November 15, 2016
Do you remember a few years back when Yoga Club came to be? Those were good days and the beginning of something I had no idea was to come. I never thought I would wind up living in the apartment we deemed the Ashram. But here I am 3 years later sitting in that living room with the rounded bay windows overlooking the city and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Once I settled in, I decided to bring back yoga club. The additional rules are as follows. We meet every other Tuesday to do yoga and converse. We spend time before setting up the room and after going over our rose, bud, thorn and pulling an animal card. Different friend groups mesh within the confines of the yoga space and we all leave feeling a bit more grounded.
When I first decided to make the space for yoga club I thought we would do a vinyasa practice, maybe occasionally a restorative. But the overwhelming response was wanting to slow down, lay down, do less. We transitioned to a yin based yoga club and I think it’s safe to say we all love it.
So what is yin yoga? Yin yoga is when you do a series of poses for 2-5 minutes each. You hold these poses so that the connective tissue of the body can release. It helps to increase circulation, ease tension, improve flexibility and bring you into a more meditative state. It’s not an active form of yoga and it shouldn’t be ones only form of yoga, but it’s a tool for opening the heart and finding stillness.
What I find super interesting about this practice, is that the poses coincide with the meridian lines (TCM) or nadis (Ayurveda), of the body. These lines are channels to energy. Picture small rivers flowing through the body. But instead of water, these rivers or channels carry the breath (prana). These path ways affect the circulatory system, nervous system, respiratory system and lymphatic system which means, that when these pathways are blocked, sickness and distress can show up. In order to remain healthy, these pathways must remain open. Aside from getting sick, these channels can also change how we connect with ourselves and the environment around us. Through Yin Yoga, we target the nadis so that we can keep ourselves in the flow state.
Yin yoga is especially beneficial in the fall when Vata is at an all time high. It allows us to slow our pace and in this time where the weather is changing, allows your body to remain open so that the breath can break up any stagnant areas. Many yin yoga poses focus on the lower portion of the body such as the pelvis and the hips which happens to be the seat of Vata. But that doesn’t dismiss the tri-doshic properties of the practice. Pitta doshas can benefit from the calming nature of the practice and a Kapha, whom often needs more stimulation, can use this as a complimentary practice.
I also have to note, how important it is to do at times of distress, grief, sadness, disbelief etc. Ya know, all of the emotions from last weeks election. I sat down to practice yesterday and could feel how tight and condensed my hips and side body were. It was tricky to send the breath to those spots and things got a bit sad, but I know the only way through is out, so I sat with all the discomfort. And then I ate soup on my couch and watched The Crown.
Yin is a tool to become aware, a chance to find more peace within yourself and most of all develop more compassion. That is all. Let me know if you have any questions about yin or about starting a yoga club. I highly recommend it. It’s my favorite time of every other week.