In February this year, I attended a Yin Yoga teachers training in Bali. It was such an incredible experience, and one which I’d like to share here with you because it’s had some unexpected benefits which relate to mental health and well-being.
Let’s begin with a short outline of what Yin Yoga is, and how it differs from other styles of yoga.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin yoga focuses on the fascia or the connective tissue of our bodies, rather than on the muscles, which is what other styles of yoga focus on. In Yin, the aim is not to push through pain or endure – it’s to relax the muscles so that you can put tension on the fascia, releasing it.
Fascia surrounds all our muscle fibers, organs and bones. In a healthy state, it’s an interconnected, flexible web which extends throughout our entire body.
When we don’t move enough, or when we move too much this web becomes dehydrated, stiff and adheres to itself and to it’s surrounding tissue – causing pain and discomfort.
It’s only with gentle tension that this connective tissue can bounce back and reform into its original state.
Yin yoga doesn’t only work on our physical body; it works on our energetic body too. We have hundreds of meridians running through our being – when these meridians are functioning well, we feel healthy, vibrant and energised.
When they are blocked or not working as they should, we can feel listless, depressed or unmotivated. Yin poses work on clearing these blocks and dysfunctions, helping us physically as well as energetically.
How does the ‘Yin’ fit in?
In Chinese Philosophy, ‘Yin’ is the female energy to the ‘Yang’. Yang is the doing of things, the action taken and what all other styles of yoga are classified as. Yin is about the flow, relaxing into things and turning inwards. We all have both aspects of these energies in us!
Doing yoga of any type is beneficial for your body and your mind, but what I’ve found with Yin is that it’s the missing element – the FLOW to my incessant GO. Let me explain 🙂
My Life to Now
I have spent the majority of my life in ‘GO’ mode – but in the last year I’ve been noticing a pull towards a more ‘FLOW’ experience, where I’m not driving myself so hard, where I’m more gentle with myself and acknowledge my own needs.
This pull has been as the result of many years of co-dependency with family, my business, friends and partners.
It’s very easy for me to connect to the masculine, I’m the only girl between 2 brothers (very masculine brothers at that), I grew up getting along with boys better than girls and was socialised to believe that ‘acting like a girl’ was something negative or undesirable.
Fast-forward to two years ago when I got a handle on my co-dependency but still felt like there was something missing. I was trying to be more feminine, to tap into my emotions more and use my body as a tool of perception, but I was really struggling. Until I went to a Yin workshop and finally felt totally at home!!
Yin gave me the permission to NOT push so hard. It allowed me to relax into a posture and examine what came up for me. It’s helped me to slow down, to allow things to unfold and it’s helped to cultivate patience with myself, my body and my experience.
We have both Yin and Yang energies within us – through life we end up letting one of these energies dominate, which causes an imbalance. These imbalances lead to depression, unhealthy relationships (both romantic and otherwise) and even burnout.
What I’ve found in my coaching practice and in my social circle is a LOT of very successful, driven women – most of which are overwhelmed, struggle with boundaries and have lost touch with what their fundamental needs are.
There are many reasons for this, but what I’ve also seen is that there is a common understanding among these women, that in order to be seen as ‘successful’ in business, as a partner or as a mom – these driving or Yang aspects are expected, leaving very little space to explore the flow/Yin sides of themselves.
If you can relate in any way to what I’ve been saying here then stay tuned because I’m going to be setting up some Yin workshops (in Cape Town for now), where you’ll be given the space to practice a more Yin-like way of being, in a safe, nurturing space.
Investing in a teachers training in Yin has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, for myself and I believe for my career!! I’m so excited to see where this goes!!