Friday night I was privileged enough to teach two yin yoga classes at The Secret Space, Hertford. In both classes we worked on the Heart/ Small Intestine. When these organs are in balance we are full of life and energy; we interact and communicate well with people; our creativity flows freely. According to Chinese Medicine, the Heart is the supreme manager which oversees total mind-body. It is said that our Heart's radiance spreads throughout our body to every cell. Friday night's classes were therefore designed to allow the students to feel revitalised and ready for summer!
How can a yoga class have such a profound effect on you and your body I hear you ask? Read on to find out exactly what yin yoga is all about, the healing benefits and why (without sounding dramatic) yin yoga has changed my life for the better!
So what is yin yoga all about?
"Yin yoga is not new. It is a return and inclusion to a more traditional way-the missing side of the yoga coin" This is a fantastic quote by my wonderful yin teacher Melanie McLaughlin.
Yin yoga allows us to be still. We seem to be leading busier lives than ever; when do we allow ourselves time to stop "doing" and "simply be"? In yin yoga we hold poses for a few minutes and work directly on the connective tissue and fascial trains in the body. This connective tissue and fascia (or fascial trains) is a sponge-like material extending through the entire body. This sponge-like material determines our overall shape and movement. In these fascial trains lie our muscle meridians according to Chinese Medicine. After each pose we rest for a minute to allow the chi (energy or life force) to flow freely through these meridian lines.
Why is yin yoga so good for you?
Only in yin yoga can we affect the connective tissue which run through every muscle, organ and bone in our body. As we grow older, we lead sedentary lives, obtain injuries, develop incorrect posture, all of which can create the connective tissue to tighten and tangle. This connective tissue will only change when moderate stress of 3-5 minutes is applied-yin yoga!
In terms of Chinese Medicine, our organs and the chi (energy or life-force) which flows through them is inextricably linked to our overall health. There are 14 major meridians in Chinese Medicine, 12 of which we positively affect in yin yoga. By holding poses for long periods of time we are working directly on meridian lines and unblocking energy to allow the chi to flow freely.
Yin also helps to calm the mind and is fantastic preparation for meditation as you are "simply being", not "doing". This is exactly what meditation is all about!
My personal journey with yin yoga
I will never forget my first yin class....I actually thought I was attending a hot vinyasa flow class, so you can imagine my surprise to be so still, holding poses for long periods of time with no "work out". My first thoughts were frustration that I wasn't going deep enough, I found it quite challenging and my mind would not settle! Despite these strong feelings something pulled me in and made me go again, and again, and again. Each class I practised, I learnt to be still a little bit more; my mind became clearer; I felt a state of inner peace I had never felt before and it was safe to say I was completely hooked! Having been through some personal challenges where I had just experienced a miscarriage, yin yoga allowed me to turn inwards and heal; to be totally present; not worry about the past, the future, just simply be and most importantly, be ok with what is.
If you feel you need some calm in your life; a chance to simply be; time for yourself, then join me at The Secret Space alternate Fridays 18:15-19:15. To book on please contact The Secret Space directly.
Let's all balance our yang lifestyles with some well deserved yin yoga!