Our lives are often spent rushing and chasing around. We are always on the go. I know I have the speedy London walk and by nature I’m fairly impatient and impetuous. To be still is hard. To maintain a level of attention is also a challenge. And to not get caught up comparing myself to someone else.
We have to let go of thinking, “I can’t do this…” or “I used to be able to do that…”, I encourage people approach their practice as “here I am right here in this body, right now as it actually is.”
Yin yoga gives us a chance to slow down. It gives us the chance to take our time. It gives us the chance to create space where we can be more aware of how distracted we can be.
Yin is a very soft, slow form of yoga. It gives us time to be more gentle to ourselves. It can be a great antidote to the rest of our busy lives. In western culture it’s all about striving for the goal and we push ourselves too hard. And there’s always more goals. Where does it end?
We need to be gentle with ourselves whilst also applying a bit of a push. When someone’s doing a dance class, they can be far less striving and goal orientated than someone doing a yoga class. It’s about what we bring to the situation. It’s about working on ourselves and transformation.
Yin has really helped to open my body. When I first started yoga I was stiff. I know there’s teachers who come from a place where they’re naturally really gifted in their bodies, but I wasn’t one of them. It can be an asset to experience stiffness, a lack of coordination, difficulty with body parts and injuries. It allows you to see how much potential there is for change. I enjoy how yoga adds awareness to the way I live my life and the way I interact with those around me.
There’s a book written about a Buddhist nun called Tenzin Palmo: ‘A Cave in the Snow’ and she talked about how great it would be if when we meet people on the street, our first thought were: “may they be happy and well”. Not judging them on the way they look or the clothes they’re wearing. Not thinking “I don’t like you” or “you remind me of so and so”. It’s these unconscious conversations in our head.
Part of the practice is becoming aware of these conversations and just seeing people and things for their natural beauty. For me yoga is a process of exploration: Where is my mind right now? Where am I feeling this pose in my body? And the stillness of yin yoga allows you to come into relationship with these thoughts and feelings. We’re often so separate from our bodies. I enjoy the process of becoming aware.
And that’s why I enjoy yin yoga.
Norman has been practicing yoga since the early 1990s and started teaching in 2001. He has years of experience of teaching yin yoga in the UK and weaves this wonderful practice with his own background of ashtanga and meditation to be create a potent mix. http://www.yogawithnorman.co.uk