The first and last time I did a Yin Yoga class, I left thoroughly disappointed.
I had only started doing yoga for a couple of months previously and all that slow, boring movement seemed like such a drag.
Where was the sweat? Where were the muscle shakes? Where was that buzzy feeling at the end of the session that I got from Power Yoga?
I’ve finally realised that I’ve been doing yoga all wrong.
This afternoon, I did a yin-style hatha yoga session at home with Troy Hadeed over at Gaiam TV.
The class was focused on slowing down and deepening your practice by truly considering the meaning of yoga – the union of mind, body and breath.
Image source: Exhale for Life
Most of the time, we forget the essence of true yoga in our obsession with heat, sweat, and trying to look awesome while doing fancy poses. Troy emphasised the importance of being mindful in each and every moment of the yoga practice. In his words:
The power of yoga is not always about posture, or the destination. But what is important is on the way to achieving that posture. It is in the transition itself.
If we rush through these transitions, we are missing everything we need to learn on our journey through these postures.
Even if it’s the thousandth time you’ve done downward dog, each time you move into this posture, you can learn something new. It’s a different transition. If you move too quickly, you just check out. You rush in and out of postures and miss the lessons of the transition.
That’s where we lose real yoga, real union.
Image source: Refinery
Troy also speaks about the fact that we need to transfer the lessons we learn on our yoga mats into our daily lives, not the other way around:
What I’ve found in our culture, is that we take our habits from our daily lives and we bring them onto our mat. Instead, we should be creating new habits on our mat and bring them to our daily lives.
In this instance we often live in a high speed society where we are rushing to the next meeting, or next venture. We are always living 5 minutes or 1 hour ahead. We never really slow down and stop to feel what is happening in the present moment.
We can see that when we cultivate this behaviour on our mat, we can make meaningful change in our daily lives and our society.
During the Hatha Yoga session with Troy, I tried to be as mindful as possible, considering every little subtle movement as I went through each pose.
Image source: Well+Good
The difference was amazing! I worked so much harder than I normally do in my habitual yoga sessions. Although they were seemingly simple postures, I got the maximum benefit from every single one. The pace was much slower but it was so much more of a work out than I normally get and I actually worked up a sweat.
The main challenge I found was staying centred on my breath when I started to get tired. Troy spoke about continually trying to lengthen the breath rather than let it become shortened when you reach the peak of your yoga session. There were times that I came back down into child’s pose to try to return to that slow, mindful pace.
Image source: Pinterest
I would encourage everyone to give Troy Hadeed’s class a try. You can check that out by searching ‘Advance your Yoga Practice Beyond Asana’ at Gaiam TV (I’d recommend doing a free trial if you don’t want to sign up).
The best part was that after the session, I got that beautiful buzzy feeling stronger than ever!