Dear Yin Yoga,
Meeting you has completely changed my life. I will always be eternally grateful for the gifts you have shared with me, and the way in which my life took a completely new direction as a result of your influence.
I would love to take the time here to express my gratitude for the many ways in which you have enriched my life.
Thank you for existing.
Like most yogi's, I did not even know you were a yoga practice!
If I ever just rolled out my mat at home and did some intuitive moving and stretching, I was probably tapping into you before I really knew you. But it wasn't until I went to a formal "yin yoga" class that I understood my yoga practice could be so much more than intensely hot, sweaty and demanding Vinyasa classes.
You gave me the option to choose the kind of approach I made to my yoga practice depending on what I needed on that particular day.
And after a few years of getting to know each other, I made the decision to only teach your offerings in my public classes and let go of teaching Vinyasa.
It wasn't too long before I was crafting a teaching training entirely dedicated to you and forging a new career as a Yin Yoga teacher.
Thank you for the long moments of silence.
One of my favourite things about practicing with you is when long silences are offered in class. I have had a meditation practice for a very long time so I am very comfortable being left with my own thoughts and sensations to explore.
In these quiet places I have had many amazing revelations about my own life. I have also had time to sift through things that have been upsetting me or frustrating me and by sitting with these and breathing into these, they have often been dismantled and better understood by me.
The silence has given me some much needed space to let all things within me and around me settle and relax.
These moments have also allowed me time to feel my body and get to know the myriad of sensations on offer in my own tissues.
I really appreciate the concept of Target Areas.
This has been such a game changer. Regions of the body to explore rather than one pose to conquer exactly as it is instructed to be practiced.
This has melted away so much perfectionism from me and opened up my mind to entirely new ways to practice yoga, not just yin yoga. I'm now thinking of ways in which I might return to teaching flow yoga with a similar target area intention for the postures, rather than a script of alignment cues to reel off.
You have really got me thinking about the possibilities of reacquainting myself with all kinds of movement.
With your help I was finally able to slow down.
Before you came along I was burning both ends of the candle for sure. And even after you came along I was on a road to complete fizzle.
It was difficult to manage all the things I had crammed into my life; full time study, working to support myself financially, teaching lots of yoga classes every week, driven by a very ambitious hunger to do and be all the things.
I found myself listening closely to the lovely things I was saying in class to students and wondering if I was taking those on board for myself?
It seemed a bit unbalanced to be holding space for others and talking all things rest, recovery, self care and slowing down but integrating these practices into my own life. Thanks for helping me to practice what I preach.
You have helped demystify the body for so many people.
I have learned about Anatomy in 3 different University settings.
I probably have more anatomy books in my house than novels (I know this to be true).
I practiced ballet from the age of four until 18, and was dedicated to my yoga practice for most of my 20's and early 30's and up until I met you, nobody had ever mentioned skeletal variation!!! Most of what I had learned up until I first watched a Paul Grilley video was the names of bones, the origins and insertions of muscles and all of their actions.
Nobody ever mentioned that hip sockets could face different directions in different bodies, or that the length of your arms bones will affect your ability to do jump-backs! And now that I am a representative messenger in your tribe, I am overjoyed to let you know that so many people that have learned about this, have had life changing perspectives about their bodies and their yoga practice.
People are now learning that they can relax and enjoy their practice, and that being in pain during a posture is a message from the body, not something that will magically "open" one day. I think you are helping so many people avoid injury, and also helping people to have a more loving and accepting relationship with their bodies.
Rebounding has taught me how to be present.
Oh the rebound.
This magical space of stillness and awareness. I cannot move straight into the next yin pose without rebounding.
Whether the teacher has offered it or not, I will be rebounding!
This is the most beautiful metaphor for stopping after each big moment and taking the time to feel how it has affected you before you jump into the next moment.
As someone who would always have the next big challenge for myself lined up, rebounding has helped me to take stock and let myself pause and breathe before launching straight into something else.
And every time I practice yin yoga, each rebound gently reinforcing the importance of this in my life.
These are just some of the ways that you have changed my life and opened my heart. I have no plans to leave any time soon and I extend my deepest gratitude to you, dear yin yoga, for all that you are and all that you do.
Love, Karina x