On a recent study trip of mine to Thailand, I had the privilege of taking a yin yoga workshop with Victor Chang at one of Bangkok’s premier yoga studios Yoga Elements. It was like entering into a different realm of yoga asana practice…
In our daily typical city life existence we are constantly in ‘yang ‘ mode or the more aggressive, dynamic masculine action and goal-oriented mode of existence, which if one thinks about is so much our own general yoga practice - with the teacher ‘directing’ you to ‘perform’ asanas. Theyin mode is the exact opposite - it is feminine, passive, hidden, slow-moving, very much translating into the yoga practice as well, where the teacher allows, rather than directs the practitioner’s body to fold, hold and open into poses for almost five minutes and in a more advanced practice even 10- 20 minutes! Slowly sinking into the poses allows the practice to happen to you rather than you making them happen. Yin works according to Chinese medicine on 12 major energy lines in the body which correspond to the major organs in our body including the heart, lungs, gallbladder, liver, spleen - very much like the ‘nadis’ in our Indian yogic physiology.
Yes, I have to admit some of the poses were excruciatingly painful, especially the hip openers - as one holds the posture it allows the fascia to slowly open creating more space in the sacroiliac region, where the pelvis connects with the lower back.
One breathes a sigh of relief, almost smiling as one unfurls from the posture but leaving one’s body transformed with a certain openness and free flow in the blocked and tight areas. Yin finishes generally with a meditation to feel the ‘chi’, ‘prana’ or life-force that one has created though the slow movement and holds.
The aftermath of the practice is a feeling of peace, calm and more importantly – a feeling of being better equipped to deal with life outside your yoga class. I encourage everyone to try new teachers, classes and styles as often as possible as it's vital we keep our minds open to new ways to experience flows of prana and states of nourishment. Try a Yin class near you today!
SAMANTA DUGGAL has spent over 20 years practicing Yoga, Jazz Technique and Bharatnatyam. She effortlessly combines unique perspectives about wellbeing, healing and physiology. Samanta’s work centers on Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Ayurvedic and Thai Osteo Body work, Diet /Nutrition and Vedic Chanting. She blends a wealth of knowledge and experience to create a unique approach that unites awareness with movement, breath, heart, and humour. Follow her here: www.samantaduggal.com