In my usual attempt to go at solving something from multiple angles I have been to my first ever yoga class. I got some great advice from a colleague and learnt that were at least two types of yoga…Yin and Yang.
It was recommend I try Yin yoga. A type of yoga that is slow and based mostly on the mat. Considered the cooler form of yoga, where you hold single poses for three to five minutes, a form of yoga which focuses on targeting the deep fibres of our bodies and being. A great emotional and physical release.
I was a little nervous before hand but encouraged along by Chris to stretch my comfort zone I got together my mat and towel and booked onto a local class.
I was greeted by a lovely lady whom gave me some blocks, cushions and a long round pillow. She was very welcoming and showed me through to a quiet room where a few people were already led down on their mats resting. I sat on my mat in silence in the middle of the room waiting for the session to start.
We were directed through a number of different poses. All fairly easy and the teacher was great at instructing us in easier adaptions if we were struggling. The idea is not to push yourself, but just find the edge of that stretch and hold it.
We worked one side of the body first and I was amazed as we led flat on our backs just how different my one side felt. I had not noticed during the holds but the one half of my body was almost fizzing like a bottle of pop and felt noticeably looser. It was lovely.
For 90% of the class it was heaven, listening to relaxing music, low lighting. Lots of guided relaxation and letting go emotionally and physically. Then came the butterfly!
Dam I was not expecting what hit me but I suppose I should not have been entirely surprised. I felt so exposed and I found myself doing my silent crying. (I think I have mastered silent crying). I don’t think anyone noticed.
Reflecting on the experiences with Chris he was surprised I had my eyes shut, so much during the class. I explained to him that I led there running through all my escape options in my head…get up and leave, sit bolt up right in silence…. I thought running through options at the time was good and helped alleviate a sense of being trapped. I was reminding myself I had places I could go. But having reflected with Chris he rightly pointed out it was still a bit of flight or fight response.
Chris advised in future I should definitely have my eyes open more, to help ground myself in the present. To remind myself that the feelings are miss placed and focus on a detail in the room. I am sure that some instructors would suggest the release of emotions was good, I can imagine for some at times it is. For me just starting this journey and trying to carefully navigate leaning to engage with all sorts of feelings I will be taking it more slowly in future.
I have attended one more class since and I made sure for those more exposing positions my eyes were open. Now either because I was more aware of it or because the teacher noticed my eyes open more, she definitely offered a lot of instruction to shut them. “You can reduce brain effort my 20% if you shut your eyes.” “You can relax more easily if you shut your eyes.” The list went on. But we are all adults and I knew that my eyes needed to be open for some of it, so I just varied my approach and it worked really well.
Overall I think Yoga is my new addiction. Yin yoga can be described as the form of yoga between meditation and yoga. It was definitely a class I think anyone without experience could easily do, you don’t even need to be in shape. Hugely recommend you give it a try. It was very different to any gym style sessions I have been to before, worth looking for a teacher who is amazing.