Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yin Yoga @ Shakti Yoga Studio

This weekend we're welcoming yoga teacher Stephanie Guitar to our Studio and to St. John's for the first time! Stephanie is a teacher and studio owner in Fredericton who has trained with Paul Grilley, the instructor that brought much of the Yin Yoga method to the United States. From Friday to Sunday Stephanie will be facilitating a Yin Yoga immersion that will help students learn a new method and deepen their practice and will enable yoga teachers to incorporate Yin Yoga classes in their teaching.

Yin Yoga is quite a departure from the more "yang" styles of yoga many of us are used to. Yoga Journal describes the difference:

Yin can be described as stable, immobile, feminine, passive, cold, and downward moving. Yang is depicted as changing, mobile, masculine, active, hot, and upward moving. In nature, a mountain could be described as yin; the ocean, as yang. Within the body, the relatively stiff connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, fascia) is yin, while the pliant and mobile muscles and blood are yang. Applied to yoga, a passive practice is yin, whereas most of today's hatha yoga practices are yang: They actively engage the muscles and build heat in the body.

Long holds in passive postures can be quite a challenge for people used to a more yang approach. The slowness and the quietness makes the mind race, while the lack of aesthetic importance in the postures make our egos a little bored. But if you can move through these feelings rather than fight against them Yin Yoga could offer great rewards. Again, from Yoga Journal:

"'Landing in this practice helps you take up residence in the body without a need for it to perform' ... When you stop striving and tune in to what's happening, you begin to truly feel the sensations in your body and mind as they arise. Once you accept that you will feel many things during a Yin practice—discomfort, boredom, anxiety—and learn to stay with the chorus of thoughts and feelings, your relationship to them will begin to change. You will learn that you have the inner strength to stay in situations you previously thought you couldn't handle. You will see the impermanent nature of thoughts and feelings as you watch them arise and then pass on their own. And when you stop resisting what's happening around you, you'll gain a sense of liberation and trust in life."

Once this immersion is complete, you can look forward to Yin Yoga at Shakti Yoga Studio. We'll likely offer this style in the Fall. Until then, you can explore the series of postures Yoga Journal presents in their article Soothe Yourself.