Find the Yin within

Let’s talk Yin Yoga! Yin Yoga has fast become a favourite and regular practice of mine.  I just love it’s introspective nature and what it has to teach you beyond the Yoga mat.

I firmly believe that we all need to slow down and find a bit more Yin in our lives.  Nowhere has this been more apparent in my life recently than on the roads!  I currently have a temporary tyre on my car and can’t go above 50 mph.

This has been a great practice for me in cultivating more Yin for sure! Sitting at 50 mph on the motorway, feels like you are crawling along at a snail’s pace and it’s hard to not feel frustrated, but really what’s the rush?

Going that extra 10 or 20 mph, will only get me to where I’m going a few minutes earlier than I usually would.  What’s also been interesting is other driver’s reactions to me going at that speed. You can see the frustration in them also.  Sitting right up my back and glaring at me when they finally get to overtake. Everybody is in such a rush!

Life moves so fast these days.  Anything that slows you down is frustrating – queues, traffic, a slow internet connection or other people!  This type of stress is the new ‘danger’ that triggers our fight or flight response.  There is so much of this type of ‘yang’ in the world, that we are all wound up like a coil, ready to unravel and explode at any minute.  Watch out anybody who is around when this happens! Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty of it too sometimes.

Life is a journey not a race!

Really we all need to slow down and realise that there is no rush!  Life is short enough as it is, without rushing around unconsciously. If we do that we miss out on a huge chunk of it, being up in our heads all the time or wasting time stressing out about something that didn’t go the way we though it ‘should’ have done in our head. Life ‘should’ not go anyway.  Life just is!  In all its glorious and unexpected ups and downs.  We really do have way less control over things than we think we do!

This is where Yin Yoga can really help to slow you down and take a peek inside that ever churning mind.  When I first started Yoga and meditation, I noticed that I just couldn’t stop thinking! This also frustrated me.  Why won’t my mind just stop thinking!  Well the bad news is that it will never stop because that’s its job! The good new is you can, however, take a step back and watch what’s happening up there without judging or getting involved in it.

Thoughts are just thoughts and only have power if you latch onto them and believe the stories they tell you, which is not easy I know and takes practice!  Yin Yoga allows you to step back and observe what’s happening in your body and in your mind.  It also allows you to practice surrendering and letting go into the pose, as the poses are typically held between 3 – 5 minutes or longer. It’s as much a mental practice as it is physical.

You can watch the sensations in your body and then watch as they change the longer you hold the pose.  You can also observe as your mind jumps in and starts to run a dialogue. Maybe some old story or belief you keep running, maybe it tells you that it’s getting uncomfortable and to come out of the pose now or maybe it starts to run lists of things you need to do, or worries about the future.

Once you start to notice and see how your mind works, its power over you lessens and you can relax and surrender into the pose.  As your body relaxes, so too does your mind.  Soon enough letting go and surrendering becomes easier and you are able to just be with any sensations or feelings that come up.

This also transfers over to life when the difficult stuff comes up, you can practice just breathing and letting go of trying to control things so much.  For me it’s also about tapping into your intuition, which only happens when you get quiet.

“Yogas chitta vritti nirodha”  / “Yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind” ~ Yoga Sutra 1.2

Physically, the practice works deep into the joints, ligaments and inter-connective tissue of the body.  It actually generates piezoelectricity in your body through stressing the joints, which helps to stimulate the body’s own healing response.  It keeps your joints, strong, supple and lubricated, which is essential as your body ages.  It truly does complement any other type of exercise that you do.

Yin Yoga really isn’t an easy practice but it’s what we all need to find inner peace.  Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it and possibly even the world (or at least that other driver you courteously let out before you, because what’s the rush, right?)

You can practice Yin Yoga with me on Thursday’s @ 8.15pm and Sundays @ 10.am at The Chakra Hut in Bishopbriggs.

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