This Is Why I Do Yin Yoga

Have been struggling not only with stress, but also poor energy levels, disrupted sleep. It got really bad last week as I got drained out by various stuff at work and with certain people.

Thus I decided its time for a Sunday morning Yin Yoga that my body really needed – as versus to the Core class I was intending to do (or any asana based class for that matter).

While Yin is not a sweaty type of yoga class (as versus to a more intense asana based class or Hot Yoga), after 5 weeks away since my last Yin class during the Hari Raya Puasa long weekend – even holding supported pigeon pose (with bolster right under the hips) for 3 min becomes challenging ….. let alone the straddle splits that the class was in for a total of 10 min! That’s why we say it is more difficult to do the basic things correctly and consistently …… as versus to aspiring to nail that fancy looking inversion / arm balance.

Am thankful that I listened to my inner voice and opted for what my body really needed – nourishment …… as versus to building strength (Core Class). Felt that I started the day right with an early start, body immediately felt better post Yin, enjoyed yummy fishball noodles for lunch, came home and got in a much-needed nap guilt free …… and had quality sleep to end off the weekend proper.

And to end off this blog post, a very insightful article courtesy of Yoga Journal on why we should make time for Yin Yoga

10 Reasons to Make Time for Yin Yoga When You’re Too Busy

Some points / extracts from the article that really resonated with me. These are more of the ‘intangibles’ in addition to physical benefits such as restoring the range of motion, and lengthening the muscles and fascia via holding poses.

…… Yin is an introspective practice that offers a chance to turn inward and nurture the calm, quiet center that is innate in all of us. It is a practice in stillness, patience, and non-reactivity. Through yin yoga we become adept at self-care. We become better listeners with practice tuning in; we become wiser as we get to know ourselves from the inside out; and we become more curious about the world through the exploration of our own inner worlds.

This is why I LOVE travelling to Guillemard studio for Sunday morning Yin. It feels really calming and soothing for the body and mind to ‘Yin’ to the rustic surroundings of the studio, and a great way to wind down the week.

…… The yin practice forces us to slow down . Yin poses’ long holds offer a chance to marinate in stillness. When you allow yourself to stay present and experience the near-imperceptible shifts that occur while holding a yin posture, time opens up. Deadlines, commitments, pressing matters, and to-do lists fade to the background, leaving tremendous space for rest and renewal.

…… Yin yoga cultivates balance. Your own health and wellbeing is a balancing act. If you look at the yin/yang symbol you will see that the white and black forms are in perfect balance. Many of us live very active (yang) lifestyles and leave little or no time to foster the quiet, introspective side. Over time this can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Through the yin practice we can restore equilibrium and feel whole.

YES to this. Our daily lives already involve a lot of rushing, timelines and deadlines. And to a certain extent, this can even extend to the physical asana practice when some people constantly preach to you that going faster and sweatier is the way to go. There has to be a time where our practice also needs to take a step back and slow down …… And the same applies to life too.

And the bits on self-compassion and sitting in with our emotions is also very true.

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Two-Thirds Of The Long Weekend So Far ……

Another long weekend beckons ……

And a much needed one as well after running pretty much at full steam end May / June. Of course some pretty unpleasant stuff / minor setbacks occurred over the past week – putting a brake to the ‘momentum’ I have been building up, to my discontentment.

Which means its time to take a step back, take stock for a bit and do some necessary ‘re-charge’ to get back to a more ‘optimal’ state of mind again.

Long weekend started early for me as Friday was my usual-out-of-office day. However couldn’t shake off my restless state of mind (must been the angst I have been carrying out throughout the week). Meditation …… heart opening yoga sequence (only to end up struggling on the balancing poses) did not help much. Guess I need more time to get over this ‘bump’ ……

Yesterday (Saturday) – went back to office as planned to do my monthly scanning/clearing/decluttering/archiving. Somehow, at the half-way point of the year, I feel that my progress on the scanning/clearing/decluttering/archiving front has been rather slow. I’m still working on older stuff (pre-2013 materials) before even getting to the newer records (year 2013 onwards) that I will need to start extracting from the common data folder provided by company. Not sure if just 1 Sat afternoon per month (which I started only in April proper) is sufficient to finish up by end of this year …… but just like yoga/life, have to keep going …… and going! Perhaps for the next round in July, I shall try to reach office earlier (around 11) to give myself a better headstart.

Of course, the highlight of going back to work on a Saturday is always filling myself up with a nice lunch. Initially planned to have pasta at Everton Park, only to realise said restaurant is closed on Saturdays. So walked to Amoy Street Food Centre …… saw that not many stalls were open.  Ended up walking further down right to the end of Amoy Street, and settled for Korean lunch @ Wang Dae Bak – one of my ‘more regular’ favourites that serve tasty and value for money Korean set lunches.

Had a seafood soup + seafood pancake …… and together with side dishes, it made for a pretty appetizing and filling lunch. Moreover, I had a pretty light breakfast and was kinda hungry as well 😛

Packed up and left office a little after 6 …… and came home just in time for dinner. Decided to take a break / day off from yoga practice / stretching (have learnt not to guilt trip myself for taking breaks) …… and sat down to finally think about and start jotting down some ideas/things to do/destinations for my next holiday!

Nothing firmed yet. The only thing I know right now is it will be 90% a solo trip as I desire to have some space & quiet this time round. I hope I can make it happen, at the time period that I’m looking at (Q4 2017). Being in the last lap of the banding year, there are also work considerations to think about. It will also mean $$$ spent (versus saving it) …… but let’s think abundance 🙂

Rather than wasting away my Sunday, got up nice and early to go for my once-a-month YIN yoga class @ Yoga Inc Gulliemard – as a ‘treat’ to myself for the long weekend. Probably my ‘longest’ break from YIN class – 6 weeks to be exact as my focus was on rebuilding strength and flexibility post Bali and post food poisoning (a.k.a Bali Belly). As one would describe YIN class, it is about feeling 1% uncomfortable (in the form of holding poses for longer periods – up to 5 mins) to be 99% comfortable (i.e. to allow the muscles to relax). And the tightness in my hips is apparent …… and it does feel slightly uncomfortable and getting used to be holding poses for long periods again after all the ‘yang’ workouts that I have been doing.

The bonus was the rain, and it was really chill and calming to have the cool air coming into the studio. Just like the saying from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow goes – The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain. 

And enjoy the moment!

The theme of ‘courage’ floated in my thoughts throughout the 1 hr 15 min class – it will be something I will think about/reflect/meditate upon in the next couple of days.

Preferred to have local food for lunch post class, and so braved the rain (with umbrella in hand) and walked over to Lor 28 Geylang to check out Fishball Story as originally planned. The noodles did not disappoint and I am very happy with my lunch. Realised there are many coffeeshops within Geylang itself and wondered why didn’t I venture out earlier (the default choice is always to walk to Old Airport Road FC after class for a meal). Gonna google some food bloggers’ Geylang recommended eats as I type now 😛

Took a bus down to Bugis after lunch – specifically to Sephora at Bugis+ to get a new shampoo to try. Starting to feel the YIN in my legs, and so headed back home, lazed a bit and writing this blog entry.

Probably gonna play catch-up on some work and my journalling (super back-log dating back April *gasp*) after dinner. Was deliberating between doing 9am class @ Yoga Lab CBD for another early start tomorrow versus a longer self practice …… but since the 9am class is waitlisted (it was still book-able during lunch), it seems like self practice will be the plan for the last part of my long weekend!

Skipping Over February

Finally have the time, space and energy to sit down to do a blog entry proper!

Now where did February go? Definitely the 1st time in a long while that I didn’t blog (or rather didn’t manage to blog anything) in 1 entire month and the time just went by like that ……

January ended with the CNY festive season. After which, it is straight back to work and daily life.

And yes, one significant thing that happened right before CNY was the breakdown/’death’ of my Lenovo laptop. As documented on this blog, after the initial replacement issues (when 1st bought), and an earlier breakdown of the hard disk just back in September, the Lenovo decided to hang by itself when in office one fine Monday afternoon. To cut the story short, after calling the technical support line, dropping everything down to head to the service centre at McPherson for 2nd diagnosis, and another opinion from a repair shop at Jurong Point – the final conclusion was motherboard failure. The replacement would have cost $500+ …… and thus it would be a more feasible solution to just get a new laptop instead – which is needed as I had work to finish right before CNY beckons.

And so, I bought a new Acer Swift 3 that is gold in colour for a ‘golden’ new beginning.

The laptop has been working great for the past 2 months that I have been using it – and this is my 1st blog on this laptop 😛

In a figurative way, the Lenovo represents frustration and pain through the 2 years and 4 months that I have used it. And I will be better served with a fresh start with a newer and better machine going forward. Sounds like how my life has been going for the past 1 odd years 🙂

February is also another month where I experienced numerous body wiggles post-yoga (right achilles tendon pull, tight hips, on and off wrist strains on my right). Also came down with sore throat / flu for a good part of the month which recovered, then came back again after Hot Yoga 101 (believe I caught a chill as the room as stuffier than usual which even the instructor felt so as well), which is reduced to chest cough on and off still as the virus has yet to go away 100% – which sucks!

Partly as a result of some of the ‘muscle imbalances’ that I was experiencing post-yoga, took the plunge to try Yin Yoga as I have read on some of the benefit of Yin Yoga include increased circulation, fascial release and greater joint mobility (through holding poses for 3 to 5 min long) ….. which was something I needed to ‘repair’ my body and feel good again.

After my very 1st Yin class (on Sunday morning) where the final pose before savasana was a reclining head to toe stretch (with a bolster placed right across the tight) – my hamstrings loosened immensely.  After which, I attended my semi-regular Tuesday evening Hot Yoga 101 class. Even after some pretty intense work in the class, my thighs/quads no longer have the intense post work achne (the technical term for it will be DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness) that will take me the entire evening and the good part of the following day to recover from. I have always had tight hamstrings and quads which I finally realised was a result of inadequate post workout stretching from my running and spinning days. The increased flexibility from holding stretches 3 to 5 mins is real indeed. Not to mention feeling much lighter and more relaxed for the rest of the day, and enjoying improved sleep.

I have decided to incorporate Yin to be part of my regular yoga ‘programming’ as I target to do it once every 2 to 3 weeks. Plus waking up early and going for the early 1015 Hrs Sunday morning class at Gulliemard is a great way to re-adjust my bio-clock and sleep patterns – as well as to re-connect with my body and wind down the weekend.

Before March comes to an end, I also hope to try another new type of class (most likely Hot 26) -which is part of my personal goal/resolution to try 1 new class every month.