The Zen Zone Blog
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What is Yin? Because I teach a Yin-inspired yoga class every Monday morning at The Zen Zone, I tune in whenever I hear this question asked. It is posed in some yoga books and asked by curious yoga students and teachers. Yet, it’s one that a simple verbal response can’t seem to capture a satisfying answer.
Do you remember asking the question, “What is Yoga?” before mustering up the courage to step on a mat and discover the real gem of yoga was in the experience of the practice? Understanding Yin yoga is not so different. The truth is within the practice. But for all of you who enjoy learning the what, how and why, I’d like to share about my first experience practicing yin yoga.
Six years ago I took my first Yin class. The class had a creative name, one that didn’t reveal the description of the class, but I was in love with yoga (still am) so I went with a curious and open mind. The studio lights were dim, the music serene and the practice completely different from my usual vigorous Vinyasa practice. From the beginning of the class to the end, the energy felt calm, slow and grounding. I wouldn’t describe it as easy, but it was more like an easing into hip-opening yoga postures while settling into breath awareness and inviting a gradual release of tension around what I was feeling in my body. The deeper I connected with my breath, the more relaxed I felt. Within any practice of stillness: meditation, restorative, or a few minutes of savasana, the work shifts to easing the thought patterns of the mind. A yin practice offers expanded opportunity to quiet the mind while in the seat of asana (posture). The Yin experience didn’t feel better than Vinyasa, it felt different. I would later learn that we held earth-grounding postures intentionally longer which allowed time to nourish the joints and connective tissues in my body. (Vinyasa yoga serves the muscles while Yin yoga serves the joints.) It felt similar to a massage from the inside out. I walked in, absent of any understanding of yin yoga and pleasantly discovered another transformative way to practice yoga. I recall leaving the class sensing a deep state of relaxation and bliss so palpable that I wished there was a taxi service to drive me home.
My initial Yin experience ignited a spark to learn more about this nurturing practice. Weaving together a thoughtful combination of all my yoga studies, practice and trainings, I strive to create a class that invites balance to our busy lives; restoring calm to the mind and openness to the body. Please join me this Sunday, September 30, 2:45 p.m. at The Zen Zone, as I share more of what I’ve learned. Come prepared to practice an introduction to Yin yoga.
Om Shanti (Peace), Anita Bailey
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