From Yang to Yin and all the goodness in between.
By Mysan Sidbo
As a former snowboarding adrenaline junkie who spent a lot of time throwing myself off mountains, the serpentine road down from the sky to the studio has been a long and adventurous one. It all started with knee and back injuries. I was looking for a way to find remedies and ease which, of course, led me to yoga.
I was forever making my life into a competition where the only place to be was as number one and so, feeding on adrenaline,
I started with the hardcore yoga types like Bikram and Hatha vinyasas. But as my practice became more mindful, curiosity led me to delve further into what this yoga business had to offer.
I embarked on a Hatha yoga teacher training diploma for a life-changing year. Hatha yoga is my first love – it opened my mind and heart to feel, explore and enjoy the depths of Me and each moment this amazing universe provides. My yoga world started to expand, integrating into my “normal” world. And as this new world started unfolding, my next destination was Yin yoga. And wow, what a mind-blowingly cool place it is!
What is Yin yoga?
Yin is no new “hype” within yoga. It’s connecting back to the few original poses from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika that the ancient yogis practised to be able to sit in meditation for hours and is based around twenty main poses that give freedom within the joints, bones, ligaments and connective tissue – mainly around the hips, thighbones, lower back and spine.
When practising Yin you work deep into your body, connective tissue and fascia, tendons and ligaments, feeling the movement of bones. You create space within your joints, around your bones, leaving you with a feeling of freedom, lightness and ease.
Added to the mix is mindfulness – the opportunity to fully hang out with You. This is a great gift, because how often do you have time to just be in your own space for five minutes, when all you need to do is to feel into the depth of You and listen to the answers you have within?
Another beautiful benefit gained from practising Yin poses is that you connect in with the meridian lines (energy lines) of the body, reaching deep into the network of these amazing energy lines running through your body and into your organs to nuture health deep within.
Why choose Yin?
I’ve chosen to teach and practise both Yin and Hatha yoga because they work as a pair – yin and yang, sun and moon, hot and cold. We need – in this yang, fast-moving world – the balance of yin. Hatha is yang. It works muscles, it’s heating and rhythmic – a moving, warm, fluid form of yoga where muscles are used and put to action. Yang yoga makes energy flow.
Yin yoga is still, calmer; yet a powerful practice working into the deeper tissues. In Yin you relax the muscles – you work slowly to allow time for these deep tissues to open beyond muscles in to the fascia, massaging into the depth of joints and stimulating the production of synovial fluids to lubricate our joints.
“Yin balances out all the yang in the world. It teaches us to be patient, to focus deep within.”
Yin yoga unblocks energy and fluid stagnation within the meridian lines – the water-rich channels flowing through our bodies. Blocked areas are prone to disease, injuries and pain. Yin yoga allows for free flow through your body. By releasing any blockages or stagnation within you, you aid the flow of energy that the yang practice provides you – you cannot have yang without yin, or yin without yang.
Get some Yin in your life
Sooner or later in each individual practice, teachers and students on their yoga journey reach a point where balance between yin and yang is needed. My teacher Paul Grilley encourages everyone to explore yin – not only in yoga, but in life. Yin balances out all the yang in the world. It teaches us that we need to learn to be patient, learn how to meditate, learn how to be still and focus deep within.
In this fast-paced and materialistic world where life, health and love is taken for granted, Yin yoga – with its stillness and depth and way of quieting the mind – might just provide a different sense for you. A sense of being content, allowing you to appreciate and feel fortunate in this world, exploring the awareness of tolerance, patience, gratitude and kindness. Enabling happiness and love for the world.
Yoga has taught me to seek, explore and be curious. Yin yoga has taught me persistence and patience. It has allowed my body to release 20 years of chronic back pain by daring me to hang out with and understand the discomfort. It has allowed for energy to flow freely within me – it has totally rocked my world.
Mysan Sidbo is a Hatha and Yin yoga teacher. You can join Mysan for classes, workshops and teacher trainings at Qi Health and Yoga (qiyoga.net) or online classes at yogawanderer.com.au. Yin Yoga 100-hour teacher training commences in March 2014. All trainings are listed on mysan.com.au.