Warrior pose, Pretzel Pose, Down Dogs, Up Dogs and legs behind the ears pose. Sounds a bit intimidating? To involved? For some reason we (as a general population) have the general conception that we have do DO something strenuous in order to improve how our body feels. Every magazine and Web site says we should exercise, do this, do that. It feels like that if you are not running, walking, restraining your eating or doing something you are akin to being a lazy, fat slob.
For Yogis, why do we feel like we have to sweat, twist, contort, contract and squeeze to get a benefit? Is this the only way? It depends on what you are looking to achieve. Often a new or prospective yogi sees the pictures of super skinny bendy people and thinks that they too have to look like that. Reality is however, that skinny doesn’t equal healthy. Just the thought of having this media image imprinted in my head that I would have to have this sexy super model looking body before I can leave the house is enough to either a. depress me even more and paralyze me instantly or b. make me want to diet, fast, exercise, doing everything all at once (for about a day before I give up) to instantly give me a super body. Bombardment of advertisement through TV ads, Radio, Smart Phone app ads and Internet browsing ads has got to have an effect on molding my brain, even though I know better and want to resist the main stream advertisers dictating my life style.
Honestly, I feel we have been brain washed and programmed. The programming is endless and we have allowed technology to intrude into our very personal lives to the point that there is no more downtime. I do wonder what it was like back in the day before electricity and industrialization. Many great thinkers and composers are from that time. Could it be because they were stuck sitting illuminated only by candle light without any disturbance (electricity, radio and TV didn’t exist) and amid this quiet solitude is where a process called “thinking” was allowed to roam undisturbed. There was no constant doing as we know it now. When the sun went down the chickens went into the coop, the cows in the barn and people into the house to rest.
Today we have to keep up with everybody and everything and if we are not facebooking, tweeting, instagramming, youtubing, foursquaring, etc. mashing up our social media, we don’t exist! Is an evening spent online or watching a night show really resting? Nope, you are still doing. Constantly being focused on external stimulation. When was the last time you focused on your connections on the inside versus the outside?
So here is a double-yoga-whammy for you. It’s called Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga is the gentle counter-balance to all active lifestyles. It doesn’t matter if you are a runner, cyclist, or stressed-out and tensed-up couch potato. Yin yoga will get you some quiet time and allow your neurotransmitters and synapses to take a break. You don’t need to know how to meditate and sit still either. In Yin yoga you get into a posture and hold the posture. This will help you relax as well as stretch and gain flexibility. It is wonderfully restorative for your body.
Stop being a “Doing” and become a “Being”. We are still called Human Beings. So be one.
The Yin yoga class will allow you to find stillness and help you reconnect with your body. Being the constantly distracted humans that we are we seem to have lost the ability to listen to our physiology. We seem to have lost our connection to our very human nature. We try to fix everything physiological and mental with pills, powders and expensive gimmicks.
We don’t trust our body to have the ability to heal and nurture itself.
You don’t need pills, powders or gimmicks. A blanket, lose pants and a yoga mat will do just fine. A yin yoga practice can bring focus to your bounce-around mind and mobility to tight hips and a lower back. Best of all, you’ll help lubricate your joints. If you like to get technical, here is what happens in your body on a cellular level. The slow and gentle practice of yin will help your body produce hyaluronic acid, providing synovial supplies to your joints. Hyaluronic acid attaches itself to collagen and elastin to form cartilage. In plain English this means you are actually waking up your body’s healing mechanism, lubricating joints and strengthening connective tissue.
And best of all is that you can achieve this by staying in a posture for two, five or more minutes, meaning you don’t have to move. At all. You just have to relax and breathe. Imagine that!
In the end, you will actually be Doing nothing and just being a Being. You might find that to be a very nice experience. It’s like having your pie and eating it too!
Try our restorative Yin yoga classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. ($5) open to all levels. Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. ($15) for more advanced levels. (longer hold times & deeper stretches).