Yin Yoga is the Yoga You Didn’t Know You Could Do

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When we lived in Australia, they had a Health and Wellness month towards the end of winter. The school I taught at decided to offer free yoga lessons to all staff for 6 weeks.  The deal included any family members at a cost of $5 per lesson.  Tough to pass up, but a surprisingly small amount of staff took up the offer. My daughter and husband did decide to join me in the after school sessions though.  We had our own private, or should I say corporate, instructor.  The class started off with a group of about 15 but as the weeks went on, we barely had 5 attendees.  This was my first experience with practicing yoga on a regular basis.  Clearly it left an impression on my daughter, as she took up yoga and has had a regular practice for over 5 yrs!

Thus it was that she asked me to join her for a 90 minute morning yoga session during my last visit to Ottawa.  Are you kidding me?? I haven’t done any kind of regular exercise for years, let alone twist myself into a pretzel for more than 15 minutes. Don’t worry she said! This is Yin Yoga.

Suitable for almost all levels of students, Yin Yoga is a perfect complement to the dynamic and muscular (yang) styles of yoga that emphasize internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of our muscles. Yin Yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine. * 

We entered the studio where I was introduced to our Yogi, Rupee.  It was a large room, rather warm, where over 35 people set up their mats. The studio provided us with foam blocks and something like a strap to use for resistance.

For 90 minutes, Rupee took us through various poses, all floor-based, that we held for periods of 5 minutes or so. Once in a while, she would come around and mist us with a soft herbal fragrance.  I am not normally big on fragrance, but the cooling mist was appreciated as I got hotter and sweatier.  My usual form of exercise involves a pool, so I don’t have to sweat.

What surprised me most about Yin Yoga was that I never had to leave the floor.  Not a downward dog was executed.  Not once!

With that positive experience in mind, I set out to find a Yin Yoga class in Langley.  

Of course my Township of Langley didn’t disappoint.  I signed myself up and took my buddy Lisa along with me. Let’s face it, many of us spend a lot of time sitting in front of some sort of device and those back muscles start to scream after a while. In Lisa’s case, she had a motorcycle accident last winter and is still trying to recover from it.  This seemed like the perfect girl time/wellness time combination!

Our class was held at the Willowbrook Recreational Centre.  About 15 participants rolled out their mats and were warmly greeted by our yogi, Lisa Gagné. Lisa G is a seasoned instructor who works with Curtis Health, teaching corporate wellness programs in the Fraser Valley.  I thought it was a neat coincidence as that was how I began my yoga journey.

With foam blocks, warm blankets and lavender scented eye pads, we breathed, stretched and relaxed our way through 60 minutes as Lisa G instructed, corrected and inspired with gentle and inspirational sayings. Soft music played in the background, the lights were dimmed.

Each time I got very comfortable, which was most of the time, I remember thinking “OK. This is great, but now I’m going to have to get up and do something really hard.” That moment never came!  I love Yin Yoga!

After a wonderfully relaxing and restorative hour, Lisa (my buddy) and I went back to my house for a cup of herbal tea and some girl talk. We are looking forward to next week’s class when, I am told, we will be trying some more poses that involve lying down.



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