Sometimes it’s a small shift that can make all the difference in your ability to be inspired. My inspiration came via a growing yoga practice called, Yin Yoga.
Yin Yoga is comprised of classical Hatha (fundamental) yoga poses that are held for extended periods, anywhere from 2-5 minutes for each pose. This form of yoga allows the practitioner to move deeper into their practice, to go within physically and mentally, to be more internalized as the body softens, relaxes, and submits to the pose without force or strain.
The influence of gravity is an essential aid in yin yoga. Yin Yoga is slow moving; what it lacks in movement it makes up for in substance. It reminds me of yet another way in which the power of the Feminine Divine is manifesting. Many underestimate the power of Yin energy. In our “just do it culture” yang energy is applauded, while yin energy is mistakenly looked upon as weak. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yin energy is slow, steady, and can move mountains. It’s a gentle, penetrating force that causes food to grow; it births ideas, people, and nations.
As one who has been practicing yoga for over four decades, it’s easy to become bored, complacent, and to be more or less going through the motions, particularly with a home practice. Thank goodness for all the online options available these days.
In my early days of practicing yoga, during the late 1970s, there were only two options for learning yoga, in-person classes, or books on yoga. By the mid-80s there were videotapes. In the late 90s, yoga DVDs became available.
I became increasingly grateful for my at-home practice as yoga became more mainstream. Many yoga classes seemed to have morphed into a competitive sport. Different forms of Power Yoga grew and seemed to have a manic impact on practitioners. I’ve heard from both students and healers about the countless injuries students were having in these classes, which is the opposite of what yoga should offer devotees.
Yoga flow, a style of yoga that requires constant movement, also became very popular. When the GenXers discovered yoga, poses that required legs and feet in the air seemed to be the goal. There’s nothing wrong any of these forms of yoga but, they require a degree of externalization that doesn’t resonate with the needs of my body at this stage of life. I prefer brisk walking, bicycling, etc. for that degree of externalized energy. That’s the wonderful thing about yoga today; there are countless options for anyone to find the brand of yoga that is right for them, their body, and their needs at any given time during their yogic journey.
In many popular yoga studios there is also the need to look good for yourself and others. Students feel compelled to go beyond what is safe for them and their bodies. There is also the need to look fashionable in yoga classes with yoga attired that cost the same as designer fashions — no judgment here on any of these choices, to each her own.
My preference for practicing at home also has its downside. I often practice in my pajamas or my comfy non-designer, loose-fitting clothing. Not fashionable in the least, but my cats could care less about how I look as they join me in my practice. The other downside of having a long time at home practicing is that one can become stagnant, complacent, so I continue to seek out videos that teach different styles of restorative yoga.
Now that I am in the mid-autumn of my earth journey, grounded, restorative, Yin Yoga is right up my alley. I have a feeling that Yin Yoga is not new, but instead, an ancient form of yoga that has returned to counterbalance the extreme versions of yoga that have been popular for some time now. Those forms of yoga probably have most likely led to many practitioners feeling exhausted on some level and yearning for a softer, more internalized practice.
This slow form is just what the doctor ordered, a slower, deeper, quieter, more internal form of yoga. I am very grateful for the return of “Yin” yoga and for my longtime friend yoga buddy Sharon Lopez who shared this latest trend with me. See below links to classes I’ve taken that I thoroughly enjoyed and thought that you too might enjoy.