In one week I’ll be teaching a Yin/Yang Yoga workshop, a led practice with meditation. I’m hoping it’ll be for you the type of workshop I love to take, where you completely relax, tune out the world and pay attention to yourself, your breath and body and lose all time – a yoga stay-cation!
Most of you are familiar a Yang practice. It is what is mostly practiced in yoga studios and gyms. Yin is a rare bird that has been gaining popularity among those yogis ready to take their practice to an even more introspective level.
I became certified in Yin through a student of Paul Grilley (he popularized this practice), Victor Chng, and I’ve enjoyed Sarah Powers (she took Grilley’s ideas and expanded the practice) when she has visited 8 Limbs over the years. I had a sporadic Yin practice for a few years and sometimes I would substitute it for meditation. But my practice really started after a few injuries.
Don’t get this wrong: Yin in not, I repeat, NOT to be practiced with injuries. But as I healed a knee injury, I realized my knees were not the nimble knees of 20 years ago, and my hips, well lets just say that after a night on a dance floor, I felt like shaking my booty might become a thing of the past. I’m too young to be brittle and I live an active life, it was time for me to begin a regular practice of Yin yoga.
Yin stresses the joints. That sounds crazy, but it’s a actually a good thing. The same way our minds need to be used to create synapses firing in our brains so we can continually learn and remember, our bodies need to be used in a way that it is challenged just enough to keep it responsive to the life we live, like the saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” If we don’t move our joints they can become stiff and immobile. Our bodies need the balance of strengthening both the muscular and skeletal bodies.
Yin works connective tissues, fascia, ligaments and synovial fluids. Yang works muscles. Yin we hold poses for a long time, using our body weight to create space in the joints. Yang poses are held for a shorter time and we use our muscles to pull into alignment bringing our bones together, careful not to ‘dump’ our weight into the joints. I wouldn’t trade one for the other. I like a Yang practice to heat my body and I like the soulful attention of Yin practice.
As I said, after years of yang practice, my body was ready for Yin. Don’t wait like I did – now is the time to create harmony in your body. I’ve found that these balanced practices have given me better appreciation of each other’s counterpart. In Yin I am grateful for my freedom in movement and in Yang I am oh so grateful for the stability necessary to continue a healthy active practice. Come and join me and learn more about these balanced practices, indulge in your essence with yin and flow with grace in yang. We’ll finish with meditation and hopefully float out of the studio feeling balanced and content.
Hope to see you there!
Posted by: Karen Gamble
Join Karen for Yin Yang Practice on Sunday, February 17, 1:00-3:30pm at 8 Limbs Wedgwood. Click here for workshop details and to register.