As Esther Ekhar stated, “Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature.”
On my way out of yoga class, I said to the woman who had been beside me,
“I love Yin Yoga. It’s one of the most subtle, yet powerful, things in life.”
When I had only recently been able to get back to my yoga practice after a long hiatus due to muscle weakness from illness, my Yin Yoga teacher made a prediction:
“Yin yoga will make you strong again,” she said.
I didn’t think she was talking about the kind of strength it took to bench press 450 pounds at the gym, but more the kind of strength it took to keep going and to recognize the things that really mattered in life.
I got in the car and thought about what she had said and about my expressing to the woman in class that Yin Yoga was subtle yet powerful.
While I was waiting for the light to change, I wondered what other things I could say the same thing about.
What other things in life are both “subtle and powerful” at the same time?
I started a list in my head:
Freshly cooked oatmeal on a new autumn morning.
The fragrance of my husband’s neck.
The pungent, familiar smell of garlic cooking in olive oil.
The dog sleeping quietly in a shaft of sunlight.
The words “I miss you.”
A letter in the mailbox.
A glass of ice water on a hot day.
The hands of my massage therapist.
An audience of strangers all singing the same song.
Every day, we encounter things, events and moments, that are subtle yet powerful.
They move us. They nurture us. They hold us up in our struggles. They are there, calling to us to be recognized and appreciated so that they can continue to work their magic in our lives and in our world.
Because they are subtle, they are by their nature small, quiet, and barely noticeable. Yet because they are also powerful, they have a constant impact on us.
They live next door or come in grocery bags or are brought with the knock of a delivery man, but no matter how they come there is a constant stream of them walking right up to the front porch of our lives, asking to be let in.
They are the things that life is made of, the everyday things that matter.
With my spontaneous comment to the woman next to me in class, it was being revealed to me how the subtle yet powerful characteristics of Yin Yoga are also a metaphor for all of life.
As my friend, Lora Sheldon, traveling teacher and practitioner of Yin Yoga says:
“What draws me to Yin Yoga is the richness and depth I find in a practice that appears uncomplicated, while being accessible to everyone. Contained in a system that has 20 core asanas is an unlimited wealth of possibility [and] the philosophy behind the scenes…honors both yogic and Taoist teachings. Soft yet hard, static yet deeply active; letting the dark into the light and the yin into our own modern yang asana practices.”
Author: Carmelene Siani
Image: Flickr/David Amsler
Editor: Travis May