Yang & Yin Yoga by Angela Sykes

What is a Yang style class?

Yang style classes are more heating and dynamic – you can feel the heat building in the body and you feel like you have worked physically. Even in yang classes there are elements of Yin – so as we are working hard we also want to experience a relaxed strength – yoga is not about pushing yourself 100 percent. I find by giving around 80 percent in a yang style class I can still invite some yin in, focus on the breath, become aware and steady the mind. We also need to make sure we train ourselves to breath ujjiai pranayama otherwise we can ‘burn out’ in a yang style practice- the prana (life force which we breath in) ignites the fire but also stops the fire getting out on control. Great Yang style classes are Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Hot Yoga and stronger Hatha classes.

What are the benefits of a Yang style class?

Yang classes help us to build strength, flexibility and a meditative mind. We need yang style practices to ‘wake us up’ to activate the body and the solar side of our nature. In yang classes there is lots of focus on activating the muscles, activating the hands and feet while bearing in mind this ongoing connection to breath and the meditative aspects of the practice. There is always time at the end for relaxation.

Are there any things we need to be aware of in Yang style classes?

Sometimes in Yang practices we can begin to compete with ourselves and others, see how much we can push and view new poses as badges of honour- we must be vigilant and aware that in order to develop in yoga we must have the right attitude which is one of non competitiveness and humility – the last thing we want to do on the mat is to develop our ego further, instead we want to begin to peel away the layers of the ego and begin to see who we really are without seeing through the filter of our ego self. If you feel yourself beginning to push and compete take a rest come back to your breath, your intention and bodily sensations – this will bring you back into the present moment. We also need to be careful we are not being too lazy! If you are the kind of person who opts out too easily you might need to work a little harder. We are all different and have different things we need to learn from our practice – this is your personal journey.

What is a Yin style class

Yin style classes are calming, releasing, restful and melty. Yin style classes are associated with the lunar side of our nature can be challenging in a different way. In Yin style classes we have to master the art of letting go and of doing less which can be challenging especially at first. If you are a person who is always on the go it would be beneficial for you to try a Yin style class – perhaps one per week to begin with so that you can learn to slow down. In the West we have a go go go culture – Yin style classes teach to relax, restore, mediate and breathe. Great Yin stye classes are Yin Yoga, Restorative, Yoga Gently and Gentle Hatha classes.

What are the benefits of a Yin style class?

Yin style classes help us to restore our energy levels and help us to deeply relax. There is often a big focus on breathing and letting go. Yin style classes are a great way prepare our mind for meditation (if we can stay awake!) or sleep (if we are over tired).

Are there any things we need to be aware of in Yin style classes?

Sometimes if students are new to yoga they find yin style classes very challenging as there is less ‘to do’. If you have a very active mind and find relaxation difficult this class may be more challenging for you than a more active class – yin style sessions are not always easy for a busy mind.

Want to try Yang and Yin?

At Yoga Kula we believe in finding balance in your life and your yoga practice. Every Thursday morning we run a Yang style class – Ashtanga 10.15 -11.15 and a Yin style class – Yin Yoga 11.30-12.30. We recommend if students have time to try both classes (even if it’s not every week) so you can begin to experience the benefits of the Yang and Yin styles working together. Come along and try our Yang and Yin double whammy and bring that balance into your life.

A x

See you on the mat

Have a look at our other classes on offer here.