Loving every moment on and off of the mat with Yin yoga
We all love being on the mat, right? We love the poses, the transitions, the positivity, the music, the community, the list of things to love goes on and on. But have you ever been on the mat and you catch your mind wandering off?
Let’s be honest, it is not hard for most of us to our lose attention to the breath and our bodies. Our modern lives are busy, very, very busy. We are all shuffling so many things. When we are on our mats, our mind can wander off and we start to think about an issue at work, or our to-do list, or our next meal, or repainting the bathroom, or sex (yes, I said it).
To practice yoga is to practice attention (in my opinion anyways). If we think about things that are not actually happening in that moment, then we are not really practicing yoga. Instead we are stretching or getting a good workout. But what are we missing out on if we don’t pay “attention”?
Practicing Yin yoga is an especially great way to practice paying attention on our mats. All postures are sitting down or lying down. All poses are held for many minutes. You have time to relax in your poses and there is no rushing. Finally, you don’t have to plan or organize or think of new great ideas in your head. You just get to be.
Let your Yin teacher or your timer worry about the time and you get to fall in love with all of the sweet things about yourself that you usually don’t have time to notice.
Fall in love with the feel of your breath. When practicing Yin you don’t force or control the breath. You let the breath be natural, easy and sweet. Notice the way your breath spontaneously moves your body in a gentle way.
Fall in love with how sensation changes over time. Nothing in our lives stays exactly the same over time. Can you enjoy the subtle changes that happen slowly over the minutes? Observe rather than react.
Fall in love with the sounds around you. In the Pacific Northwest, it rains a lot so during our Yin practices we can sometimes listen to the sound of the rain. The little pitter patter of the rain is so soothing. Sometimes, we hear the sounds of the cars driving by and listening to those sounds can be a lovely meditation. Yeah, for real! Listening to the sounds of cars can be wonderful.
Fall in love with the air on your skin. Is the air cool or warm? Just notice. You don’t need to change anything necessarily but just observe. Can it be lovely to feel your skin?
The more time you spend on the mat noticing all of these simple sensations, the easier it is to take this “attention” off of our mat. This same “attention” you give to your Yin practice you give to everything in your life.
Maybe the next time you walk to work, you notice how great it feels in your body to walk. The walking becomes an experience, not a “must-do” but a wonderful opportunity to enjoy your life. Maybe the next time you eat an orange, you take your time as you peel the orange noticing the feel of the peel in your hand and the smell of the orange as you unpeel it. Instead of eating the orange as fast as you can, savor each juicy, sweet bite. Eat one section at a time and enjoy the process. Just like your Yin practice, be interested in the process. There is no race, this is your life. Enjoy.
Practicing Yin and enjoying the moment is just the start to enjoying every moment in life, on and off of the mat. Don’t let your yoga practice end as you roll up your mat. Every moment can be as precious as your time on the mat. Love every single moment.
You are perfect and whole as you are. There is nothing to worry about.
Close your eyes.
Fall in love.