3 Key Take-Aways from my Yin Yoga Training

Why did I do this? The “why” is so important, always. So you should ask, and I will definitely answer.

I started practising Yin Yoga very recently, not even a year ago. I did it firstly out of curiosity, and it sucked, so I returned time and again because well, I love a challenge! And the more I did it, the more I fell in love with it. I found it to be the perfect compliment to my normal practice which was strong and fast, but I rarely ever practised more than a few poses at a time. Still, even with a short practise, Yin Yoga slowed me down, made me feel deeply into my body and “allowed me” to be still, to be silent and to heal and care for myself in a new and deeply nourishing way.

I signed up to Sarah Lo’s Yin Yoga Teacher Training Level 1 with a lot of apprehension, but very eager to learn more and to share my new found love of stillness with the world. Here are my key take-aways from that week:

  1. I AM MORE RESILIENT THAN I THINK I AM

    Being a yoga teacher has been a profound awakening of my own inner strength. And this training pushed me out the furthest from shore that I have ever been! I came on my period the evening before my training started. I was in immense pain, unable to sleep and when I slept I dreamed of being late for my first day and not allowed in, of taking too many pain killers and having a car accident on the way there. I’d had no more than three hours sleep and lay in bed crying my eyes out at 6AM, reading the no show policy for the training. But I somehow summoned strength from a tiny reserve I didn’t even know existed, and made my way to Milton Keynes. I drank ALL of the available coffee and soldiered on. I don’t know how! I was broken beyond words, but I did it. And the following night I became extremely ill, then dealt with pain and sickness for the remainder of the training. I look back at those days and I wonder how I made it through without more than one night of hysterical tears. I think it was largely thanks to the friends I stayed with, who are basically family and are fine with me being a sick grump. So thanks to them, and to me I did it. I did it!

  2. STILLNESS IS HOLY

    As a Type A, go go go person I am always on the move or making plans to move. I’m also very easily distracted by outside stimulus; phones, fomo, good weather. Anything really. Staying present is a huge struggle for me and being forced into stillness and introspection for four days was extremely humbling. I’ve been suspecting that I may not totally have my sh*t together for a while now, and this theory has now been cemented! In my sickness, pain, exhaustion and stillness I realised how frantic I really am. How badly I need the savasana that I teach. I realised that there was no way I could keep up with my own plans and still have time for myself, or for others. I abruptly cancelled one of my workshops and swore to assign a whole weekend to not planning and just being. Let’s see how that goes!

  3. LEAN INTO FEAR

    Part of my interest in Yin yoga came about because I kept finding some new injury or other. When I arrived at the training I had intense pain in both of my hips, and had put myself on rest the whole week prior thinking it was an overuse injury. So I declared at the start that I was unable to take part in any hip opening postures, but was happy to watch from the sidelines. After a discussion with some of the other students about the lines we draw between pain and opening I decided, nervously, to start to explore the sensations in my hips and discover if they actually were pain. I took myself into the pose I was most terrified of in my state: half pigeon. I moved very slowly, prepared to back out quickly. And as I tuned in I realised that pain and fear can be the same thing. In my fear that I had somehow destroyed my hip forever and would never be able to practice yoga again, I had decided to not move it at all and that any movement was pain. The mind is a powerful weapon and it’s so easy to use it against ourselves! Once I had gotten past this fear and the associated sensations, what followed was an intense release, unlike anything I have ever felt before and OMG THE EMOTIONS!!

A YTT will sometimes cover Yin training, mine didn’t at all. But with only 200hrs what more can your do but brush the surface of what this practice means and the power it can have to change your life. If you are a teacher I would absolutely suggest furthering your knowledge with a specialist Yin training, and as a practitioner if you have yet to dip your toes into a Yin class go and do it!

I will teaching yin yoga on my upcoming retreats. Our Iceland retreat is fully booked, and there four spaces are left if you want to join us in Greece in August.

Kathrine MacLeod