Last blog, I talked about what was really Yang about the Yoga Sanctuary on the Danforth, so let’s finish off with what is really Yin. After Sue Ravazzolo’s yin yoga class, I feel as empty as I can possibly be without being dead. Or sometimes, I feel more intensely moody than I started. You might be thinking that neither sound like a good thing.
She is my first yin yoga instructor. However, I was immediately loyal to her after walking out of my first class like a zombie. I’m not opposed to trying other yin classes or instructors. Simply, I honestly feel no need to look further.
I accept that I can (not always) be one helluva moody girl and if I’m going to let that out, it may be quite intense and draining. A large part of me can be very negative. This part of me is whiny and bitchy and certainly not pretty. Sue’s yin yoga class is that safe and non-judgmental place to let that side come to the surface and have its moment, which, very slowly, makes it easier to let it go. When this side is empty, then I am ready to be filled again with positive, rejuvenating energy.
Yin gets easier, like all things, with practice. It’s not as intense as the body becomes accustomed to letting that side come out.
Sue starts her Monday class with a long heart-opening stretch on wooden blocks. With the heart pressing up to the ceiling and the muscles melting down over the edges, all the emotions of the — day, week, month — well up to the surface. The series of stretches that happen afterwards are held for longer times than other yoga classes to reach the deeper connective tissues in our bodies. Another great difference in yin yoga compared to other types of yoga is all the poses use gravity, so once I reach the proper position in each pose, I relax and let my body find its own way deeper into the stretch; just hangin’ out yoga or the Raggedy Ann of yoga. (For those of you too young to know, Raggedy Ann and Andy are children’s fictional characters created by Johnny Gruelle)
What makes Sue’s yin yoga class particularly special is her calming, as well as informative, voice which helps to maintain the stretches for the 3 – 5 minute durations. I am unable to hold the poses for the same amount of time on my own. Again, a quality of all good instructors is the ability to get that little extra from their students.