So you may have noticed that I haven't posted any articles in a very long time (!) I can only apologise; my teaching has really taken over & I've not found the balance between working & resting (but that's for another post!).
And something else that's been keeping me busy recently was my 8-day Yin Yoga teacher training course with the inspirational Sebastian Pucelle & Murielle Burellier.
Before taking the course I was already sold on the benefits of yin yoga - after each Yin class I'd taken I would literally feel as though I was floating, and any crap that had been hanging over me prior to the practice would seem like it had magically melted away. And since taking the teacher training course I am even more sold! I now have knowledge of some of the science behind the practice & it is impossible to deny the endless benefits it provides the practitioner.
Typically in Yin we hold the postures for 5 minutes (but it can be anything between 2-20 minutes if the practitioner wishes to experiment). The reason for this is that it takes at least 2 minutes for the muscles to relax, and then we can get into the nitty gritty...releasing tension from the fascia (connective tissues) which envelopes every single muscle & joint in the body. Fascia is the most intricate, complex & fascia-nating (sorry not sorry!) network in our bodies. Physically it holds everything in place - without it we would be a heap of bone & floppy muscle - and emotionally it can hold the key to our emotional wellbeing. Therefore, through yin yoga we can release tension from our connective tissues & minds, leaving us open to express ourselves with freedom and spaciousness.
On our course we were encouraged to disregard "The Rule of Alignment" when teaching any form of yoga. "The Rule of Alignment" is a concept that was never mentioned in the Sutras, the Upanishads or the Vedas, it is something that only came about with the popularism of Ashtanga & Iyengar in the 20th century. Instead we have been encouraged to start thinking about teaching through "The Functional Approach to Yoga" - not a very sexy name, but a very sensible approach. This approach takes into consideration that every single yoga practitioner is a different shape - not just in their outer body, but down to a skeletal level - therefore each pose will look different on each person. Rather than being concerned with how a pose looks, it is much more important how a pose feels. Where are you engaging? What are you lengthening? Where can you feel the stretch? These are the questions we should be asking. Not: how do I look?
Yin yoga, and "The Functional Approach to Teaching Yoga", is the yoga of feeling into a pose, rather than being preoccupied with how the pose looks aestheically. It encourages true connection to what is happening within - emotionally and physically.
To conclude, I have learned so much, and am eternally grateful to Sebastian and Murielle for sharing their wisdom and passion. They have truly shown me that Yin yoga is a gift to our bodies and minds. It is the chance to just “be”: nowhere else to go, nothing else to do, no-one else to be. It is the anecdote to our busy, fiery, yang lives. It is finding stillness amongst the chaos. Yin yoga is a homecoming to ourselves, an awakening of body, mind and spirit.
Love & light,
Join me at my Yin & Yang: Finding Balance workshop on Saturday 30th September in Ascot, Berkshire. Email me for further info: firstname.lastname@example.org