Imagine: it's 2 am, and you get a little hot in bed so you sleepily kick off the blanket. It's so quiet out there, you can hear your breathing... and it sounds loud against the backdrop of the night. You gently drift back off to sleep and dive deep into dreams.
Now imagine: Pitt Street Mall in the middle of Sydney. Lunch time, and the week before Xmas. People hustling and bustling, on tight deadlines, the sun is beating down, the buskers are loudly vying for attention. The queues are inching outside the shop doors. There is distraction from every direction, and you've been elbowed out of the way 2 times and counting.
When people ask me why they should do yin yoga, or why I love it so much, it's not the easiest to wrap up into one sentence or elevator pitch. But if you can drop into feeling for a second, and notice the energy of those 2 scenarios above, that in a nutshell is why yin is so powerful. Because yin is so much like the first case above - it's nourishing, it's gentle, it takes care of us, and we become one with the world around us. We're not fighting or elbowing our way through the business. We're not trying to prove or fix anything.
My teacher always used to tell us in class, "Yin yoga is about getting comfortable with discomfort", and it took me a while to really drop into this understanding. But one thing that made me get it, was the comparison to the 12 Step Program saying of "Life on life's terms" - Ahhhhh so that's what she meant. This, I completely get.
When life is sticky, do I run, do I collapse, do I tighten? Or do I breathe, do I soften and do I yield? There's no one answer, and in fact - there's no right answer. But I guess yin gives us insight - it shows us how we react and respond. It shows us where we are not willing to give an inch, and where we let go too much. It's an hour of sitting in stillness with yourself. You can't get much more honest than that (you'd think!).
So at this hectic time of year, when the demands of life are high and we are dreaming and planning for a new year ahead, I'm taking a leaf from yin's book: I'm looking to live life today, on life's terms. And then tomorrow. And then the next day. A day at a time. And on the mat, a breath at a time.
Happy new year, friends xo