The yang (stronger, dynamic) part of ourselves is important to nurture, as it creates action and allows us to get things done. However, to create down time and actually connect to the quieter, calmer part of ourselves (the yin) can be a challenge. Yin yoga is a particularly useful practice to balance out all our ‘doing’ and help us come into the Now.
Yoga Therapist, Erika Newberry, describes her philosophy on Yin yoga practice.
So, what is Yin yoga?
Yin yoga is a style of practice that aims to access our deeper tissues and organs, for example our fascia, ligaments, tendons. This promotes elasticity in our connective tissues and freer movement around our joints. Yin yoga is associated with meridian theory, which enhances the flow of our Chi (subtle energy) throughout all our systems.
How will I benefit from Yin yoga?
Our lifestyles are often in excess and can leave us feeling depleted and out of balance. A slower more mindful practice promotes our overall health by bringing union between body, emotions and mind. As the aim is to settle and relax our muscles as much as possible firstly, deep physical tension often releases. The result may lead towards more ease and lightness in the body.
What are the qualities of Yin yoga?
Feeling sensations: Our internal experience is changing all the time and requires our close attention. In Yin yoga, we aim to feel sensations but not push into pain! It really requires close observation, self-enquiry and a willingness to be in the here and now. The experience is not seen on the outside, but only felt within our own body.
Finding stillness: In Yin we want to do less so that we can really influence our deeper layers. Stillness offers us the space to really explore what is happening with less distraction. There may be physical sensations within our body, emotional responses, energetic shifts and fluctuations over our mind. We welcome all of these!
Giving time: In Yin, the poses are maintained for about 3-5 minutes, sometimes longer. As the aim is to release our habitual muscular patterns, time is essential. Once the muscles soften, the fascia is affected. Creating time in each shape or form also allows us to explore aspects of ourselves that we may not acknowledge in day to day life.
Erika loves Yin yoga and brings to her classes a curiosity around our experience of being human. She especially honours that we are all so unique. One of her mantras whilst teaching is:
You know your body best; you are in it all the time! I can offer guidance but ultimately, you stay in control of how and if you move. Then try to let go of any expectations.
Erika has been practising yoga since 1998 and teaching since 2011. Erika has an advanced diploma of Yoga Teaching, a post graduate certificate in Yoga Therapy and a certification in Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga.