the panels and host my own evening ritual for my fellow estis.
To begin to express what I learned and my gratitude for the experience would have to take a whole other blog, or perhaps several more, but there was a beautiful theme that resonated with all of us during our time in the redwoods that I must share and leads us into today’s blog topic. The theme is that of Yin listening. What on earth is Yin listening? Well, my interpretation is that it is allowing the divine feminine to come through in our work as facialists and also as humans. I have spoken about my battle of balancing both my Yin and Yang energies before, so this concept really hit home. I find myself being able to easily apply Yin listening to only one area of my life, and that is how I treat my skin. Everything else from my relationships, my work, how I approach my clients, and other parts of my body image are very much applied in a Yang style. I’m much more “HERE’S HOW I’M GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM” than “Let’s allow the solutions to present themselves” and until I came back from the retreat, I never realized the now obvious disconnect.
My clients constantly tell me they want my skin. It’s the greatest compliment because 10-year-old Hayley would be shocked that anyone even looks at her with any positive regard. 15 and 23 year-old Hayley too. So when I get complimented, I accept the compliment and express that it’s an extension of my self-acceptance and self-love. I really do allow my skin to do all of the work and I just listen. Correction, I Yin listen. So if I can do this for my skin, I am determined to flow into this mindset for my clients. The last several days since I’ve been back, I have naturally been busy catching up on all my emails, clients, and life but the biggest difference is that I am able to share with my clients a new way to learn about their skin. With a concept like Yin listening, it’s very normal to feel frustrated with the concept in the flow of life. Believe it or not, we’re all very Yang (especially in America). We all want to take action, which is beautiful towards shifting bigger issues but some things just have to flow into change. Our skin is definitely an organ within a system that requires a lot of self-love and self-acceptance through Yin listening. To break it down, I’ve written out 3 simples ways to start integrating this into your daily life:
Let go of expectation that your skin is “supposed to” or “should be” a certain way.
Where you are at is exactly where you need to be. Even as painful as it may be if you are in a massive transition or experiencing an imbalance. Our skin works so hard for us that it’s important to allow it space to do the work it’s meant to do. When we disrupt it’s flow by crowding our minds of societal expectations, it’s as though we’re telling our skin that we don’t trust it. Think of the last time you had a cut or an irritation on the skin, eventually it healed right? Maybe it left a scar or it took awhile, but eventually the skin does what it does best and it healed. If you choose to participate in Yin listening towards your skin, this will require you to take care of your whole self and not just focus on the small percentage of your skin that is already working hard. Fixating on the problem only enhances it and crowds your brain space from believing that you’re already in the process of healing. If you allow yourself to focus on the body as a whole by choosing to rest, nurture, and love yourself through habits that elevate you - your skin will do the rest.
There are often breakdowns to breakthrough.
With skin, there are many times in which a healing crisis can make you feel like losing hope in any progress but that’s not always the case. When the skin is in the process of repair, it can sometimes express what seems like a “negative” response. This is just a part of the skin reacting to change based on its primary functions. If you are in a state of low immunity in any way (whether it’s a little stress or you’re dealing with a disease or disorder), the skin will sometimes respond in less than desirable ways but it doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means that your body may be working out a few more kinks and the skin has to overcompensate for you. This just means that you have to release your expectation and tune back into your whole body care again. In these cases, a full body lymphatic system massage will benefit you far more than adding harsh actives to the skin.
Lastly, check in with yourself about what may really be bothering you.
Skin journaling is just one simple way to allow your mind and heart to open up towards your overall healing. There are so many emotions that can come up that we may feel tempted to bury or neglect, but all of it is part of the journey towards discovering your lessons in times of growth. A simple check-in doesn’t always have to be done through journaling as well. It can be shutting off excess portals of communication (bye social media!) and shutting your eyes are you reconnect to your breath. My favorite pathway towards strengthening my ability to Yin listen is through meditation. The solutions unfold from the heart more so than from the mind. The results often vary, but at the very least I feel calmer and am softer towards myself and others.
Whether this concept resonates with you or not, it’s something I’m grateful to be learning as I dive deeper into my practice and my personal journey towards being the best Hayley I can be. The few short weeks that I’ve been applying a less Yang approach to my life has felt more balanced, less hectic, and yet somehow I’m still able to get everything accomplished well. The results of my facials are radical in how the less I do, the better the results have been across the board. And I’m not as exhausted as I usually am.
If you find yourself in a place where you’ve tried it all and are still looking at your skin through the lens of fear, perhaps this practice could help you in the long run. The initial shift may seem small, but overtime, you will see how much more you feel connected to yourself, your natural healing, and how to better flow through the journey of it all.
I’d love to hear your on Yin listening so comment below with your thoughts, questions, and experiences! Thank you again for reading and have a beautiful day. Xo - Hayley