Since then many students, clients and friends are curious-what is this Yin Yoga that has branded a name for itself now?
It is powerful! I have only been practicing it 'officially' for the last year, but when I experienced my first class I had the moment of - "Yes this is it!"
Essentially, Yin yoga is a Daoist branch of yoga rather than the Hindu branch. So it is deeply rooted in Buddhism, but even more interestingly-the Chinese philosophy of the Tao. There are so many overlaps between all of the ancient philosophies, I think that is why I love studying them so much, to have those 'ah ha' moments of connection between one another. Traditional hatha yoga, which is what I was initially trained in through the Sivananda tradition, looks at the energetic benefits of poses through the chakras and nadi's. However, Yin yoga approaches this energy body through the meridians. Again, so many overlaps, but it has been fascinating to deepen my knowledge in this area. It has also been helpful recognising the overlaps with my clients in healing sessions, coming more from the perspective of Chinese Medicine. But seriously, coming out of a Yin class, you feel like you have just given yourself a massage!
Another difference, is hatha yoga really looks at engaging muscles within a pose, to strengthen and lengthen the muscle. Yin, however, approaches poses from a connective tissue, fascia and joint focus, and by holding the poses for a deeper period of time, we are essentially going into these deeper layers and what do we find when we are there? Wow, not only extreme restorative healing physically, but we are then given the space to reflect, feel and heal the energetic component connected to a pose. Whether that be a stagnant emotion, a clearing of an old habit, or blockage within a certain meridian which is then playing out physically. Or it could be a feeling of absolute bliss, joy, expansion. There is not always the 'negative' emotions hidden within the layers of our being. That being said, there were MANY times during the training where I wept within a class, and was not even sure why. There were even times I went into clearing a past life because I allowed myself to surrender so deeply to what healing was on offer within the pose.
Finally, what I really LOVE about Yin, if you're not already convinced that it is the beez neez is it's translation. YIN, meaning the feminine. Our lives can be so yang, externally or even within the mind. So to me it just makes sense to balance that out with a more gentle restorative and healing practice. I have never really been a fan of hardcore exercise. I don't like gyms, I know they have their place, and for some people they work. But I would rather be walking in nature. And even if you do love intense exercise, it is even more important to bring that balance with long gentle stretching. For me, when I exercise I really want ALL of the benefits which is why I love yoga so much. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually you are receiving a lot. I love it that in Yin, I am just propped up comfortably wherever I want to be in a pose, there is no push to reach a certain point, it is just about relaxing deeper and deeper and breathing more and more... until YUMMO-you reach that point of total surrender...
So, thank you Melanie for the training, the healing and journey. I am really excited to be offering this practice in my classes within the Byron Bay Shire.
Love to you all...
I have a retreat coming up for the Winter Solstice in two weeks if you would like to experience this practice in a yummy nurturing environment. Details are below. OR....
Come practice with me Tuesday nights 5.30-7pm @ Yoga Peace Mullumbimby.