When I started practicing yoga there was no part of me that would have been able to appreciate and soak in yin yoga. I started practicing yoga as a method of cross training and stretching but was determined that fast-paced flow classes were the only type of classes for me. I swore up and down that people that did slow yoga classes were out of their minds and there was no way I would ever enjoy something that slow and “boring.” For those not in the yoga world, yin yoga involves the more spiritual, meditative side of yoga and slows the practice where there can be approximately 5 poses in a 60 minute class, the poses are held for long periods of time and often people use props to assist in their practice. The first time I tried yin yoga I learned why all of my previous negative beliefs about yoga, especially slow yoga classes, were wrong.
I don’t think until this last summer I would have ever admitted that I had any sort of mental health issues, especially depression. I thought that if I didn’t have severe, life-altering depression then I didn’t have true depression. Through personal trauma, trauma of my loved ones, and those I see experiencing it on a daily basis at work, I sought further introspection, self-care, and an overhaul of my mental health. (If only it was as easy as taking your care to the shop and replacing a broken part.) I started seeing a counselor, journaling, and dealing with my demons: past, present, and future. I learned about my insecurities, deep rooted and difficult to shake. I learned about dysthmia, which may or may not be my reality, a persistent low level depression that often goes undetected. I’m growing in acceptance of myself, who I am and where I am in life.
In comes yin yoga to save the day, or at least chill the anxiety monster. I will admit this is a type of yoga that I did not know much about until recently. I soaked in all the trance-like, sedative effects of yin yoga in a long, meditative class in Aruba. Now that I’m back in the US and the travel life has calmed for the moment, the winter blues have set in. I’m aching for a deeper, nurturing presence in my life. I yearn for that self-love that I found in Aruba and seek to practice daily. Stillness and presence with myself becomes extremely difficult when I let the apathetic, negative voice speak and the yin practice helps me to reign that in and come back to myself. Yin yoga and meditation help to calm, center and focus the anxious, depressed person within.
It took so much energy to do my yin and meditation today and I may not have slowed my mind as much as I would like but I appreciated finding myself there. Therefore, I’m going to challenge myself and anyone else to do a minimum of 20 minutes of yin/meditation every evening for the next week. I challenge myself to find three positives about myself and speak those to myself throughout the day. I will seek my own approval and be satisfied with myself, my effort, and my abilities. I will sit with who I am and seek refuge in the calm, beautiful moments of life.