Yin Yoga – Slowing Down the Practice

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My practice has always included a lot of active, strong Vinyasa flows or the challenge of a Bikram class in the hot room. As of late, I’ve realized I need to broaden my practice and slow down a bit. This winter has been so cold (until just this week) and it makes me want to curl up in a ball on the couch or in a blanket fort. This has encouraged me to take my yoga practice to the blanket fort and incorporate some slower classes more, such as restorative and Yin yoga.

I wanted to try a Yin class first and I decided to try a 60-minute Yin class on YogaGlo called “Yinspiration” taught by Carole Westerman. The class was designed to ‘get you out of your rut’ and get you to try some new transitions from pose to pose. I have come to really appreciate Yin yoga as a counter balance to my very active and busy life. The opportunity to pause in a pose and develop a deeper understanding of the pose and its relationship to my body has been refreshing to me and has positively affected my personal practice.

In terms of this class…I didn’t love it. I thought the ‘creative’ transitions were a little too creative and disrupted from the overall flow of the practice. Maybe that was the point, and maybe I wasn’t in the right mind for it, but it didn’t work for me. This class challenged me- some of the holds felt reallllllllly long and I wanted to move out of them, but forced myself to hold on, which was good for me and something I need to do more of in all areas of my life. It’s hard to stay with the discomfort when you can easily get out of it, particularly when you are taking an online class and no one else is there to provide the peer pressure to stick it out.

Aside from the funky transitions, I thought Westerman’s cuing was solid and I didn’t find myself having to look up at the screen much to get into the actual pose. Her pacing was good and I didn’t feel rushed. She included some interesting poses that I haven’t done in a Yin class before, and I felt really stretched and relaxed afterward. I plan to include more Yin classes in my regular practice. It is so easy to keep doing a regular vinyasa class like I always do, but sometimes, especially during these winter months, to slow down and try a slower practice.

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Jensen and Bentley encouraging me to slow down a bit.

So if you’re in the mood to slow down a bit and try something new, I would recommend a Yin yoga class, either online or if you can find an in-person class near you.

 

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone: Barre Class

I joked to The Hubs that I was “going to the bar tomorrow at 630am.” He looked at me with concern for a second, only then to ask, “What bar is open at 630am HERE?” He had a point. There are no bars open at 630am in the area of rural NH where we live. I wasn’t go to drown my sorrows in booze, I was going to a barre workout class.

I am a regular attendee at inferno hot pilates at my Bikram yoga studio, so barre shouldn’t have felt too far out of my comfort zone. It was at a studio I had never been to, but a friend had a free pass for me if I went with her, so I figured, “why the hell not?”

Well, it was really freaking hard. Like REALLY HARD. Who would have thought that tiny little movements would burn so damn much? Now I have an even greater respect for the athletes and artists who call themselves a ballerinas. I mean, holy shit, my legs were jello by the end of class. When I had to do the stairs at work later in the day, it was torturous.

We did ab moves, leg moves, arm moves, booty moves. Some at the barre, some not. Some with a squishy ball behind our backs or between our knees, some not. None of the movements were big, they were all tiny, torturous pulses that burned every muscle in my body. I hated it while I was doing it, but I loved it when we were done.

What I really liked about it was the realization I had when I was walking out of the studio after with my friend: I didn’t even hesitate to say yes to going when she invited me. Five years ago I probably wouldn’t have done it. I would have been too anxious, too consumed with What Ifs to get myself to the studio. I was still out of my comfort zone- I know NOTHING about barre workouts- so I didn’t really know what I had agreed to.

Will I go back? Probably. I have a regular pass at two studios already, so I don’t see myself plunking down the cash to get a regular pass at another studio, but I would go back again to take barre. It was a great low-impact workout and I felt the burn!

~Namaste