Return to Yin Yoga

16 Feb

I don’t do much stretching.  Of course I put my personal training clients through a series of stretches at the end of each session.  But left on my own, I spend very little time stretching…unless I’m injured.  Then I give it my full attention.

It’s not always been that way.  Several times, I’ve been determined to get more flexible and have focused on a good stretching program.  The trouble is, I never seem to get more flexible, so I give up.  I’d rather take a resistance movement through a deeper range of motion than “lie around stretching”.

That being said, I am curious to see what my month of yoga have done for my flexibility. Returning to the Yin Yoga class will be a good indicator.  Allowing the body to relax into a pose for 2-3 minutes at a time is a true test of flexibility.  We start with a series of small hip joint movements and mindful breathing, making note after each movement of how our bodies respond.  I’m surprised to see the tension I hold in my hips and back begin to disappear and I feel like I’m melting into the mat.

Our first posture is the Pigeon pose.  How the heck did they name this pose?  The only way a pigeon could get into this position is if it was squashed on your windshield.  A month ago, this pose was more than slightly uncomfortable and I used a large bolster to prop my head.  Tonight I glide into position, fully relaxed with my head on the floor.  Hmmm….that’s interesting.

We move from position to position, breathing, allowing the body to fully relax, getting past the muscle tightness into the deeper connective tissue.  I’ve hardly had to rely on the bolsters and blocks to prop my body.  This is a very different experience than my first Yin Yoga class, just 4 weeks ago. And the really good news – I haven’t had my usual aches, pains and injuries since starting yoga.  I’m beginning to understand why so many of my friends have embraced yoga.  I’m committed to fully integrating yoga into my fitness practice.  You never know – I may even get “centered”.

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