In a culture that supports nonstop doing, many of us have lost sight of what it means to slow down. The spread of yoga in the West was supposed to be a way to remedy that…but, of course, we take it, change it, and make it our own.
Yoga for this, yoga for that, goat yoga, the list goes on. It's not all bad, I have to say—goat yoga sounds glorious to me—but have we also lost sight of the essence of this 5,000-year-old practice? Most ancient texts discuss yoga as a practice to control the senses and ultimately, the mind. Contorting our bodies into crazy shapes and nailing handstands were most likely not what these Hindu texts were referring to.
While not all vinyasa classes are this way, many of them only encourage asana—the physical practice of yoga. One of the front-runners of yoga styles in the West, vinyasa is a good entry point for many seeking to understand what all the fuss is about. But is it sustainable? In addition to eventually teaching more advanced postures like headstand and handstand, it shows newbies how linking breath to movement can cultivate a moving meditation of sorts. For us super-active types, this is great—until it starts hurting us more than helping us.
As you work to incorporate more balance (no pun intended) and moderation into your yoga routine, consider adding in a yin yoga practice, more commonly known as restorative yoga.
To complement your active, yang asana practices, restorative practice will slow down your body and mind to help you find more comfort and ease. Restorative yoga is just the antidote we need for our fast-paced Western culture.
Here are five reasons you should add more yin to your yang for the ultimate balance on and off the mat: