What is Yin Yoga?

I'm just back from a yin yoga immersion, 6 hours of yin for 3 days. It was bliss and just what I needed. Let me explain why and what is yin yoga for those who might not yet have had the blessing of experiencing a class yet.

This year had been a whirlwind for me so far, amongst a busy time in my business I have also been planning my wedding in June and finding a new flat for us to move into next month. All of it is incredible and what I have been wanting for my life for years, all happening at the same time though has been quite overwhelming!

The inner child in me has felt worn out, a bit scared and has manifested a virus that has been lingering around since Christmas. All to try to slow me down but the excitement and momentum of it all has kept me going.

This energy, this action, this forward planning is what you could call yang energy. Yang is our masculine, fiery, active energy. Yoga practices like Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow are yang practices, as are other sports and exercises like running, cycling, gym , dancing etc. They all build heat and work our muscles.

Our yin energy is our soft feminine energy, for male and female. It's the state of just being, softening, opening, cooling. So a yin yoga practice is very slow. You hold poses from anything between 3 - 15 minutes, using props, like blocks and bolsters, if you have them, to support you. This works into the body in a different way, it helps to get into the joints, ligaments and fascia. The slowness naturally calms the mind, that is not to say it's easy to calm the mind! Holding the poses can get quite intense but you're always listening to the body and making sure you don't over strain or stretch. The mind can get impatient but then you turn to the breath, the sensations in the body and practice mindfulness.

The effect of a longer yin practice than usual for me over the past 3 days has allowed my exhaustion to come up. Sometimes I was literally falling asleep in the poses. I allowed tiredness to come, I allowed myself to just stay still, to drop feelings of pushing through and thoughts about the future. I realised how much my mind has been on the future; planning the moving day, the wedding day and the honeymoon. Crazily, as amazing it all is, tension has been arising around the cost and planning of it all. Being in the moment for 3 days reminded me to just be in the moment with it all. This is a beautiful time in my life, I am so blessed and all I have to do is enjoy it!

As the 3 days drew to a close my natural energy began to come back. I needed to go right down into yin to then let the yang emerge again balanced. We are all a balance of yin and yang, we need both it's just when it tips more over to one that we feel out of sorts.

To much yin and we'd not get anything done, too much yang we feel scattered, and create tension in the body, and the mind.

This week I feel present, at peace, happy and up for getting things done again. My body feels spacious and relaxed. My energy is back and that virus that was lingering feels like it's left. I feel drawn to eating super healthy and everything just feels sparkly again.

So that's why I love yin and I love sharing it with others too. I'm running a yin 3 hour workshop next week at Revitalise Brighton, Sat 19th 2-5pm, (please contact me to book) and I'm starting a yin yang Tuesday morning class (from April 12th, 9.30-10.30) at Revitalise Hove. Yin yang as the name suggests is a balance between the two which is a great way to start the day.