Mostly we did Dynamic Yoga at Kaliyoga. Years ago, I interviewed Godfrey Devereux, who popularized this flowing form of yoga and joined one of his classes. He tried to warn me, poor chap: he advised that I start off with a beginner’s class but I ignored his gentle suggestion. I was pretty fit, I said, and had done a lot of yoga on and off. Foolish idiot! (me, not Godfrey) Within minutes I was gasping for air, sweat pouring down my body. I backed out the class after about twenty minutes.
Anyhow. Lelly’s brand of Dynamic yoga was much less athletic, far more gentle and soothing. But even so, she said she wanted to introduce us to something yet more gentle, far more passive yet still hugely powerful. Yin yoga.
Instead of moving swiftly and even aggressively through postures, Yin yoga holds poses passively, still, for at least five minutes. Lelly explained it works deeply on the energy of the body, as well as providing deep stretching of the fascia (connective tissue) and massaging the internal organs. We did sessions to support the liver, kidneys and gallbladder.
But, above all, I felt Yin yoga really reminds us that yoga is not about gymnastics, it’s not about striving, about being competitive (either with others or oneself). It’s a preparation, a warm-up for meditation or, more accurately maybe, a meditation in itself. Postures, held for relatively long periods of time, have a profound effect on the mind – they can shift one’s consciousness.
Most teachers of Yin don’t suggest it as the only form of yoga to practice – rather as a counter-balance to the more energetic, more yang, styles of yoga that abound. I loved it. Found it switched off the restless brain and eased out the kinks in my stressed body. If you don’t know about it, this site is a good introduction. Or go to Kaliyoga, of course, and take a class with Lelly. J