My first Yin Yoga class

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‘Hello Yoga, I’ve missed you so much. It’s been a couple of months and I’m really sorry I neglected you, but finances have not been kind.’

To celebrate the end of the first month that I came out on my budget with a hundred rand and a few coins to spare, I rushed home one Monday, changed and ran out the door with that last R100 to try a Yoga class near home that I’d heard about on Facebook. Monday happens to be a Yin class with this teacher and I was curious as I’m a Bikram and Vinyasa fan and do prefer something more flowing, demanding and sweaty.

Not being able to practice for a while had left my body with some winter aches and pains, and despite still keeping up with my running and weight training, I knew my mobility and flexibility and strength had taken a dive. My internal organs, too, needed a good massage that only yoga can bring to flush out toxins and feed with fresh, clean blood. After experiencing a new twinge, or ache very week, I decided that it was time…!

When I got to class and heard that Yin Yoga comprises only a few poses held for many minutes, I was a bit crestfallen as I felt like something more energetic and demanding to really tax those muscles and warm me up. I thought I’d have to find a way to supplement with my old favourite heated Yoga class in this case.

I was wrong. I was exactly where I needed to be.

The class was held in a candlelit room inside an industrial private gym. The kind that smells a bit like testosterone and socks, where weights clink, men grunt, and in the room next door a very loud indoor ball game was being played with the odd thump against the wall, half-time whistle, and manly noises emanating… Lying looking up at the ceiling brings views of metal beams and raw light fittings… The teacher warmed of this and apologised. I first found the noises (and aromas) a bit distracting, but they were very quickly forgotten as I went into a meditative state that is triggered by being on my mat.

A slow, nurturing class holding a few demanding poses really opened me up, centred me, uncoiled stiff muscles, opened some fascia and probably did more amazing healing that I can even feel. Our teacher was the kindest, most knowledgable instructor, and with a small class of 5 or 6 of us, we all got amazing attention, adjustments and aid from her blocks, bolsters and straps where needed. (I was about as flexible as a rock, so enjoyed my first encounter with these yoga props).

That hour felt like five minutes, and even though the class was slow, I was warm for many hours afterwards on one of the most freezing nights of winter so far. I can only imagine this was from the renewed blood flow to areas I had tensed up and protected while rushing around, doing high-impact exercise, and of course huddling and tensing in the cold over a computer every day…

The heart-rate monitor on my watch showed that for that hour my heart-rate actually plummeted into the ‘blue zone’, I felt strangely energised and clear-headed afterwards and (thankfully I was working from home the next day) I slept like I had been given an anaesthetic.

My first Yin Yoga experience, but not my last. The best investment I have made in a while. Try it, you won’t look back.

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