I've been struggling with exercise this week. I think the hot weather and the pollen are making me feel lethargic. Having done zero exercise at all by Saturday, I decided to at least try something gentle, and signed up for a Yin Yoga class at the Notting Hill Life Centre through Class Pass.
I've done lots of yoga before: mostly vinyasa and bikram. Apparently - I did not know this before - these are so-called "yang", or masculine forms of yoga, which, put very simply, means they are more physically demanding. I read somewhere that the main difference between Yin and Yang yoga is that Yang yoga raises your body temperature. If you want to know more about Yin yoga, I recommend this website: www.yinyoga.com.
The class involved holding various postures (sitting, kneeling or lying down) for three minutes, and allowing gravity to naturally sink you deeper into that posture. There was an emphasis on mindfulness during the practice, which made it a very interesting experience. I discovered that there was a lot of tension in my body, but I was able to eventually push past it. It felt awkward and a bit painful, but by the end of the class I felt lighter somehow.
While we were holding the postures, the teacher, Amanda Wright, talked to the class about a book she was reading on the "five hindrances", which is a concept that comes from Buddhism and is about mental factors that prevent us from progressing in our daily lives. One of them is lethargy, which felt very appropriate. I really liked the teacher. Unlike many yoga teachers I've met, she came across as completely unpretentious. She was also picked up immediately that I was new to the class and made me feel comfortable.
I really enjoyed this class and will definitely go back. I left the class feeling like I had pushed myself to my limits, but in a very different way from what I'm used to. I learned that, if the objective is to be healthy, it is not always necessary to push yourself to the point of utter exhaustion. It's important to listen to you body and take breaks when it demands it.
The Notting Hill Life Centre also offers many other types of yoga classes, and I plan to check some of those out too. Let me know if you have any questions, or, if you have been to the Life Centre, which classes you would recommend.