“For a tree to grow to heaven it’s roots must grow to hell.”
The good in the bad, the bad in the good. An examination of yin and yang, not being afraid of darkness but embracing the light.
∴So at a burner hippies warehouse in my neighborhood I heard the quote, “for a tree to grow to heaven, it’s roots must grow to hell”..
∴I always use to think that, the harder you can push yourself in your practice the more clarity and energy you will have after. I associated a difficult class with an increased endorphin high. There was definitely a correlation to the intensity I exerted on myself and the amount of good feelings and positive results that followed after. Never after a class have I ever wish I hadn’t TRIED so hard during the class! Boo hooooooo!!
∴I’ve always been in love and addicted to power vinyasa classes, yoga sculpt (yoga with weights), fusion classes and the occasional Bikram. There is something about being ringed through to your core and sweating out your weight in water, that has always flushed out and reenergized my mind. It makes sense as expending energy, then draining these reserves, only encourages the body to work to create new energy molecules and hormones using up existing fat stores and converting them into useful muscle.
∴After a hot yoga class I always feel knocked out, part from the heat, part from the physical exhaustion, and part from the mental unwinding and releasing of stagnant energy in my body. With this “knocked out” feeling, accompanied by a lack of thoughts and feelings of euphoria I always felt the most mental clarity after a particularly strenuous class. While I am still an avid lover of yang style (upbeat) practices, when I took my first yin class I had some of THE MOST mental clarity and a sense of well being than I had ever felt from an intense vinyasa or hot bikram style class!
∴First a little breakdown of yin and yang styles of yoga.
∴Yin description: Yin in general is the feminine and more down-tempo side of the body, the black color of the yin and yang symbol. Yin style yoga consists of holding seated or supine poses for 45 seconds up to < 5 minutes. This is meant to put pressure on the connective tissues, ligaments, muscles, and fascia to help stretch out and strengthen the body. Other yin practices would include moving meditation such as tai chi.
∴Yang: The more upbeat styles of yoga such as power, vinyasa, ashtanga, yoga barre, fusion, bikram and many other varieties such as Rocket yoga in San Francisco are considered ‘yang’! These asana practices are designed to help shed any excess body fat, tighten and tone the body, and bringing about a light and healthy energy. These classes can provide cardio benefits as well as muscle strengthening and improve our all important balance and coordination.
∴So during this yin class, I believe it was even candle lit in a dim room (this was a long time ago), I did not know what to expect taking this “yin” class I had never heard of. I was going to MODO Yoga in Echo Park at the time and was trying out all the various classes they offer. MODO Yoga is still one of my favorite places in LA!! MODO and Hot 8 are the best studio / chains I have been to out here, if I could combine the beautiful organic studio and message of MODO with the dynamic challenging sculpt and yoga barre classes at Hot 8 that would be THE dream!! ∞
∴Before taking the class I had not looked up anything about yin yoga and while perhaps I had a feeling the class would be slower as it was a candle light class, I was still so shocked when we started holding poses like pigeon and forward fold for 3-4 minutes!!! Some even 5!! At first I started to rumble and shake, as my body tries to adjust breathing becomes labored and more erratic. Then as the intensity deepens with each exhale and I began to sink into the poses the feeling of pain started to detach.
∴Trusting my body to open up, let go, and not hold on to any tension I started to see the pain exactly where it was in my body and observe the spot without any judgement of good or bad. By detaching this duality of pain and pleasure and just observing what IS, we can see our goal and not be distracted by these external circumstances so easily. As we come into this state of focus our breathing starts to slow down followed by thoughts. Coming into complete control and harmony with every inhale and exhale we surrender to each heatbeat, breath, and sensation with equilibrium.
∴Each pose was challenging in it’s own way – some I felt the need to flee and count down the seconds until completion and others I was so deeply entrenched and supported in that I fell into deep, still meditation. When the class finally ended, in what seemed like a very quick hour and 15 minutes, I emerged into a state of calm and ease that was upreviously unmatched by any yoga class I’d ever taken! This was different. I wasn’t sweating, I was not physically exhausted, and I didn’t burn a thousand calories hammering away through a class. Instead, I had a pleasant lightness and energy only usually accompanied by an unencumbered mind. A mind free of worries and limitations of the daily.
∴ When you escape into a state of blissful oneness ∴
∴This clarity, and comfortable feeling of calm and peacefulness carried over into my thoughts and interactions with other people as I glided through life for the rest of the night riding in my Toyota corolla like it was a Tesla and like my sound system was the best most beautiful Bose I’ve ever heard. Life lit up in a symphony, not because I thought one into existence but because I gave it room to exist and grow. ❤️ Yin yoga is epic and necessariy for a balanced, dynamic practice. I’ll always love my vinyasa yang classes but mixing in the chill yin aspect tells the next page of the story.
Xoxo, Marisa N. Moonbeamz ♥