Many of you have seen me refer to my yin yoga workouts and may be wondering whats up with that. I'm not going to try and explain anything but the basics here. IF you want to know more about yin and I believe you should ( And if local go to Raleigh Yoga Company), Go to this website for everything you could ever want to know about yin.
My journey with Yin began late last summer. I had arrived early for my Bikram class and found Laura and Susan on their mats outside the studio. It was not unusual to find Laura working on wall walks and back bends but this was different as they were lying still on their mats watching a video on a tablet. So I put down my mat and joined in as Laura explained to me what was going on.
It was a video of Bernie Clark (the yinyoga,com guy) leading us through a practice. It involves a sequence of poses , almost all on the mat that are held for time, 3 to 5 minutes for beginners, in stillness at the edge of discomfort for the purposes of stretching or compressing the deep tissues and fascia while not engaging muscles. Seriously, go to the website for a better explanation.
We only had about 15 minutes by then but as I have learned , if you just do one pose for 5 minutes then you will gain some benefit. From then on for awhile if there was time we would do as much as we had time for and were joined on occasion by Melinda and maybe some others now and then. We jokingly referred to these sessions as Club Yin !
After awhile and with a change in the time I would usually go to class the Club kind of fell to the wayside but I soon learned that Laura and Susan were going to go to Vancouver and train to be yin instructors with Bernie Clark. Cool ! By November I had began to add 45 minutes to an hour of yin at home or at the gym maybe 3 days a week. By December I was up to at least 5 days a week for an hour and By January I was totally hooked on the results I was getting and the way I was feeling and tried to get in my hour daily, usually just before bedtime.
Since then I have continued with normally 6 days a week and it is so much more fun now that Laura and Susan opened the studio at the end of May. Although it can be done alone I love being in the studio with other yogis and yoginis. Some times I get lucky and get private sessions. I was really happy when Laura added an advanced class that goes for an extra 30 minutes and we hold the poses longer, sometimes 8 to 10 minutes.
So, what are the benefits besides I obviously love the classes ? Well, my body feels great. I have an added awareness of how my body feels deep inside. It's hard to explain but it is so cool to notice the deep tissues expanding and adhesions within being broken up. I have a much better range of motion in nearly every part of my body but especially the hips and spine. This helps not only with my running and keeping me from having injuries due to tightness but just everyday movements are easier and freer of pain and discomfort. One of the main problems with aging is deterioration of the posture and adhesions deep inside locking us up which can cause so many health issues and put undue pressure on the internal organs
It has also helped tremendously with my regular Bikram practice. I'm seeing and more importantly feeling huge improvements in many postures that I was doubting I would ever be able to achieve.
And beyond the physical, the mental and emotional benefits may be even greater. The whole class is almost like a meditation as we strive to be still and quiet on that edge of discomfort. Thoughts are dismissed and in that state of mind the subconscious takes over. At the end of class we always relax completely in a corpse pose aka shavasana and I have during those moments had so many strange and wonderful thoughts, visions, repressed memories and practically hallucenogenic type micro dreams pop up randomly.
I can truly say that no matter how uncomfortable some of the poses might have seemed, I always walk out of class feeling great with a better outlook than before I entered.
So, I highly recommend that everyone young and old try to add some yin into your life. And as Laura was already a long time and dear friend I must say thanks again for introducing me to yin and for being a wonderful teacher and daily inspiration.