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Yoga Personalized Private Yoga Instruction Catherine Tingey Private Yoga The Subtle Power of Yin Yoga

Published on April 17th, 2024 | by Catherine Tingey

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The Subtle Power of Yin Yoga

The Subtle Power of Yin Yoga

For the past few Sundays, I’ve been taking a Yin Yoga class at my local hot yoga studio. The class itself is unheated, but the room is always warm from prior classes. It has been a revelatory experience.

I arrive and see few people in the dimly lit studio. Someone is already wearing an eye mask, another has their limbs draped over a bolster. These people are ready to relax!

I make my way to a front corner and assemble props, remove extra clothes and get ready to settle in. Ambient music plays and I begin some Myofascial Release with this tool and close my eyes.

Immediately I’m faced with how tight my body feels. This might strike you as strange because I’ve been a yoga teacher for 11+ years and practicing for 31+.

Does that mean yoga doesn’t work?

What I mean is that in contrast to the fuzzy lighting in here and the warm, enveloping air, my body is tight with attention. I’ve just put my dog in her crate at home, driven here, found a parking spot, removed shoes at the door, etc.

I’m primed to focus on the next task, listen for the next cue; I am ready to DO something. Isn’t that why we come to an exercise class? To DO something? So I’ve brought my Myofascial Release ball and that gives me something to do, while further illustrating all the tiny, restricted spots in my body.  But in theory, the reason for attending a Yin yoga class is not to do anything.

Yin, as a principle, is one of receptivity.

Yin is yielding.

Yin is allowing.

Yin is being witness to.

These things can be hard for us.

These things are sometimes hard for me.

Clearly, I’m hardly alone as this class never has many students.

Personalized Private Yoga Instruction Catherine Tingey Private Yoga The Subtle Power of Yin Yoga

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga is a style of yoga commonly practiced on the floor, with many props, where poses are held for 2-5 minutes.

Yin Yoga can be helpful for anyone.

I suggest approaching this style of class as an exploration; as in, I’m going to put my body in these shapes, with these props, and see what I feel.

They may be uncomfortable at first and you may be inclined to fidget. This happens to me quite often.

What happens even more often to me though, is that I want to find a way to deepen the pose with the use of a tool to chase sensation. Many of us like intense sensation. Dopamine has a solid hold on us.

As I get older, I see the chasing of sensation in terms of layers. With greater discernment, one can feel more from doing less. This is the discussion I entered with my Gross Vs Subtle Body post. So on a day where I’m quite focused on external things like running a business, training my dog, exploring a new city, my discernment for subtlety is not high, at least initially.

I have to invite myself to slow down, to bring awareness inwards and to withdraw senses from external things [this is the fifth limb of yoga philosophy, Pratyhara, or sense withdrawal]. It strikes me that most of modern life and notions of being ‘successful’ are the exact opposite of Pratyhara. To be plugged in, to be engaged, to be AT attention; these are the qualities of the leader,  the successful employee, the rising star. To plug out, to withdraw, is to somehow disavow the mainstream of life, and reject the matrix of what one is supposed to do.

I find both ways of being meaningful. Finding a balance between them is ever elusive.

If you see a Yin Yoga class somewhere in your travels, try it out. See what comes up. You might not like it. Try one more class, perhaps with a different teacher. See what comes up.

Yoga, and anything for that matter, become more fun when we approach them with curiosity, free of expectation.

Namaste,

Catherine

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Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for 31 years and teaching privately for 11 years.

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About the Author

Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for 31 years and teaching privately for 11 years.



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