Becoming Whole with Yin-Yang Yoga
Find Balance Through an Integrated Practice
The truth is, we’re hungry people. We’re hungry for food, wealth, social status, attention, and we’re hungry for freedom. And it’s not just any freedom – it’s freedom from the torment of our obsessive minds. Yes, I’m talking to you, and to me and to everyone.
Our phenomenal and expertly designed minds are capable of brilliance. And yet that same brilliant mind gets lost in rumination over things that have passed, while simultaneously imagining suffering that hasn’t even happened yet. This pattern hijacks our ability to stay with what is real; the experience of being in our own skins.
This is where yoga comes in.
The practice of yoga connects us to our breath, and then the breath to the body via movement. When this integration occurs, the mind ceases its oscillation between past and future anxieties and just experiences the present moment. The more a person is able to be with what is – without expectation – the more resilient they become in the face of life’s many challenges. In short, this leads to greater life satisfaction and emotional stability.
Now I’m sure you’re reading this and thinking, “Hmm, greater life satisfaction, enhanced emotional stability, sign me up!” But wait, there’s more.
I started practicing yoga in 1997. Since then, I’ve tried many styles and traditions and found something profound in them all; yet yin-yang classes are my forever favourite.
So what are they? Yin and Yang are simply convenient labels that denote polarities inherent in natural phenomena. Things that are more “yin” are slower, more hidden, esoteric, and feminine. Things that are more “yang” are dynamic, energetic, tangible and masculine. When we apply these labels to the way that we practice yoga, it indicates that the class contains a dynamic and active portion as well as a slow, introspective portion.
On the physical plane, a dynamic practice filled with breath-based movement will enhance the health of the neuromyofascial web (think your muscles, nerves and everything connecting them). It will also focus the mind, allowing you to leave excessive thinking behind. Once breath, body and mind are integrated, moving into a yin practice becomes a holy experience. On the space of your mat, you are allowed to stay in postures long enough to melt away restriction that may be physical, mental or emotional. There is an intensity that is edgy, but not painful, and the edginess gives way to deep release and surrender at the end of each pose. Students are able to experience that elusive and seductive sensation of actually “letting go”.
So whether you are a seasoned yogi, or new to the practice, try a yin-yang yoga class – it might change your life.
Tracey Soghrati is a yoga therapist and lover of the human experience. She trains teachers and offers students a safe place to see themselves clearly.www.soghratiyoga.com