The first time I took a yin yoga class, I spent the first half hour in conversation with myself: “Are we done yet? Can I get out of this pose now? This doesn’t feel great… Can we FLOW, please?!”
If you’re not familiar with Yin yoga, it is a slow, meditative style practice, as opposed to the more common (yang) yoga of movement and flow. Once you come into a yin pose, it is held between three and eight minutes so that the connective tissues are gently stretched. Holding a pose for several minutes can provoke anxiety, or fear, or even boredom.
“Ok, we’re done here, let’s move on.”
And just when I was about to make a dash for the door, my teacher said something I have repeated to myself over and over, not just in a yin class, but pretty much every day: Can you find a place in your body to release, to soften, even within the challenge you may be feeling?
Isn’t that exactly what we are being called to do right now during this global pandemic? We are asked to settle in, relax, find release, and connect with our body and our community in ways that we may never have had to before.
And yes, that means our choices are limited. And to be perfectly honest, I’m kind of pissed about that.
I want to take my laptop and hang out at Starbucks. I want to go out to lunch with friends. I want to go to Tanglewood! I want to take my mom out to dinner. I want to get on a plane and visit my granddaughter. I want to teach my workshops that have been on my calendar for months.
Dammit, I want to GET OUT OF THIS POSE…NOW!
I WANT MY LIFE FLOW BACK!
Nope. Sorry, not yet.
We can’t run for the door, decide that we’ve had enough. We need to stretch (our imagination) a little longer, find comfort and ways to connect with each other amidst the challenges. Soften, release, surrender.
I know, from my yin practice, that once I settle in, my body and mind will relax.
I know, from my yin practice, that I can marinate in the stillness that life has given us at this moment.
I know, from my yin practice, that if I accept this time with tenderness, my body, and my life, will acclimate.
I know, from my yin practice, that we will ALL emerge wiser and healthier than before.
We are, my friends, living in Yin.