Balance: The Key to a Healthy Practice, Body and Mind
“Watch out and slow down, before you burn out.” Family and friends have often told me. I have been living a fast paced lifestyle for as long as I can remember: from one activity to another; from one location to another; watching my mind race about; having and enjoying fast paced yoga classes; and hardly ever being at home. The risk for burning out the candle at both ends was rather high; until I injured myself early last year. Having a hand injury meant that I had to slow down and modify, in all areas of my life. I practiced less yoga, I found myself at home more, and suddenly I was stuck with my mind. It had been well over a year since I had practiced Meditation regularly; and that’s where I started; but at the beginning of this current year I found my way to Yin Yoga.
Yin Yoga involves sequences that go deep into the body’s connective tissues. The poses, in Yin classes, are often held for much longer than poses in hatha or power sequences. The goal of Yin yoga is to access deeper connective tissues and meridians, as well as connecting with a more meditative state. Yin yoga is excellent for reducing stress and providing restoration for the mind and body. There are so many benefits to yoga, and each style will offer you something different.
Naturally, many of you will be curious as to why I am writing about Yin Yoga; especially since I teach a lot of flowing classes like: power, intermediate, hatha and Vinyasa yoga. Well, if the opening paragraph didn’t give it away, you’re about to find out why. I’ve tried and experienced yin, restorative, and kundalini yoga a handful of times in the past five or so years; especially on my way to finding Vinyasa and power yoga. Yoga, to me, is about trying something new; which is why I’ve tried a number of different styles.
My first experience of yin yoga was not the greatest; I had a hard time holding the poses, and if it wasn’t that, it was the chatter in my mind that kept me from achieving the meditative state. At that time yin yoga felt to slow for me; but looking back on it now I realize that it was more about me and my state of mind at that time. My mind, and thus my life were busy at that time; which made it difficult to be still and quiet for long periods of time. After a few years of Vinyasa yoga and meditating daily, I found myself back in a yin class. I grew up with the rule that you had to try something more than once before you can decide whether you like it or not; and it’s become a regular practice for me. I found this Yin class went better than the last one, but towards the end my busy mind returned. Instead of casting yin yoga off, I decided that it just wasn’t time to decide if I liked it or not. After completing my Yoga Teacher Training in Power yoga, I knew my mind still wasn’t settled enough to try yin; so, I spent the better part of two years teaching and practicing active flows. It wasn’t long before Rhonda and Emily had me on my mat trying Yin yoga again. My only difficulty with staying focused this time was the cold room, and the fact that I had not dressed warm enough.
As a result of trying it again and again; I have experienced the benefits of yin yoga. I’ve spent the past few weeks practicing yin yoga on my own, as I have felt the need to slow down. The regular and consistent practice of yin yoga has been beneficial for my mind and body. I’m experiencing way less stress and letting go of more and more things that aren’t necessary for my journey. My body has appreciated the time to slow down and rest as well. I have come to learn the benefits of a healthy and balanced practice; I have done a lot of yang practices (power, hatha, Vinyasa) and I need to balance it out with the yin. You can’t live life, and yoga, at 1000 mph constantly; sometimes you need to honor yourself and your practice by slowing it way down.