Yoga means to unify — and it unifies everything that represents us to make a whole. And if our wholeness consists of a yin (passive, serene, quiet) side, surely the other half is yang (active, flowing, moving).
For many, many years, my practice almost always was yang — vinyasa (consisting of fluid, flowing motions that transition from one to the other. It was only in the last year and a half that I got introduced to my new love – yin yoga.
I’ve been doing nothing but yin yoga for many months now. Whether in class at Beyond Yoga or at home, I would always choose to attend yin yoga class. I felt I needed it. It nurtured me. It quieted noise inside me coming from many circumstances beyond my control. Monica’s words were always like balm for my soul. Many times, I would end up in tears while in class and I knew that many of the negative energies surrounding me were being cleansed and detoxed from my body.
Tonight, I did home practice again but for some reason, although I had practised yin yoga the other day, my body today said it wanted something more energetic. So for the first time in so long, I did a vinyasa practice.
I was psyching myself up for difficulty. After all, vinyasa meant I had to do several chaturangas. Surprisingly, all went well. I lacked strength in my arms, definitely. But it wasn’t as bad as I expected. In fact, I enjoyed my return to vinyasa.
But you know what? When I did the heart opening exercises like the Camel, tears flowed for a short while. And I remembered that my tears during vinyasa practice years back always happened when I was in a heart-opening position. At this point in my life, I know that many hurts and pains related to the heart are like open wounds across my soul and these are brought to the surface by yoga, most especially during the heart openers. But tears have a way of healing, cleansing and preparing me to let go, let go, let go. One day, I will learn to totally let go. And just be.
After I was done with my vinyasa practice, I had time to think about how I could customize and innovate on my home practice.
If yin-yang were indeed 2 equal parts of a whole, why can I not combine my practice to incorporate yin and vinyasa in one session? YINyasa!
Excited, I began to google and found out that in the U.S., there are indeed a few classes that combine these 2 styles.Yeah, why not?
I think I will experiment with YINyasa both ways. One day, I will do yin first (to stretch tissues, open up the hips, create spaces and remove blockages to energy flows) in preparation for the active vinyasa. Maybe 30 minutes of yin followed by an hour of vinyasa would do. And then in another session, I might start with vinyasa and end with yin so that my end-of-day can be quiet, relaxed and meditative.
If you are a yoga teacher who has done a combination of yin and vinyasa in one class, I would love to hear your thoughts and inputs for my practice.
Love and Light….