I share the following passage by Mark Nepo with my Yin students quite often because to me it is the essence of what Yin is all about. For those who are newer to Yin or have never tried it; Yin is the perfect balance to Yang yoga, Yang exercise, and our Yang way of living. Yang is the fast paced, bright, loud side of ourselves, and is the white side of the taoist Yin and Yang circular symbol. It is the way most of us live our lives and the “busy-ness” that is often glorified.
Yin is the slow, quiet, deeper parts of ourself that is often neglected; the black side of the circle. So when we practice Yin yoga we hold postures for up to 5 minutes in stillness which allows us to get deeper into our bodies; past our muscles and into the fascia tissue, joints and bones. Although there are many physical benefits to the practice, the real benefit comes from being able to just sit and practice being instead of doing, and allowing ourselves to drop out of a place of thinking and into a place of feeling. Sitting in stillness and breathing through the discomfort that arises during the long held postures allows us to practice mindfulness and moves us deeper into the quieter, more contemplative, Yin side of ourselves. Most of us in the West need this practice in slowing down so that we do not deplete ourselves and keep our energies balanced, therefore whether you practice Yin or not, this is a passage for you to ponder.
At the Pace of What is Real
“Stop talking, stop thinking, and there is nothing you will not understand”
Like most people I know, I struggle with taking too much on, with doing too many things, with moving too fast, with overcommitting, with over planning. I’ve learned that I must move, quite simply at the pace of what is real. While the pace may vary, life always seems vacant and diminished when I accelerate beyond my capacity to feel what is before me.
It seems we run our lives like trains, speeding along a track laid down by others, going so fast that what we pass blurs on by. Then we say we’ve been there, done that. The truth is that blurring by something is not the same as experiencing it.
So, no matter how many wonderful opportunities come my way, no matter the importance placed on these things by others who have my best interests at heart, I must somehow find a way to slow down the train that is me until what I pass by is again seeable, touchable, feel-able. Otherwise, I will pass by everything – can put it all on my resume – but will have experienced and lived through nothing.
Author: Kim Olmstead, 2017 Victoria Yoga Conference Ambassador