My Love Affair with Yin

The Hero's Blog

When I left my Yin class I had a huge smile on my face. I was brought back to the first Yin class I ever attended which was during a retreat in Costa Rica with one of my favorite teachers.  Now, you have to understand that years ago, when my mother first convinced me to try a yoga class…I thought I would die of boredom. We barely moved. How was this exercise? I know NOW that yoga is not about exercise….but back then it was pure torture. I couldn’t wait to leave.

The IDEA of yoga stuck with me though. My mother was dedicated. I watched her grow and change and I knew there had to be something to it. So when she told me about this “Hot” Bikram Yoga studio that was opening, I thought….ah….. Heat…….. that will add some excitement and make me sweat. And it did. I loved it. I did it religiously at least 3 times a week. I became “good enough” to be in the front row, I watched myself in the poses, and was scolded if I lay down to rest. I continued to push myself and go more often and didn’t stop even when I twice fainted in the shower afterwards. I was getting good at this.
But wait, (my mother said) pushing yourself that hard is not what yoga is about either. I was confused and curious. So, when another hot yoga studio opened near my house. I switched allegiances and started going there. Moksha Yoga is less hot and less rigid. We worked as hard but in a different way. We “power” flowed and sweat A LOT, but I learned new postures and expanded my practice. And I was taught, for the first time, to pay attention to my breathing. Again as I improved, I put myself in the front of the class to watch my progress in the mirror. I loved this. I was working hard and doing what I thought was yoga. I loved the people at the studio and decided to join them on their retreat.

The Costa Rica trip had a group of wonderful women and yoga galore. I thought I knew what to expect. And mostly, I got it…but one night…they threw something different at us. YIN. I had no idea what it was. I had found a fast moving yoga that I loved and now we were expected to stay in a pose for several MINUTES….without moving. Just sitting and breathing and “surrendering” ?? What the hell was this?
I was not pleased. I was cursing my teachers in my head. What kind of a cruel joke were they playing? I cried. I really did. My legs went numb and I cried. It hurt and I cried. People can’t really LIKE this can they? I was so happy when we were released from that class and went back to our comfortable routine the next day.
I remember at the end of the retreat going to sit with my teachers, and asking for feedback. I was stunned by what they said. It is imprinted in my brain “Tracey, you are strong, you are very flexible and you can do all of the poses. Now start doing YOGA”. WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? Please Explain……..and they did.

When I got back home, I decided to take their advice. I started placing myself in the back of the room, away from the mirror. I looked inward instead of at what was going on around me. I paid less attention to how far I could go into a pose and more to my breathing. I gave myself permission to slow down and honor what my body was telling me each day. I actually felt more calm, centered and grounded every class I took. Now it was all making sense. It was time to take the leap.
I went willingly back to YIN. I kept going back and I learned to let my body go and release its deeply hidden tensions. I allowed my mind to wander without scolding myself. I learned to look at a thought and just let it go by. I even grew so relaxed at times that I lost track of where I was until the teacher’s voice reigned me back in. I felt the benefits of total surrender to myself.
I learned to do yoga. I learned to love Yin.


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