Method

YIN/ YANG NATURE

According to the Taoist tradition, natural phenomena are described in terms of Yin/ Yang, opposed forces, extremities, and polarities. Phenomena described as Yin in nature are those that are more stable, less movement, dark, cold and at times calming. Yang like phenomena have movement, light and clear, hot and with more energy. As per this tradition, we do live in a relative reality, without absolutes, where interdependence prevails. That is the reason for the Ying/Yang symbol (below photo), where there are qualities of balance, continuity, no beginning nor end; which explains that all phenomena are in transformation, impermanent and constant evolution.

WHAT IS CHI?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as other eastern tradition practices, define chi (also refered as qi) to a ‘vital energy/ life firce’. Chi is not measured in electric units, chemical equations, neither by emotions nor thoughts. Nevertheless natural phenomena are believed to be manifestations of the so-called vital energy or chi. The Yin Yoga practice may bring different body sensations, which translate to greater body (and mind!) flexibility. This practice, is associated with the unblocking of energy channels (meridians as called in the TCM), therefore chi flows more freely.

YIN YOGA

The Yin Yoga practice differs from other practices of yoga as it has a passive and silent characteristic, which stimulates introspection and self-observation. One of the objectives of the practice is to complement physical activities, which are more dynamic in nature (Yang). The intention of the practice is to focus on tissues of Yin quality, like the connective tissues. The way we work through our connective tissue is different from the work done in our muscles. The connective tissue does not respond so quickly as the muscles and here lies the need to exercise them both in a distinct way. Instead of repetitive and dynamic sessions such as the ones we do with muscles, during the Yin practice, students remain in a posture for 2 to 5 minutes and with all muscles relaxed. Some say it is an exercise of traction (using the body orientation and gravity) and time in the postures, so that the connective tissue is able to slowly move, in a safe way.

During the practice, most times, the focus is on postures that target the lumbar and hips, so to create space and let them open and flexible. This ‘openness’ of the lumbar and hip region brings benefits to the practice of meditation (seated), which is done with more ease and stability. The other objective of the practice is to unwind from a fast routine, dedicate time and restore/ preserve energy, a time for contemplation and introspection, an hour dedicated for the body and mind. This ‘time’ is many times set aside with our conditioning to always be busy doing something (glorifying the busy!). Sometimes we do not know how tired we are until we stop, and give space of us to JUST BE.

Since the practice is less dynamic than a practice which is Yang in nature, many times the class focuses on silence, and on body and mind connection. During the practices, we observe the mental states and physical sensations, with the intention to bring mindfulness and attention to the experience, and at the same time cultivating non-attachment. We understand then the nature of impermanence, where sensations, thought and memories come and go. A parallel can be drawn to the clouds in the sky, which continue to float through the sky, similar to out thoughts and emotions in our daily lives.

Morgan Romano

Yoga Instructor

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YIN YOGA