You know it, we all know it, somewhere deep in our brains: Slowing the heck down would feel good. It might even feel great.
But hustle culture is real. It’s a drug. It’s proudly replying, “So busy,” when somebody asks how you are. It’s multitasking until midnight and getting up at 5 a.m. to train for a marathon.
And yes, I know that no matter what I write, you’re not going to drop the bustle life anytime soon. I know this because I’m one of you. Sometimes I’m loathe to give up the busying around, too. Being busy makes you feel like you’re accomplishing stuff, like you’re contributing to the world, like you’re needed. I get it. And what’s that saying? If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. Isn’t that the truth?
The same applies to our fitness habits. How many of you are pounding your joints on the pavement for hours? Or SoulCycling your insides out every day, and causing your lady parts to go numb? (Only me? I had to peace out of the whole spin trend.) What do I gravitate toward now? Power yoga and interval training classes. You, too?
It’s time to offer ourselves some softness. Some slowness. Some yin.
Maybe you’ve heard of yin and yang from Chinese philosophy. It’s about working to find balance between the two. Yin is slow, cool, soft, dark. Yang is fast, hot, hard, light. A yoga teacher once told me, upon hearing of my predominantly yang yoga practice, that I should balance it with some yin. Do you think I listened? You are correct. I did not. But I wanted to. I still want to. It’s hard, though. You feel me, Type A-exercisers.
There are yin and restorative yoga classes lurking all around town for those whose bodies and minds are perking up at the thought of some juicy down time. Keep in mind that yin yoga and restorative yoga are two different styles. In a yin class, you hold postures for three to five minutes. Don’t worry, you’re not standing. You’re on the ground. A restorative class typically uses a lot of props, like blankets, straps and bolsters, to support only a few postures held for a good amount of time. They both feel delicious. You’ll walk out feeling clear, calm and centered.
Yoga teacher Janell Duncan, who owns Aranyani Yoga Studio in Woodland Park, will hold a special two-hour class Sunday at SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs. “Energy Rise” will feature about 90 minutes of yin yoga, reiki (energy healing) for those who want it, meditation and breathwork, also known as pranayama.
“It helps me not injure myself,” said Duncan, who does yin about once a week. “It makes more strenuous activities easier because you’re a little more open. It’s the hardest thing for people to do something relaxing.”
Yin yoga also helps the connective tissues, fascia, joints, ligaments and tendons experience different benefits than they would in a vinyasa (flow or power) yoga class. They get more time to release in a slow and steady practice.
Duncan’s class is aimed at boosting your body through the fall season. According to traditional Chinese medicine, autumn is the time of year when we need to focus on the lungs and large intestines. Blockages in the meridian lines (channels through which energy flows) in those areas can cause sadness and grief, and potentially lead to physical disease, said Duncan. Lung issues could include fall allergies, colds and coughing.
Yin poses targeting those spots can help clear blockages. Duncan will focus on opening the shoulders, upper back and heart area, because the meridian lines of the lung and large intestines run down the arms.
“We live such active lives, and we have a lot of stress,” said Duncan. “People don’t realize how much they need to relax until they come to yin or restorative yoga. You hear people sighing, and they feel more restored and peaceful.”
Contact the writer: 636-0270