Yin has become one of my favourite things in life. I used to go from a fast pace of life to a fast paced yoga class that was really fiery and challenging. But really, it didn’t give me the space I so desperately needed to find a sense of calm, balance and healing, especially in busy London. Nowadays, even in my yang practices I am finding a much slower grace about the way I move, feel and inquire and it so much more nurturing
So what is Yin?
Yin is a journey that begins from a physical perspective, taking us through the emotional body and deep into the thinking layer. Marrying both meditation with asana, this practise enhances the natural range of movement in the joints by passively lengthening & releasing the connective tissues that wrap around bones, joints and muscles. Yin is a journey of both physical and inner transformation through being fully present & aware within each posture. Yin and Yang go together as opposites and can help you to think about the opposing forces and feelings when you practice an asana. Just like the sun and the moon, winter and summer, cold and heat, fire and rain, so to do our bodies need yin and yang forces in order to be truly balanced.
So when we are practising a yoga pose such as Warrior 1, the embodiment of strength and courage, we can think about bringing a softness to the Warrior's fierceness. Bringing a softness to our face demonstrates we can be strong, yet kind and vulnerable at the same time. Dropping our shoulders down instead of hugging them right up to our ears makes the pose feel much softer, yet we are still focused and steady. Flowing our arms out to the sides with the grace of a ballerina, rather than stretching them so far that we feel ourselves tense up from straining, brings the softness of yin to the pose that we so need to balance the tension and stress in our lives.
Try a yin yoga class with myself, if you regularly do intense exercise, and see if it brings a softness to your body and mind!