JULIET TRIES YIN YOGA AT KAYA HEALTH CLUBS
by Juliet Sulejmani
“I hope you’ve settled in and are ready for level ten yoga.” They’re the first words Derrik Leduc our Yin Yoga teacher said to us once we had settled into the yoga studio. We were all lying on our mats, legs draped over bolster’s and covered in blankets. You could instantly spot the newbies (myself included) with their surprised darting eyes, and speech bubbles appearing atop their heads “What! Level 10! I thought this was Yin.” While at the same time a subtle cheeky grin was visible in the corners of Derek’s mouth. That one joke really seemed to set the mood and bring all to ease and Derek’s jokes got even better as the class went on.
This wasn’t my first time doing Yin Yoga, I had tried it two other times, at two different studios. I chose to start with Yin for my first class at Kaya because I knew it would be the easiest. The first two times I tried Yin, I didn’t get it, or know what I was supposed to be doing. After this class at Kaya, I realised that a key to Yin is practice (like any yoga class really). You need to give it a few go’s to allow yourself to get into its groove. I also realised that your yoga teacher really has an effect on what you get out of the class (Derek is great.)
Firstly, what is Yin? It’s the other side of Yang. It’s soft and still as opposed to hardness and movement. You need both for harmony, and your typical yoga classes are the yang. The way Derek explained Yin Yoga, is that you’re working on stretching the connective tissues, they harder to stretch than other tissue. He said to imagine stretching out a rubber band, then to imagine stretching out a sheet of plastic, and the latter is connective tissue. So because of this, in Yin, you hold the poses for much longer than you would expect, or be used to. This is so that you can work on stretching out those connective tissues. With each second that passes you try to ease into the stretch, and sink deeper and deeper into the ground. It is incredible how comfortable you can get in the most bizarre positions ever.
There is much more to Yin Yoga, but some benefits include; improved flexibility, stress and anxiety reduction, calming the mind and body and greater joint mobility. After the class, I felt like I had found and pressed the ‘restore factory settings’ button for my body. As I was walking from the studio to my car, I felt like I was floating, my limbs were so relaxed and tensionless, it was an incredible feeling. Based on my experiences with yoga, I believe it’s one of the most necessary practices for us in this modern world. It gives you the chance to zone out and find your zen. At the most basic level, it provides an hour of phoneless, contactless time, time for just yourself and for connecting with your mind and body. My favourite part is always the savasana at the end of the class.
MY TIPS FOR NEWBIES TO YIN YOGA AT KAYA
- Arrive slightly earlier to ensure you get a spot and also so that you can grab a spot close to the front. Typically beginners like to be at the back, but in this class, you’ll spend most of the time on the ground and it can be hard to see what the teacher is doing if you’re all the way at the back.
- Leave everything in the lockers. Leave your shoes in your locker. Socks are up to you, socks are great for extra grip, but as you’ll be on the floor for most of the time it doesn’t really matter.
- At the start of the class, you’ll need a mat, a blanket, a bolster (bolsters will change your life for the better, I need to buy one for home!), and a block. All these items are provided.
- At Kaya Emporium, most of the girls wear black, long black tights with a black t-shirt or long sleeve tee. There are some girls who wear colour and patterned gym clothes, so if that’s more your style, then you do you. And the guys typically wear a t-shirt and shorts.
KĀYA Health Clubs offer Pilates classes and Yoga Classes in South Melbourne at our Prahran location and at our centrally located Emporium club in the Melbourne CBD. With our focus on the provision of authentic