Floor work is grounding. Getting close to the mat, the wood, the earth can make me feel real again, solid and supported.
My yoga practice tonight was a much needed earthy yin yoga. Most yoga asana practice is what could be called yang – a more active practice, focusing on movement and muscles, strength and power. This is good. I love a sweat inducing ashtanga class, or any other strong hatha yoga series that moves poses around a salutation at its center. I like to move through the poses, and then to stop and hold them, finding that peaceful juncture of holding and letting go. Often a good strong hatha yoga practice is what my body needs to counteract a stressful day, to relieve built up tension, or to help quiet a restless monkey mind.
Sometimes though, it is nice to go a bit deeper, and more internal. Yin Yoga is a style of yoga that brings focus inward to the deeper tissues of the body: the connective tissues, the ligaments that hold the joints together. Most of the focus is on the tissues of the hips, thighs, pelvis, and lower back. Poses are all on the floor, and are held for longer periods of time – anywhere from 3-5 minutes – to really allow time for deep opening, release and letting go.
This style of yoga can be deeply relaxing as well as challenging. There is a strong meditative component to yin yoga, and hanging out with the edge of a pose can bring up challenges as you recognize where you hang on tight, and where you can begin to let go. It is a beautiful practice, and just what the metaphorical doctor ordered for tonight’s late night yoga.
If yin yoga intrigues you, this website offers a good place to begin to explore ~ http://www.yinyoga.com/index.php