Turning Yinside - My Journey Inwards To Yin
A little retrospect into my journey to Yin Yoga. Everyone who enjoys yin yoga has their own, this is a little story for you to see where it began for me.
Back in 2013, I began my journey inwards through yoga. I wasn’t really sure why I was drawn to yoga, but at the time I was living in Perth, Australia and enjoying a life of sun and fun and there was something calling me to it. Australia was fun, surrounded by a lot of amazing people and new experiences. I was loving where I was working at a restaurant on the beach, with wonderful people, one of whom was a hard core Bikram Yoga fan, loving how much it was building her strength both physically and mentally. Yoga at the time was just an idea to me, having had one seemingly boring experience of a yoga class at university because I fell asleep in savasana, the relaxation at the end. Ha, how ironic, that now whenever I rest I want that feeling of dropping off and now I encourage all my students to know this is really common and very welcome. It is a really good sign that they are giving their body permission to relax and switch off, which most people can not usually do in their daily life.
At the time, the idea of Bikram Yoga and standing in a 42 degree room with 40% humidity, sweating so much I thought I would pass out, seemed absolutely crazy when outside was already upwards of 40 degrees. So when I was being pulled to yoga I opted for a traditional yoga studio, on a beginners course. I was so aware of what was happening around me and everyone else, but one thing I really connected to was the longer holding poses at the end where we ‘stretched’ our bodies and connected to our breath. It was absolutely delicious!
6 months and a relationship breakdown later I was living in New Zealand and again felt the pull of yoga. There were two studios in the small town I was living in, a traditional Hatha, based studio and a Bikram and Yin Yoga studio. So I signed up for another Beginner’s Hatha Course at one studio and began my exploration into yin yoga at the other. I was intrigued as it said it was a class especially good for athletes and active people. At the time I spent my time skiing and snowboarding most days, so I needed to do something for my achy muscles.
And well, this was a truly incredible experience. The first yin class I walked into was packed, with so many people lined up really close to one another, and back in 2014, yin yoga was definitely not a popular or even well known style that you would see in many studios, so I was really intrigued by what magic these yogis knew that I was yet to learn and receive.
As soon as the class began it was immersive, tragic, wonderful, enlightening, empowering, full of darkness and light, full of confusion and a deeper understanding than I have ever experienced. It brought a myriad of sensations and emotions that I didn’t even know existed in my body. I was led to connect to my breath, body, mind, emotions and just be.
And what a challenge that was.
My busy brain was constantly looking around to see if I was doing it right, curious about what others were doing and to see if there was a glimmer of the discomfort I was feeling inside on any of their faces. But with poker faces surrounding me all around I just saw calm, peacefulness, eyes closed, gaze inwards, and couldn’t understand what was going on. Little did I know that they were probably going through their own inner battle to stillness in their own minds, just like me.
The teacher would be wandering around to support students, whispering so the only thing that disturbed the deathly silence and stillness in the room was her lyrical kiwi accent. By the end of the class I left completely perplexed at the experience I just had, but was absolutely 100% hooked.
I booked in the next day and the rest is history.
My first yin teacher made such an impact on me to turn inwards, in the moments I wanted to look around and compare, to seek answers outside of myself, I was encouraged to close my eyes and go into the sensation, to play with its edge to see what was coming up. And through this practice I began to understand and witness myself in so many ways.
This is where I started my healing journey. Turning Yinside. In a packed yoga studio in a small town in New Zealand.
When you turn inwards you learn to turn down the noise of the outside world, from the distractions, from the comparison. You learn to look to your own inner wisdom and knowledge that is within you to seek what you need.
This is the gift of yin yoga.
To allow stillness, to create space for your body to hear the messages within. The body keeps the score of all your experiences, some unresolved and in need of attention, others which are screaming at you already in your face!
At first I was there for the physical ‘stretch’, but it soon became an opportunity for me to connect to myself on a deeper level, to help me to quieten the external noise, to come into meditation. I continue on with this practice along with my Hatha practice AND started Bikram as when it’s snowing outside the lure of a hot sweaty room was far more enticing and appealing than in Aus.
And so it began! My love story with turning yinside. It was the yin to my constant yang life and helped me to work with the ever changing energy, emotions and needs of myself.
In 2016, I embarked upon my first Yin Yoga teacher training, completing 50 hours of intensive immersion into the learning experience and exploration of self and others through this modality. I was surrounded by other yoga teachers and students alike who were fascinated to learn more for themselves about this wonderful practice. This was the only Yin Yoga teacher training course on Bali at the time, as well as my current teacher Jo Phee, now you go and they are on every corner you turn. Some people on the course were not even teachers wanting to use the course to teach, but instead to further their studies and practice of yoga in an immersive setting.
This changed and opened my eyes to the extensiveness of what yin yoga was about and the depth in which I could study this form of yoga. And now I have completed 5 yin yoga trainings, as well as an incredible amount of reading and self study, and am in the middle of my studies with one of my teachers, Jo Phee, to complete my 300 hr advanced teacher training in Yin yoga. The only training of this calibre worldwide, to continue to share the wisdom passed down from my teachers to those who are interested in learning more, whether that is for your own personal study, or to train to be a teacher. I am here to support you.
Currently I have two offerings for supporting you in your yin yoga practice and growth, if you would like to drop into the practice and be led into a relaxing, nourishing space, then join me for my in person and online Yin Yoga Immersions. Each month you are invited to explore another thread of yin yoga.
Full details for Yin Immersions can be found HERE.