“Brightening Our Inner Skies”

is a book by Norman Blair that found its way into my hands.  Norman Blair’s yoga practice was primarily Ashtanga which is a style of yoga known for intensity, discipline and progressive advancement and challenges.  So it’s a surprise perhaps that he practices Yin yoga?  That’s the point.  I was talking with my former cohort in yoga training and heard him say emphatically, Yin yoga is not what I need.  Which is the exact opposite of what I thought of – I beg to counter – It’s actually exactly what he needs.  Maybe for some, the protocol is for the sweaty heated hard practice to wring out the stagnation; if so, then, all the more we need to offset that kind of yang with a divergent practice for a well rounded practices that addresses the needs of not just muscle strengthening but then us humans have other body components – bones, joints, fascia, tendons, ligaments … and the internal organs and … THE MIND.

Those who protest too much and emphatic are exactly the ones who will grow the most from a practice that contrasts that Ashtanga yoga practice one might adhere to. If you like challenges; if you like to strive and achieve and win; if you are Type A prototype … then all the more you actually NEED the kind of yoga practice seemingly “soft”.  Ashtanga yoga so it makes sense.  Sarah Powers describes yin yoga as “unhurried postures unstained by striving” – it’s a mindset – in other words, opposite to Ashtanga practice depending on how it’s practice – depending on the intention.

Bernie Clark talks about the Goldilocks middle ground idea .. neither too hard nor too soft: finding the middle way, with support to sustain stillness.

The quality of yang might be defined as intense and fierce, faster, and hot; in contrast the quality of yin could be described as softer, slower, cooling.

According to Norman Blair, in practicing Yin, we let these five qualities guide us: softening, patience, kindness, effort, dedication .. these four points could ground us: pause and soften, connect, allow, listen… I LOVE this practice !

Sometimes I call this practice ‘the middle way’, between comfort and challenge.

from Brightening Our Inner Skies by Norman Blair

It’s exactly what I was referring to ! The effort tampered with … ease, to find that place of stillness and peace.  And that comes for many after a challenge or to prepare for a challenge.

Early morning subbing of 6am Strong Flow class (FUN! revisiting my former practice – no we did not flow through 108 surya namaskar – rather, following the intelligence of the master yogi’s prescription for a truly STRONG practice);  then Yin class (PEACE & CLARITY:) – Nice way to start the morning waking up with well paced YANG then … softening into Yin … to cool down to prepare for the rising heat of summer day to come. Embracing that heat knowing how to cool off, not burn out.

Thank you for this well balanced practice.  Perfect morning practice if you carve out the time. From shortening and contracting and stiffening – Like your body, time too can expand and extend.  We can move with fluidity when we have the strength and flexibility.

Did you know ?  Great read “Yoga Body” by Mark Singleton


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