A Contradictory Life

Something in the nothing


Yin Yoga is simple, but simple does not mean easy. - Bernie Clark

And, the same can be said of Life.

I have been going to a few Yin Yoga classes lately. At first I went because it sounded delicious for someone whose legs, hips and back is always stiff and sore.

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. – What is Yin Yoga

But, as always, there is more to it:

  1. Yin yoga was developed by teachers for students of meditation who found it too painful or difficult to sit on the floor for long periods of time. It is no surprise, then, to learn that yin yoga – while being a very effective way to open tight hips and hamstrings – also goes hand in hand with mindfulness practices. Teachers of yin provide guidance during the class showing people how to observe the breath and use this as a way to focus on the present moment, allowing thoughts and feelings to arise but practising the art of sitting with them and watching them without getting “involved” before letting them fade away. The “mind chatter” is lessened and the “volume” turned down on persistent and negative thought patterns. The hope is that we develop mindfulness skills that can be transferred from the mat to everyday life. When we are stuck in worry or frustration, we can bring the same kind of attention to the sensations of the body and the workings of our mind and stay with them for a time. On a mental and emotional level, the practice allows the body to drop down into the parasympathetic nervous system, and therefore becomes deeply healing and nourishing. Practitioners report that it is grounding, calming and revitalising, with profound energetic and emotional effects.
  2. Yin yoga is a simple, quiet practice, but – make no mistake – it is not always an easy or comfortable one. One of the leading teachers of yin yoga, Bernie Clark, says: “Yin yoga is not meant to be comfortable; it will take you well outside your comfort zone. Much of the benefit of the practice will come from staying in this zone of discomfort, despite the mind’s urgent pleas to leave.”

Be part of the yin crowd, The Guardian

During tonight’s class, the above become more apparent to me with every passing second. I was fidgety, kept checking the time, uncomfortable, distracted and irritated with myself and my body. At least, though, I learnt something during this class – or rather, I was reminded of something. Sometimes, the most wonderful things arise from the nothing. The Universe did, didn’t it? The best business ideas arise when people are on holiday. Life-changing thoughts enter people’s minds whilst in the shower.

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and chose this picture for this post

Yin Yoga

before I even read the comment by Dave Gardener one of my favourite yoga teachers; “it seems it is better to feel our movement rather than thinking (or over-thinking) about it, allowing for more of a meditative experience. The music does help but eventually silence and stillness is the key, but expressing oneself through movement can assist in stilling the fluctuations of the mind, body and breath ??”

I entered this practice with the idea of an easy, guided stretching session once or twice per week but instead I have been pushed far beyond my comfort levels. I have an incredibly busy mind and cannot stand remaining physically still for that long either. But yet, I am loving it.

My mind might be urgently pleading with me to leave / shift / adjust /  but I am starting to learn that

There is always something in the nothing.

You just need to listen.