My love affair with yoga started with the discovery of the practice of Yin Yoga, and though I have found my way through different classes and yoga styles, I always, always find myself coming home to Yin. It truly is love. Every Yin class I go to brings me deeper and deeper in love with the practice. And each time I come out of my practice, I bring with me a deeper awareness of self.

Last Sunday, my dear friend and yoga teacher, Dona Tumacder-Esteban, graciously invited me to sit in and document her workshop on the physical body, yin yang theories and the practice of yin yoga. Although I have been practicing yin with her about fourteen months now, and even if I have been to several of her workshops, being there allowed me to appreciate the practice even more.

Dona doing the "hold up your finger and pull" exercise to demonstrate the importance of approaching yin yoga with completely relaxed muscles

She began with a discussion of the concepts of Yin and Yang and how this is reflected in the physical body. She also went on to discuss the value of stretching out the connective tissues in the body and how this allows us to create (or recreate) spaces in our bodies, especially in places like our spine and our hips. This allows for better circulation and flow of energy or chi in the body. Further, the workshop allowed participants to better appreciate how yin contributes to a more holistic yoga practice and how Yin contributes to increased flexibility and freedom of movement, both of which can enhance the more yang yoga practices and asanas.

One thing I have always loved about the practice of yin yoga is how it affects not just my physical body, but also my mental and emotional sides as well. However, since the workshop was focused on the physical body, Dona was not able to delve too deeply into the other aspects of yin yet. Those will be discussed in the next few modules. The present workshop was actually just the first in a series that will be held throughout the Saturdays (at Echo Yoga, Makati) and Sundays (at Beyond Yoga, QC) of March. Please do check out the posters below for dates and details.

During the workshop I got to observe the practice in a different way. Since I was not really a participant that day, I was able to watch how others made use of their bodies and how the lines along the body during the asanas look like. It gave me a visual reference for many of the things I had heard from Dona in the past, thus allowing me to appreciate what she meant with terms like breathing into the back body, lengthening the spine, and not collapsing into the pose.  It also allowed me to explore how I feel about holding the space for someone else and supporting them in various poses. On a more personal level, during the question and answer part of the workshop I was able to gain a lot of insights about the practice which allowed me to appreciate how far I have grown from the very first time I made it to the mat.So whether it is your first time to explore yin, or perhaps your hundredth time, these workshops will definitely give you a deeper appreciation of the practice of yoga as a whole. And perhaps you, too, will find yourself falling in love, or deeper in love, with Yin.

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