I had a very different Christmas Eve this year. It’s my second year having Christmas in Australia (still a bit weird having Christmas in summer!) but my first year doing something active the evening of Christmas Eve. I am more used to getting together with family for a meal then I am putting on my lululemon and lying over a bolster on a mat, but that’s exactly what I got up too. Lying over blocks and bolsters, slowly allowing everything in my body to open up and stretch, doing Yin yoga by candle light on Christmas Eve.
This Yin Yoga was a special event hosted by O2 Active, a wonderful fitness company that does training in multiple locations in Perth. Sasha, who was our instructor for the evening and a good friend of mine, did a fabulous job leading the group through the pose sequences. She made sure to talk us through each pose and help distract our minds from how hard the poses could be. I am more used to Vinyasa or hot yoga flows, so Yin yoga was a whole new experience for me. For those that haven’t done Yin before, it’s a series of poses usually focused around either a body part or chakra and each pose is held for an extended period of time. (We held many of our poses for a minimum of 2 minutes focusing on our heart chakra.) This is to allows the fascia to stretch without your muscle contracting. And apparently if you fall asleep, you’re doing it right! But be warned, holding poses for this long can get uncomfortable. So as Sasha said “Be comfortable with the uncomfortable”.
Uncomfortable I was. I am used to working my muscles and feeling them burn. I am not used to feeling a weird burn through my joints that I am tight in. This is one yoga practice that you really need to be humble with and accept your bodies limits. We each were given one large bolster at the start of the practice, with the option of grabbing a block if needed to help us. I ended up need a couple blocks due to my tight hips and an old knee injury, so humble I was. As with any yoga practice, if it is your first time in a new style or with a new teacher, grab at least one block just in case. Better be safe and humble, then hurting and cranky!
Our full practice lasted an hour and half, moving through a pose every couple of minutes with Sasha’s gentle instructions. At the end, I was left me with mixed feelings. I definitely felt stretched out, but I did miss the feeling of a strong flow and the muscle fatigue at the end. Yin is a very different practice, so I’ll have to get used to a different feeling at the end. Guess everything isn’t about feeling soar afterwards!
Overall, I think Yin yoga can be either a good addition to a regular yoga practice or a great weekly class for someone looking to stretch more. So find a studio and a teacher you like to get the most benefit out of your practice.
What type of yoga classes do you enjoy?