Rush rush rush. Quick quick quick. One task to the next, always so much calling for our attention and always so much demanding our time. When it comes to our work lives, we can rarely give much time to consider and reflect on where we are going next. This trend also transfers across to our personal lives, and therefore our health and fitness, as we spend ever more effort to squeeze more and more into less and less time. Perhaps it’s time then, to slow down a bit and take some time just to reflect, relax and focus on the Yin, and take part in some Yin yoga.
In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another, but need to exist in balance. Quite often, we focus on the Yang in our training. The strength of the muscles and the ability to stretch, contort and balance. Yin yoga focuses on the fascia and the surrounding tissues needed to help relieve tension and pressure; this includes the tension and pressure on the mind, as well as the body.
Our instructor, Elena Consoli, at first described to us the importance and focus of the Yin, and how this yoga will be much more ‘chilled’. There would be no downward facing dog, but there would be a new item to use in yoga which looked very much like a giant cushion. Each movement in Yin yoga was held for a much longer period than would be in regular, ‘Yang’, yoga, sometimes up to 3-4 minutes at a time. We moved through a number of moves, stretching out along the shoulders, legs and back, including periods of time holding the (pretty amazing it must be said!) cushion which both stretched and relaxed body.
Elena spent a lot of time focussing on our breathing as well, keeping the mind at rest and focussed on relaxing, breathing and just enjoying the feeling of being quiet and calm. It was certainly a different session than most I have done at Gymbox, which have focussed on high impact and high intensity. A low intensity session was most welcome, especially after a challenging Monday.
There’s only one major risk with this class; if you relax too much, you may fall asleep! Whether that’s a bad thing or a good thing, is up to you to decide.