In Vancouver, there are as many yoga teachers and studios as there are rainy days in a year. It can be hard to choose what style, teacher and location that best fits your needs and preferences. For myself, I enjoy classes that have a spiritual component to it, and the first serious classes I took were Kundalini classes. This allowed me to let go of my perspective that yoga in the West has become just a form of physical maintenance with expensive equipment/clothes and with some foreign words thrown in from time-to-time.
Finding the appropriate style, place and teacher is so important to ensuring you have an experience that fits to what you want from practicing yoga. I did my research on studios, classes and teachers to see which had the philosophy I would resonate most with and which I would feel most comfortable to give my healing and expansion to.
Then I was recommended to go do Yin yoga, which has completely allowed me to appreciate and make a deep connection to my body and the practice. A brief explanation of Yin Yoga can be explained by Bernie Clark (a local Vancouver teacher who has taught myself and two of my goddess friends!), on his website he says,
“Yin Yoga has the same goals and objectives as any other school of yoga; however, it directs the stimulation normally created in the asana portion of the practice deeper than the superficial or muscular tissues (which we are calling the yang tissues). Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and even the joints of the body that normally are not exercised very much in a more active style of asana practice.
Suitable for almost all levels of students, Yin Yoga is a perfect complement to the dynamic and muscular (yang) styles of yoga that emphasize internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of our muscles. Yin Yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine.
While initially this style of yoga can seem quite boring, passive, or soft, yin practice can be quite challenging due to the long duration of the poses. We can remain in the postures anywhere from one to twenty minutes!”
For myself, staying in these long durations was so incredibly healing and I learned so much about myself. For example, many people have a hard time with the feelings of discomfort that can arise to poses that expand the hips. The mind struggles as it battles the choice you made to come to this class, to engage in this position and the realization that you are tight and stiff. For myself, because I had been neglecting my body’s healing and evolution for so long I accepted that discomfort would be a part of it.
Thankful for all the breath workshops I attended, I trusted the Yin yoga practice, and I trusted my breath will help in eventually letting go of this resistance – knowing that all is well and it will be for my benefit. So I just kept breathing, talking to my body and thanking it for all that it does for me every day, and that I give my body permission to let go of any pain and suffering it may still be holding on. And just like that, in several minutes, my body bows down in gratitude and I’m mush on the floor. Of course this isn’t always the case, sometimes there will be one pose that I can barely sit in without readjusting every other minute, but I know there is something there for me to heal, let go of and to learn from. In knowing this I keep challenging myself to stay still and centered in these poses.
This practice has impacted my life so much that I decided to become certified to teach Yin Yoga! I love holding space for you to go deep into yourself. Beyond the muscles and fascia, into the connective tissues and ligaments, deeper into the joints and bones, feeling and freeing more deeply into your subtle energy flowing through your blood and meridians. Then, to expand into the depths of your being as you clearly hear your inner voice - perhaps to a point where you drift into silence and acceptance of it all. Awaking after shavasana into bliss. I guarantee you’ll be “yin it, to win it,” especially when I bring Reiki or guided meditations into the mix.
So, if you are looking for a style of yoga that you can really go internal with, where you aren’t distracted on trying to keep up with complex and quick changing poses, and you can really focus on parts of yourself that you want to feel fully relaxed and healed; try a Yin yoga class or get a session with me!