My musings on the rising popularity of Yin Yoga
Living in today’s world, in a western culture is becoming more and more crazy. Although we should, theoretically have more free time, as there are machines that do a lot of mundane tasks for us, we seem to have less time. I see people rushing from one thing to another, packing more and more into their days until every hour is spent “doing”. It’s become so alien for us just “to be” we can’t even sit on a bus or to have a coffee or eat without interacting with gadgets. We watch other people’s fun, exciting lives on social media, then go about beating ourselves up for not having the same full on, technicolor life. It seems to me it’s like we are living life as a film, full on with no shots of the mundane or the boring. In fact we probably don’t even do “bored” anymore. I remember hours of being bored as a child, but that’s where eventually my creativity came from, because I stopped. I became still enough to just be and without realising it, tapped into a vast playground if infinite possibilities. Even the words we use to describe even the most basic of things or activities are so over the top “SENSATIONAL” “AMAZING” “AWSOME” “SPECTACULAR”, It’s like we’ve become so addicted to bigger, brighter, faster that there’s now nowhere to go. If your latest purchase or casual evening out with friends was so amazing, awesome, incredible, you’ve reached the top, the ultimate as far a words go to describe your experience. All you can do know if string more of these words together to describe an even more WOW experience.
We’ve also become very “instant”, desires arise and are satisfied almost immediately, so the more we have the more we want. Once we have what we desire, we are onto the next thing because the learning about the desire hasn’t taken place, it’s been instant gratification, and we’ve also then lost the practice of patience. Sally Kempton says “desires have a way of filing the mind with wonderful reasons why you should follow the siren of their song – each time you drop one of these desires, you lessen its grip on you”. The more we are able to pair down, to de clutter, to live more simply, to become less of a throw away, quick turnaround society. The more creative we become, the more we learn to really treasure the items we own. The more we learn to really treasure the people we have in our lives that actually mean something to us, who we literally speak to and connect with in a real sense. Rather than the 698 virtual friends on social media.
The past decade has seen the rise of yoga into the mainstream of life and with that, what has been offered has become faster, brighter, noisier, bigger. So rather than being a slow, unfolding of discovery of oneself, it has become a shiny, showy superficial practice. What has balancing on your arms on a rocky precipice in a bikini AND managing to take a photo of yourself doing it, got to do with self discovery, Dismantling your patterning, your desires, your masks? I’ve been guilty in the past of teaching fast flowing yoga that had more to do with how creatively sequenced the postures and playlist were than guiding students on an inward journey of self discovery and potential change. It required me to change, to then light the way for my students.
But, there are a growing number of people who are slowly waking up out of this, almost drunk, on over stimulation state and wanting space to just be. It’s interesting how many gadgets there are on sale now, which lock your phone up for a specific time. But how sad that people have lost the ability not to succumb to their desires so immediately. There are many who want to listen to
the birds, the ocean waves, the wind in the trees. To stand back from humanity and watch its insanity, to begin to open dusty cupboards within and see what old hurts and sadnesses are
there. To use their time in getting to know themselves through various means. Buzz words of digital detox, unplug in nature, connecting in community are liberally sprinkled in any blurb around time off. I think that the rising popularity of Yin yoga, speaks to this. This practice allows time and stillness to explore within, to connect with what Ekhart Tolle calls SPACE. As one slows down and watches, you learn to slow down and watch in situations off the mat, you allow space in conversations, space in your day to listen to the birds, to fully experience the pleasure in drinking a morning coffee. The practice also connects you to the inner voice and what it has to say. I love how Michale A.Singer calls it the roommate and if you had a physical manifestation of this roommate, you’d probably have throttled him/her by now. Lol. But the Yin practice allows us to observe the rantings, the incessant talking, the constant judgement and criticism of this inner roommate and choose to press the mute button.
The practice, for me, also trains you to accept and be with sensations be they slight or intense, to not give into the desires that might arise; fidgeting, the mind wanting to be entertained; daydreaming or to do lists. I love how this practice works so adeptly with all the Koshas and allows me time to begin to have a relationship with all parts of myself; body, breath, thought, intellect and the deepest, stillness, most joyful part of myself. To be able to realise that the adventure, the happiness, the love is all within.
If you would like to try this very yielding form of yoga, you will find me at Berkhamsted Town Hall on Tuesday evenings 7:30pm – 9pm for Candlelit Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra