News | 17th June 2020
Yin & Yang, balancing the scales.
You’ve probably all heard of Yin-Yang, and would be familiar with the symbol for it. But where does this symbol come from & what does it mean?
It originates from Taoist philosophy.. like the ‘flow-state’ concept I talked about a few weeks back.
A starting definition: Yin / Yang: Two halves that together complete wholeness. Yin and yang are also the starting point for change. When something is whole, by definition, it’s unchanging and complete. So when you split something into two halves – yin/yang, it upsets the equilibrium of wholeness. Both halves are chasing after each other as they seek a new balance with each other.
The word Yin comes out to mean “shady side” and Yang “sunny side”.
Yin Yang is the concept of duality forming a whole. We encounter examples of Yin and Yang every day. As examples: night (Yin) and day (Yang), female (Yin) and male (Yang). Over thousands of years, quite a bit has been sorted and grouped under various Yin Yang classification systems.
*Extract/to read the full article click here
This Saturday 20th marks our Solstice, the longest day of the year. A chance to celebrate Summer, nature and you.
To mark the solstice we have a weekend of Yin-Yang with a double dose of Helen. Yang-flow with myself to uplift on Saturday morning, and then on Sunday morning we will slow it down & soak up the solstice with some Yin yoga. This class will be led by the fabulous Helen-Olivia, aka Heart & Soul Flow. Here’s a little yin-sight from Helen to introduce this beautiful practice.
Yin Yoga. So what is it really all about?
Well, you’ve probably heard of Yin Yang before and even be able to identify the black and white symbol represented by this, but what does it really mean, and how does it translate in a Yoga practice? There are many many layers to this intriguing, ancient, yet modern style of practice. Let’s start with apply the term to our own lives.
In the world we live in now, so many demands are placed upon us. It can lead us to live very fast paced, highly demanding lives where expectations run high on delivery of results, output, productivity. In many countries our success is measured upon how busy our schedules are; be that, Mum of the household doing all the chores, or CEO of your Company. All of this has a huge and cumulative effect on the nervous system which is designed to need both action & rest.
This way of living is heavily dominated by Yang energy, it’s active, fast paced. Your gym session is Yang, your Vinyasa class is Yang. All of this leaves our nervous system over-stimulated & contributes to burnout. We need both Yin and Yang to be in balance, to live in harmony.
Yin is our saviour. Yin teaches you to slow down, to yield into the moment, to be with whatever there is, to become the observer of your thoughts, to become mindful. When we practice Yin, through a series of long held floor based postures, we dance between effort and ease to find our edge and play with that, in stillness. Yes, stillness, that thing we don’t give ourselves enough of, for many reasons. Time, awkwardness, can’t switch off, can’t sit with ourselves, Yin is there to carry it all. Yin is yielding, forgiving, nurturing, intuitive, it’s the feminine energy. But why does holding postures for longer have any benefits? Now, this is where science merges with mystery and gets really interesting.
We hold for a few reasons. One is to physically target Fascia. Fascia is all the connective tissues in the body. Thin layers of deep deep tissue, a web of collagenous matrix which holds together your whole body. Joints, ligaments, bones, organs, are all held in place by fascia & connective tissues, it gives you shape and form and permeates the whole body. Your yang practice does not target this connective tissue, it targets the muscles. When you target your Fascia, you hydrate, stretch and enliven the areas which can become more rigid with age, i.e. the joints. So this practice is one to carry you through your life.
Fascia-nated? (sorry) Well, that’s just the start..
In addition to the physical benefits, it runs much deeper, we also work with energy lines (meridian lines), ever heard of the Chakra system? This is the energy body. When we experience trauma in our lives, we tend to stash it energetically within us, deep within the tissues and energetic rivers which flow through us, or in many cases, they stop flowing, they become blocked and this can manifest as physical ailments. In Chinese meridian theory, we learn that as we become consumed with certain emotions, this translates physically as taxing our organs of vital essence energy. Our organs relate to certain emotional energies . For example, when we feel fearful, we may feel lower back pain, when actually it’s our Kidneys being drained of vital energy (chi), the organ affected by fear. We store grief emotionally in the lungs. In one of my recent workshops, I had a beautiful woman, recently recovering from her husbands passing, became sick with grief and as a result it manifested in asthma, she fell aghast upon this realisation when making the connection. Just a few examples.
When we start to understand this, when something does come up in practice, it becomes easier to accept, observe, understand it, and let it pass. The beauty of this is that we learn to become emotionally resilient. Isn’t that such a gift, to learn to observe the emotions as they rise, rather than acting upon it, we learn to sit with it, get curious, love ourselves through the whole tidal waves of emotional process. What could be a more rewarding benefit than this, and offer so much support in taking these lessons off the mat into our daily lives.
I believe Yin is courageous, it’s healing, it’s supportive, it’s calming, it’s cleansing, it’s self care & therefore self love.
We hope you can join us both this weekend as we celebrate the Summer Solstice together with a wonderful balance of Yin & Yang.