I’m not sure if my view is clouded through living among a beautiful, albeit slightly London-centric, Yogi community….
But it does feel like YIN Yoga is increasingly cropping up on studio timetables, retreat schedules and becoming more broadly understood and practiced by people all over the capital ~ and the whole world ~ which is amazing!
I truly believe that yoga, meditation, and mindfulness (and actually anything with a self-healing and holistic quality) being more widely practiced and accepted*, is a positive thing. Particularly when the type of Yoga being delved into more deeply is YIN…
*To add a side note on the increased ‘popularity,’ of Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness; I do get a certain amount of flack for being a yoga teacher.
I’ve met people at work or at parties who really don’t mind telling me outright that “Yoga teachers are all full of bullshit,” or “Yeah, most of the girls I know from school are all into Yoga and Reiki now ~ because it’s fashionable…”
Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.
But how about stopping for a moment to flip that observation on its head and acknowledge that perhaps more and more people have simply found a way to connect, slow down and heal.
Perhaps it isn’t about ‘what’s fashionable,’ perhaps meditation isn’t that great a mystery, perhaps yoga isn’t just the flexible, and perhaps the benefits, if you let them in, are real.
…The reason that I feel that our YINcreased appetite for a softer slower practice is so amazing (and why I have come to love it so so much myself), is because is shows that westerners are understanding and connecting to the essence of yoga without so much attachment to the physical.
We. Are. Slowing. It. All. Right. Down….
Finally we are not just attributing Yoga to a form of exercise, a way to lose weight, tone the body and stretch out the muscles. We are making more time and space for stillness, to delve in, and to surrender to letting go.
It’s very hard as humans, westerners and Londoners to just be still, to be OK with not striving for something and to be patient to the process of Yoga. So I believe it is wonderfully positive that this willingness to create time and space for ourselves is actually happening.
Of course I completely understand the attraction to faster paced yoga practice! It’s so natural that we would try to steady a racing mind with a racing moving meditation.
Vinyasa and Mandala Flow are amazing ~ I love love love these practices ~ and completely get that flowing with the breath and moving in creative sequences around the mat is a much easier way to keep the mind still. ~ You have breath-sycronised moving mediation to keep the mind present. It becomes a lot harder to keep the mind still when you are in the same asana/pose for minutes at a time, so I love that more and more of us are showing up for YIN.
A YIN practice is something I would have hated four years ago ~ no way could I have been still with my mind for that long! And actually it was only in December 2015 that I tried a handful of YIN classes in India. Although I quite liked them and could understand the benefit, I didn’t make time to pick up the practice again until a year later.
Now, seven months on, I practice YIN at least four times a week and teach it twice a week.
I attend studio classes with some amazing teachers, but my favourite time to practice YIN is at home before bed with Jamie.
So, what exactly is YIN?…
YIN balances your YANG (Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyenga, Power, Rocket, Mandala) practice. – It is yoga for the joints, not the muscles
YIN is a slower paced, restorative, lunar practice with asanas being held for longer periods of time—for beginners, it may range from 45 seconds to two minutes; more advanced practitioners may stay in one asana for five minutes or more.
Most classes in London guide four minute holds, which for a lot of us is enough. I tend to teach six minute holds ~ (this is only if I don’t have beginners in my class, and after letting the class know that is what we are doing, and why) ~ because I believe it allows students, with some experience of YIN, to fully benefit from the practice.
~The reason I love practicing at home is because it gives me the freedom to go as deep as I’d like into the practice. Jamie and I light candles, put on super chilled tunes and stay in our holds for 8-12 minutes.
It sounds (and is) intense! But WOW it is amazing.
Without a teacher there to guide you and talk through the practice, (which is helpful and something I would always recommend if you are a beginner to YIN), and provided that you r commit to keeping the mind still via conscious breathing, then you will drop to another level of consciousness. Total ultimate zen.
The rebounds (where you spend one or two minutes laying flat on your back after the long-hold pose) after a 12 minute hold is insane! You feel totally stoned, clear in the mind, and soooo ready for bed afterwards. Your physical and subtle body open, you heal, clear out the clutter ~ and, while it isn’t the point of YIN, you will notice a huge change in your Yang practice!
Where can you make time and space for YIN?..
I teach x3 public YIN Classes a week ~ listed below:
- Every Tuesday | 19:15 – 20:15 | More Yoga, Old Street
- Every Friday | 18:00 – 19:00 | More Yoga, Exmouth Market
- Every Sunday | 16:14 – 17:15 | Frame, Kings Cross
And if I’m not teaching, these are my favourite YIN classes that you should definitely check out..
- Every Monday | 20:30 – 21:30 | Frame, Shoreditch with Micki Radmondt
- Every Wednesday | 13:15 | Third Space, Soho with Jonelle Lewis
- Every Thursday 09:15 | Heatcore, Notting Hill with Annie Clarke
- Every Thursday 11:30 | Frame, Shoreditch with Steffy White
- Every Saturday 15:30 | The Refinery E9, Hackney with Daniela Olds
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