"I think the hardest part of Yin yoga is the non-doing. It's letting go."
My yoga teacher, Anna Davis, said this today during our Yin Yasa yoga class. I have come to find that yin yasa is one of my favorite yoga practices. I go once a week in the morning and I always feel so happy when I arrive. Yin Yasa is a combination of Vinyasa, or flow yoga, and Yin, which is deep stretching and opening of the body.
The movement aspect warms your body. It gets oxygen rich blood flowing through your muscles, joints and ligaments. This warmth allows you to go deep into the Yin poses. The Yin poses are restorative, allowing the body to heal, and they are held for long periods. This holding, which is the non-doing, cools the body.
This balance of warm and cool, movement and release, makes Yin Yasa a unique and beautiful experience in balance.
It is the balance aspect that I find most powerful about the practice. I take the balance in on all levels, mind, body and soul, and it stays with me after class. Balance in work/play, rest/action, connection/introspection, and so on is the key to life.
The other thing I enjoy is experiencing the power that can come from non-doing.
For the yin portion of the yoga we often use a bolster, which is a large, firm body pillow that supports you in various poses. When your body feels supported it doesn't tense up in fear that it's being pushed too far. Instead, it opens up further to the pose, allowing you to deepen into it slowly and gently.
For example, in one pose we lay with our torso on the pillow. One leg is stretched out in back, with our hips on the edge of the bolster. The other comes up beside it. This stretch opens up the hips, but without you pushing or leaning or trying to stretch. Instead, you allow the weight of your body and gravity to do everything. You let go. You breathe. You feel what it means to allow and release. The less you do the more everything is done for you and your body melts and opens.
I always find these classes go so fast. I also always feel amazing at the end. I hope you have a chance to experience the power of Yin Yasa yoga yourself one day. The class I take is at the Yoga Loft in Modesto. If your local studio doesn't offer this type of class perhaps you could ask. You never know who else might wish this was being offered!