I received a supplemental Yoga Journal last month that was all about building a daily yoga practice. It included a chart for a six week program with different poses and plans and then told you what pages of the journal you could find those routines. One of the classes they recommended was a series of nine poses done in a Yin style of yoga. Yin yoga is a passive style of yoga that uses seated or supine posses to stretch the muscles and connective tissue in the hips and legs in order for you to sit longer and more comfortably in meditation. The idea is to hold each pose for 3-5 minutes. It is also the kind of practice that aids in lowering cortisol levels, a stress hormone that messes with your immune system and encourages the body to hang onto fat.
My yoga practice has never been Yin. That doesn't mean I have a hard core Ashtanga practice either. I'd like to think my practice is a nice balance of difficult and relaxing. I start off with several rounds of surya namaskar, followed up with a focus on a few key poses. I try to throw in poses I generally do not like to do because one day they will become poses that I love to do. I finish off with some twists and a nice fifteen minute savasana. You see, a long time ago, way back when I learned about doshas, I read the part about how Kaphas tend to be overweight and sluggish and just went right ahead and declared that I was predominantly kapha. It is not true and I know that now, but it's still there in the back of my head whenever I get on my mat or the treadmill or find myself in a step aerobics class. That little kapha voice in my head says "Cindy, you are fat and slow so you better push yourself or you're going to stay fat and slow." Isn't that little kapha voice mean?
The other day, I rolled out my yoga mat and told that little kapha voice to be quite. I sat down on my mat and then proceeded through the nine poses in the magazine, holding each for five minutes. It was torture. You know how Professor X can hear thoughts from every person in the world and it's just a constant noise of chatter in his head? It was like that in my brain except all of the thoughts were my own. When the inside of my brain wasn't screaming in a million voices, I was the little kid in the back seat of a car saying "are we there yet?" over and over. And it was not like I was forcing myself to stay in the most difficult of yoga poses. They were the kind of poses that I typically do to cool down and prepare for savasana. They were the kind of poses that are yummy for the brief amount of time I had been usually holding them. Five minutes is a really long time. It's a life time. I wouldn't have been surprised to discover that years had passed while I had been on my mat in that practice.
Yet I persisted, holding each pose until the timer dinged to move to the next pose. I took note of what the mind chatter was saying. Most of the chatter is me writing up entries in my head. How to write the story? Maybe that chatter wouldn't be so loud if I actually sat down and wrote the damn story. Eventually, I reached a moment when I was able to reel in all the mind chatter and settle into savasana. I got up from my mat knowing full well that I am more pitta/vata than kapha and feeling a little lighter.
I got up from my mat knowing that I need to write the damn story.