Boredom is one of the biggest challenges in practicing Yin Yoga. Staying still for three to five minutes in one pose, even if it is a comfortable one, is boring. And when it’s not comfortable, your body is screaming at you to MOVE!
As Bernie Clark writes in YinSights, “We ask ourselves to remain still, but we can’t. We fidget, we feel an itch, and immediately react and scratch it. We just can’t settle down and be still. Usually when the body is moving, it is a sign that the mind is moving. And when the mind is moving, usually the breath is also fractured. Smoothing the breath, and watching it calm and slow is one excellent way to calm the mind. Once the mind is calmer, the body will move less. Once the body is quiet there will be less need to breathe fast, and the cycle will positively reinforce itself.”
In the words of Larry Rosenberg, “it is the mind that just sits.” (Breath by Breath)
Yin Yoga is referred to as a discipline of yielding, not acting. But sometimes yielding is a tough act! One of its lessons is to teach us to “not struggle” and allow things to unfold. But sometimes the yielding is not fun.
Here’s a secret: Yin Yoga is NOT supposed to be comfortable. If you want comfort—do a Restorative Class. Ah, what’s the difference you ask? Maybe 1/2 an inch. Yup, you push yourself just to your edge in Yin.
Yin takes you slightly outside your comfort zone. Much of the benefit of the practice will come from staying in discomfort, despite the mind’s urgent pleas to leave, to move, to do anything but just lie there. This too is part of the discipline.
There are two times when you move in Yin: when you are in pain, move out of the posture, when the body opens up and it is inviting us to go deeper in a pose.
To quote Jane Fredric’s, “This is not the time to check out your pedicure, check the time, or check out what other people are wearing. This is the time for stillness.”