There’s a lot of hoopla these days about living a so-called balanced life. Balance your work-life-family time and you’ll be happy. Balance your checkbook. Balance your diet. Balance your balance. You get the picture.
But what about INNER balance? Where does that come in? The truth is that true happiness comes from a balance of opposites – when Yin and Yang are in balance with each other.
Yin & Yang never exist on their own. They are always in relation to one another.
Yin is dark, hidden, cold, quiet, introspective and calm. Yang is colorful, excitable, active, holding, reaching, moving and flexing. We need both for total health; a healthy balance of yin and yang.
Yang activities primarily use the muscles whereas Yin activities focus on the connective tissue. Yet, in any activity, we use both. We can’t completely separate the two.
We can never have a purely Yin or purely Yang activity. For instance, running is more of a Yang activity than gentle Yoga. Yet, there are Yin aspects to it. Even something like gentle yoga has a bit of Yang to it.
In my own quest for inner balance, I’ve found yoga and meditation (and also shopping!) to be incredibly healing and helpful. Not taking yourself too terribly seriously also helps.
I am a Yin Yoga Teacher. I was trained by Biff Mithoefer at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. I currently teach at Flex Studio in St. Louis, Missouri. Join us Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 11:00 a.m. See the current schedule here.
Yin Yoga is for people all ages, shapes & sizes. Whether you’re in perfect health or are struggling with health issues, Yin Yoga can help you find inner and outer balance.
I have found Yin Yoga to be practical and helpful for three groups of people.
- First, athletes, type A, movers & shakers, intense yogis and busy people. Yin yoga provides, by its very nature, a sense of balance. While Ashtanga and Vinyasa practices (as well as Marathons and heavy duty sports) encourage you to move, stretch and feel the burn, Yin Yoga encourages you to let the connective tissues take the rein, calm down and do LESS.
- The second group of people who most benefit from Yin Yoga are those who are recovering – from illness, traumatic stress or any other intense experience. These are often people who avoid “typical yoga classes” due to their intensely active nature. Yin Yoga is safe for those who are of ill health, advanced age or wary of yoga in general.
- And finally, struggling meditators. Yin Yoga is something of a moving meditation. As you work to stretch out your connective tissues, it prepares your body for a formal meditation practice. I call it PREmeditative Yoga because it prepares your body – eases the pain in the joints, lower back and knees – and allows you to just sit. Yin Yoga gradually, with practice, alleviates that pain and makes it easier to sit for longer periods of time.
In Yin Yoga, poses are held for five minutes or more at a time in order to the stretch the connective tissue, relieving the joints. Yin poses are derived from traditional yoga poses, though they have been renamed to distinguish them. Thus, cobbler’s pose becomes butterfly, plow pose becomes snail, and pigeon pose becomes sleeping swan.
It counteracts that busy bee/multitasking/can’t pay attention to anything for more than three minutes state of mind and helps to ground and center us.
For more information on Yin Yoga, check out the Master of all Yin Bernie Clark’s site.
Come to my class. Or, if you’d prefer to work one on one, feel free to contact me to set up a Private Session.