“It is not enough to simply take a step; that step needs to take us in the right direction and be made the right way.” –The Heart of Yoga
I’m a yoga teacher and there are many ways I like to exercise but yoga isn’t at the top of my list for a hardcore or adventurous workout. The risk of injury is too high, and the intense mainstream practice doesn’t leave me time for inner peace.
Yoga for me is a therapy for health and wellness. It includes body maintenance: stretching my muscles, tendons and fascia so they don’t get tight which keeps me flexible and helps alleviate aches and pains. Using poses as resistance training to keep myself strong, like Plank. But mostly, I love healing my nervous system, turning off stress hormones and quieting the mind; it’s pure bliss. This healing form of yoga is my best friend when I don’t feel well or have an injury and I need restoration. When I need a retreat from the fast pace of life, when I need comfort from the trials of the world, healing yoga is my inner sanctuary where I unite with God and feel peace.
We live in a Yang dominated world, now more than ever. It’s all go, go, go. The focus is on acquiring more, moving faster, doing more faster. The world spins with a constant grabbing for bigger and better and often times rest, play and simplicity are trampled by fierce material ambition. Slower-paced Yin-type yoga says no to this rat race attitude, and instead values grace, gratitude and mindfulness. Yin Yoga is the slow-moving tortoise who wins the race. The prize is calm wellness versus frenzied mania and prescription-managed stress.
Yang personalities are leaders, always on the go, used to making lots of decisions, and find it very difficult, and not challenging enough, to simply be still. They are in the mindset of achieving through ego, always working toward something. Yin-type yoga asks us to receive through surrendering, and intuitively connecting within. With this kind of yoga, you aren’t focused on what you’re going to achieve, you’re focused on what you can release.
As technology keeps evolving, it will become even more important to learn how to slow down and quiet your mind and body. Electromagnetic pollution from computers, tablets, phones and TV’s can make you feel wired, drained, irritable and even cause insomnia and other health issues. Gentle, Restorative and Yin yoga are highly effective exercises to reset your mind and body and be calm so you can carry on.