I’m still on the yoga train and really enjoying it. I’d forgotten what is was like to really enjoy a form of working out. I played basketball through high school and loved it. I played pick-up ball whenever I could and spent hours practicing hook shots and lay-ups in my driveway at home. (For those of you that know me this may be quite a shock).
Yoga is a completely different workout. It may be the most “me” intensive thing I’ve ever done. You start with your breathing and the positions take a lot of concentration so it shuts off everything else for me. It’s just me and my body. It feels healthy and self-indulgent at the same time. I still watch the clock a bit (old habits are hard to break) but I find myself being surprised how fast time goes by rather than feeling anxious to get it over with.
I tried “Yin Yoga” this week and it was a new experience. Rather than the emphasis being pushing your body and creating heat through the poses, it’s about holding poses and experiencing them. You get in a simple pose (at least for beginner like me), find a comfortable position (unlike other forms of yoga there’s no emphasis put on having your body in the exact right way), and then you stay in that position for several minutes (only breaking it if you feel pain).
It’s really good for making you more flexible (which I am not at all) and it is an interesting mental experience. I learned that I really dislike forward folding positions, I have a very negative emotional reaction. This may be because they’re really difficult for me due to my lack of flexibility and they make me feel physically vulnerable. On the other hand, Backwards bends make me feel really good.
Yin Yoga also asks you to let go of judgement which for someone like me is a good exercise. There was some music playing in the studio above us and I was just thinking to myself “oh my god, that sounds terrible, so glad I’m not up there” when my teacher told me to let it flow through me without judgement and basically ignore it. This also applies to things that you feel like you’re not physically good at. You’re supposed to let it go, feel the strain and reactions physically, but not pass judgement on it. So I noticed that my back is much tighter on my right side and my right thigh is tighter (less flexible) than my left. The idea of Yin is to acknowledge the physical sensations of this, but not think of it in a negative way.
I found it to be really relaxing and an interesting experience. I can be a pretty self-conscious person and my thoughts also tends to race at a very high speed, so not only was it helpful to stretch out physically, but it was a good exercise to slow things down mentally and let things go.