I am one of the fortunate souls who gets to regularly practice her yoga at Tranquil Space in Washington, DC. I stumbled upon it nearly two years ago, when I weighed 70 pounds more than I do now and as I was looking for a small step to lose some of that weight. I did a web search for "yoga + Washington, DC" and was drawn to the photos of people laughing at themselves in the "newbie programs" section of the website. I didn't see how I could benefit from the poses if I couldn't even touch my toes but if those people could do it, then maybe I could too.
I enrolled in a beginner's series that, without a doubt, changed my life. I will forever be grateful to my first two Tranquil Space teachers--thank you for everything, Gina and Dibora!--for their support, encouragement and inspiration. They pushed me to places I never thought I would have been able to go and started me on this journey with a practice that I will have for the rest of my life. In fact, it was with Dibora's advice that I took level 1 of the teaching training and followed that with pre- and post-natal teacher training. Tranquil Space now feels like home.
Tranquil Space is owned by Kimberly Wilson, who is a woman of many hats: yoga teacher, entrepreneur, author, blogger, fashion designer (more on these wonderful clothes later!) and do-gooder. I've taken a few workshops and classes with her and they never fail to be anything short of amazing. When I saw that she was teaching a yin yoga/restorative workshop this afternoon--as I am in the midst of the stress of finals and paper writing for graduate school and a week after having done something awful to my back that limited my practice--I jumped at the chance. Only figuratively, of course, since my back is still not up to 100% just yet. Our yin practice was followed by a slow flow and a few restorative poses.
Yin yoga is the complementary practice to the "yang" form of yoga. In yin, seated asanas (postures) are held for several (sometimes many!) minutes. These poses work the ligaments instead of the muscles. Overall, I would liken it to giving yourself a massage from the inside. It also works to quiet the mind. I encourage you to give it a try if you can. If you want to learn more about yin yoga, you could take a peak at this book or this one or even do this DVD.
I think I like yin yoga because, once I settle into it, it makes the day melt away and my mind slows down. I am home now, feeling rested, calm and ready to take on this paper.
Thanks, Kimberly, for a great afternoon of yoga!
Photo credit: David Martinez for Yoga Journal