Writings

Yin-The stillness where compassion is born


I took my first Yin yoga class in 2009. I had previously been practicing Ashtanga up until I got pregnant, during pregnancy I disconnected with that more vigorous yoga form and let myself loose on the mat. When practicing without having an agenda, I was suddenly exposed to long stretches of time where I didn't know where to go next, so I stayed minutes, instead of breaths, in positions that felt friendly towards my whopping 18 extra kilos. And I loved it. It felt like an intelligent merger between the physical aspect of yoga and sitting meditation. I spent so much time on my mat during pregnancy so I got used to and fell in love with this more spacious, considerate way of practicing.
Yin-The stillness where compassion is born
After I had Iomi, I lost track of physical Yoga altogether, I kept meditating but the sheer exhaustion of those first steps of motherhood were taxing and confusing so for the first time in many years I didn't care to maintain a mat practice. Then Igor gave me a workshop in Yin yoga with a teacher called Sarah Powers. When I read the description of what a Yin yoga class was, it felt like it would reconnect me with the way I had practiced during pregnancy and I was so looking forward to it. We started on a friday evening with Sphinx pose (where you are prone resting the weight of your body on your forearms, like a sphinx), for 5 minutes. Sphinx pose had nothing to do with the soft restorative asanas I had held for long periods of time during pregnant yoga, it was hell! My back was screaming 5 minutes in to the class and I had to be there for 4 hours. Yikes! The second position was...Sphinx, another 5 minutes. I thought I was going to die. Damn that was painful. Now not only my back felt like throwing in the towel but also my shoulders, my arms, my mind...Of course had I been a little less proud and not felt the external pressure of being a yoga teacher in that same studio that hosted the workshop, I could have eased myself out of pose a bit earlier and not made a big deal about it, but I was, and I was. It was incredibly intense, I was sweating heaps, keeping game face on so that nothing was revealed, but inside of me there were real violence going on. Plotting of different ways to hurt the teacher, Igor and anyone remotely responsible for bringing me here. Feeling contempt and envy when looking around the room to everyone else that also had game face on and seemed to do fine. It was truly a revelation. At the end of the 4 hour marathon class I was exhausted, I thought that surely I would be in so much pain the next day that I would not be able to attend the second session, and was secretly sighing in relief, but as I woke up the morning after there was, to my surprise, no pain. I got intrigued, how come I felt no pain when it had been so excruciating the day before, and how come despite all that effort my overall feeling in the body was remarkably? So, with more open curiosity I went back. Same painful experience, but this time I managed to breathe and calm my mind enough so I could investigate the pain, cry a little from it and relate to it more fully. And understood how brillliant the practice was, how it related directly to the experience of compassion.

Continue reading tomorrow...

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