The Hidden Secret of Yin Yoga. ~ Sharon K. Cormier

Via Sharon K. Cormieron Oct 13, 2013

yin yoga

Meditation. I know it’s good for me, but sometimes my body and mind refuse to cooperate.

The wild horses in my mind gallop and stomp all over the place while my body begins its own restless little dance as I try and sit still. An itch here, a numbness there, followed by overall twitchiness. It feels like my mind and body are siblings in a never-ending rivalry.

So what to do with these quarreling children of our selves?

For me, it’s yin yoga.

One of the best kept secrets of yin yoga is that it’s really meditation that you do three minutes at a time. Yup. That’s it. Three minutes at a time (or five minutes if you are cranky and tight that day).

Yin yoga is pretty new to the yoga scene. You won’t find it mentioned by Patanjali, but the practice of Yin really does ask us to keep the postures steady and comfortable as suggested in Sutra 2:46.

In 2002, Paul Grilley brought Yin’s message to the yoga community in his book, Yin Yoga: Outline of A Quiet Practice:

“It is not muscular strength that gives us the feeling of ease and lightness in the body, it is the flexibility of the joints, of the connective tissue.”

Yin does this with quiet but powerful poses.

Yin asks us to let our body rest and release in the posture, to gently stretch the connective tissue that forms our joints, to let the tendons and ligaments find their original range of motion that has been constricted by our benign neglect.

The body loves it and responds deeply to the stimulation and movement of energy through the joints, to the gentle massage that holding a posture brings to the inner organs.

What no one talks about is that the busy mind has nowhere to go when we settle in for the three minutes of butterfly pose. And the mind really, really complains. It starts giving you all the reasons why you should be doing the grocery shopping or at least some hot yoga instead of this lame practice of sitting and holding. It natters on for about three poses.

Then something quite wonderful happens. It gives up. The mind settles down. It softly releases its incessant voice with an almost audible sigh. It decides to go with the flow. It stretches and releases. Just like your connective tissue, joints and tendons are doing. The thoughts that show up are kinder, softer and less demanding. They also don’t stay long. They meander on into nothingness, leaving you deeper in the pose.

And it feels wonderful. Almost with no effort you find a place within you that is peaceful and relaxed. Your low back feels warm and open, your hips are loose and your face has let go of its habitual tension. You might even have a soft smile on your face. You find yourself being friendly toward your body and appreciating its movement, restrictions and needs.

This is what yoga wants for you. Union between the body and the mind so you can open to the wonder of being released from stress.

That’s why I love to teach yin yoga. Within the quiet power of a yin practice we meet ourselves fully on the mat as we take time to delve deeply into a posture and listen to what comes up within our emotional world.

When we meet ourselves this way, we see what’s really going on inside us. We have time to appreciate the goodness within us, that which we too often deny because we are busy yelling at our inner selves.

We actually hear our self-talk. And hearing it we may decide to change it, to bring kindness and compassion to our own beautiful selves, to appreciate and honor our human life with all its eccentricities. To befriend who we are.

That is the hidden secret of yin yoga. Meditation.

The whole time you were “doing yin yoga” you were actually meditating, gently moving inward physically and mentally. You were allowing space for stillness. You were totally present.

You were at peace.

Try yin yoga. You just might find yourself.

 

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Assist Ed: Michelle Margaret/Ed: Sara Crolick

About Sharon K. Cormier

Sharon K. Cormier is a RYT 500 yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Tolland, CT. She is the author of Where The Lotus Blooms: Finding Inner Peace through Mindfulness, Yoga and Meditation and co-author (along with Barbara Whitfield) of AFGEs: A Guide to Self-Awareness and Change. Sharon has been practicing and studying Buddhism and yoga for over thirty years. She is a certified yoga therapist, Reiki Master, meditation instructor and workshop leader.

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9 Responses to “The Hidden Secret of Yin Yoga. ~ Sharon K. Cormier”

  1. Jess Hart says:

    I couldn't put it better myself, a lovely writing that ties up with my feelings about the yin practice.

  2. Patty says:

    Thank you for this! I too am a lover of yin yoga and teach it as well. I believe that as much as we need to move and strengthen our bodies, we also need to quiet the body and open it up from the inside out. I have a monkey mind that jumps around all the time, but it quiets down in yin. Cheers to yin!

  3. Karen P. says:

    Beautiful article. I wish I could find a Yin yoga class near me. I have been reading about it for awhile now and know this is what I need. I'm in a small town and there is no one here who even knows what it is. I guess I will have to do some in-depth reading about it.

    • Ellen says:

      Just get Paul Grilley's book to learn from & hone a home practice for yourself!….it works!!

    • Barbara says:

      Check out Bernie Clark's website yinyoga.com! There is a wealth of info on yin yoga there – writings, videos, descriptions of yin asana, link to get his e-book, etc. Bernie's videos are great – he delivers information in a fun, engaging way. He also shows you how to use props if you need some support. yinyoga.com is a good place to start as a beginner. Download Bernie's e-book Yinsights if you want to dive in to yin yoga deeper. I'm a yin teacher and also recommend Sarah Power's wonderful Insight Yoga book as a resource.

  4. Jessica says:

    Such a great article! It makes so much sense. I want to learn Yin Yoga.

  5. Sheila says:

    Love it! I’ve practice few times yin yoga by myself, and always wish I could get more information and videos about it!

  6. Kelly Girl says:

    Such a inspiration-I had "forgotten: about Yin- It is as you say, a place where peace is found. Thanks for the reminder Sharon.

  7. You nailed it!! Well put and so true.

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