I’m playing a Minimalism Game this month and getting rid of excess stuff every day of the month. → Minimalism Game
I started following these Minimalists when I watched a documentary called “MINIMALISM” on Netflix a few months ago.
In my opinion, this documentary is a MUST SEE and a MUST PRACTICE in this day and age when we are overloaded with STUFF and STIMULATION from every direction.
When I watched this documentary I realized that my Yin Yoga practice is a way of practicing MINIMALISM in my body.
The reason is because when I put myself in a Yin Yoga pose to stretch or “stress” a certain part of my body, I use the minutes I spend in that pose to let go of excess holding and gripping that I unconsciously accumulate in my body so that my body can slooooooowly release into gravity.
The other reason it feels like a minimalism in my body is because when I am in a Yin Yoga pose and release the NEED to feel strong and obvious sensations I get when I pull myself into a stretch in a YANG (muscular) way, I get to enjoy the more simple and subtle sensations that arise as I just watch what happens as I take each easy breath while I am in the pose.
Oh, and speaking of simple and subtle sensations… the feeling when I come out of the pose, which my teacher Paul Grilley calls “the rebound” and I sometimes call “the aftertaste” … it is the MOST subtle yet magical sensations that are changing moment to moment and cannot be described in words. The total opposite of the overstimulating sensations you get when you are doing a very muscular movement or exercise.
I was born with a naturally flexible body (thank you mom and dad) and I admit that strengthening my body balances out all the flexibility I have.
Some people see how flexible my body is and ask me “do you even need to stretch more when you are already flexible?”
When I used to stretch my body only in a more of a YANG (muscular) way by pulling myself into certain stretches I feel like I was more numb to these subtle sensations that I am more sensitive to now.
Five years ago I went to my first Yin Yoga teacher training with Paul and Suzee Grilley. I remember we were in Saddle Pose to stretch the quadriceps and Paul walked up to me and asked, “Is this the best way for you to stretch your quadriceps?”
Up until that moment, I had never practiced in a way of letting the sensations of my body be the leader to create my own unique Yoga pose to get the function of stretching certain parts of my body.
I had always created a shape that looks like a certain Yoga pose and made sure I was doing it “correctly” and because of my natural flexibility I could do a lot of these Yoga poses that required a lot of flexibility.
Now I allow my Yoga practice to be a way to connect to all these different colorful sensations that are present in my body and it has made my love for Yoga Asana practice even greater. It truly feels like a communication with my body when I am making sure I am listening to the feedback that my body is sending me as I move or hold myself in a Yoga pose.
And becoming more sensitive to these different sensations in my body that ONLY I could feel, I can say, YES even if I was born with a flexible body I do need to stretch every day because I can feel where and how I am getting tighter in certain parts of my body, and I’ve also noticed my “holding patterns” in my body from being still and passive with my Yin practice.
My habitual place to grip and hold is in my neck, jaw, and skull and when I practice relaxing these areas it feels like it relaxes my whole body. I jokingly say it is “natural botox” when I practice letting go of all the fascial expressions I make in my daily life.
In this day and age when we are always wanting MORE and MORE, which includes body sensations too… STRONGER body, MORE flexible body, IMPRESSIVE looking Yoga poses, being passive in a Yin Yoga pose and just practicing relaxing and being still for minutes at a time might seem boring and a waste of time to some people…
But just the way getting rid of excess stuff in my house allows me to feel clear and appreciate what I cherish, I love my Yin Yoga practice because it allows me the time to practice feeling what it feels like to live in my own body without having to DO MORE, and to be comfortable being with my own body and my own thoughts.
This is my own unique experience that I feel in my own unique body that I have in this life time.
I will be co-leading a retreat this September and teaching Yin Yoga in the evenings. Click here for more information and to sign up → Retreat Website