Sooooooooooo, i have been away for a couple of weeks, from my regular teaching, ok partly i was away in Croatia putting the final touches to my wedding plans, but i have also just spent the last week in sunny, cheerful Milton Keynes at an amazing studio studying for my 50hr Yin yoga teacher qualification. It was a little bit of a nightmare start to the trip as my car broke down on the way there and i ended up turning up 2 hours late. All the same once i got there i was greeted by some lovely folks in what was clearly an old converted church building of some type.
For those who aren't aware of what Yin yoga (sometimes called taoist yoga) is, it is a type of yoga that came around in the 80's combing long held floor based poses with a taoist view of meridian therapy/acupressure. Along with this a strong mindfulness element has been integrated into it. In the yoga world we call practices such as vinyasa flow, ashtanga, power/rocket etc Yang practices. They are stronger more fluid, quicker active forms of movement whereas Yin yoga is a very deliberately floor based, slow long held practice that gives much more time to meditate and allow yourself space to start working through the physical manifestations of your repetitive, destructive nature, that we all hold.. On the less "hippy" side of the practice it also targets different tissues in the body, rather than trying to stretch the muscles/fascia of the body (which are more superficial) we are aiming to apply a stress...(NOT STRETCH, BUT STRESS.....and no not a stress in a bad, IM REALLY STRESSED type way) to the deeper more connective tissues of the body (the ligaments, join capsules and bones). Yin yoga give us a very deliberate practice allow your selves to listen to our bodies and not push through what feels comfortable, we call this our edge. Because we hold poses upwards from anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes we have to really start to listen to our bodily sensations and just learn to sit and not let our ego push us further than we are ready....the body is pretty amazing at letting you in and go deeper if you just give it a few minutes to do its thing.
Our teacher sarah Lo has been teaching for a fair few years now and is a student of Sarah Powers who is one of the main teachers of Yin world wide. We spent the first 2-3 days feeling a little out of our depth (im pretty sure i can speak for everyone) getting in touch with ourselves emotionally through our physical bodies. Lots of partner work talking through sensation we felt, how we felt interactions with people and ourselves effected us, and talk of mindfullness on a pretty deep level as to how it can be used for emotional issues and not a whole lot of actual physical yoga. there was talk of "I did not sign up for this" "when are we actually going to do some Yin" . well that came on thursday and friday, lots of sitting in long held postures and lots of practice at helping adjust our colleagues into more comfortable versions of what the "book" might say is the "ideal". After wards though it was quite funny how everyone of us actually came away at the end of the week getting much more from those first 3 days then we would ever have though we would.
i was lucky enough to have my birthday while on course too and my word wasnt i spoilt rotten, i had known these girls for 4 days and the love i was shown was amazing. this is one of the best things about doing yoga. The people who do it to are just so full of giving, loving accepting energy. i was given 3 birthday cards, a tiara, an amazng set of leggings and a tealight holder, plus we had cake. it was totally a birthday i wont forget in a long time.
i truly hope that these amazing yogini's will cross my path again as i continue along my journey, im sure we will, its far to small a world to not haha. If you have never taken a Yin class, i cannot recommend it highly enough, especially if you spend to much time rushing around work and home life, not finding time to slow down and just spend some time getting to know and understand your self and how happy you can be just in your own body. il close this blog with a quote from my teachers teacher, Sarah Powers
"I think one of the main benefits is being more at home in our own skin. Whether we’re a large person, or very slight, and through the seasons of our lives- this body is our particular garden to take care of. And we start to have more respect and therefore more embodied dignity in the body. Rather than treating it like an object and comparing it to the ideal that we see in glamour magazines."