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Hurry Up and Slow Down with Yin

Yoga Santosha Blog Hurry Up and Slow Down with Yin

APRIL 16, 2018

Hurry Up and Slow Down with Yin

Most of us have been there: pressing snooze a few too many times in the morning and then rushing to get showered, dressed and fed. We often move through the motions of our morning routine, while simultaneously checking emails, scrolling through social media and getting up to speed on the daily news. Then we rush out the door to work.

Depending on the day we may find ourselves hustling from meeting to meeting, task to task, eating lunch at our desks (if we even eat lunch), and then all of a sudden the work day is over.

But we aren’t done rushing yet!

If we hurry, we can make it to a 4:45 pm yoga class before meeting friends for dinner at 6 pm.

Go, go, go.

We speed walk into the studio, take off our coats as we sign in and finally, as we kick our mats open and settle in, we find stillness if only for a few breaths.

But it doesn’t stop there, does it?

Of course not!

After moving through the day with pace and intensity, two minutes in reclined butterfly before class starts is just enough to slow down our breathing, but our minds continue to race. And as we move through our practice, we almost feel compelled to move through each posture like we moved through the day – quickly, mindlessly – as our thoughts wander from the next pose to the next event of the evening.

“I wonder if so and so will be late again?”

Downward dog.

“I have such a headache. I don’t even want to go to dinner.”

High plank.

“I just want to go home and watch [Insert Netflix binge watch show here].”

Child’s pose.

Deep exhale. Pause. Reflect.

“This class must be almost over.”

It’s not our fault, really. It’s just the way it is. We are constantly surrounded by stimuli. There is always something to think about, to do, to read. There are photos to scroll through, life events to consider and people to spend time with.

We know we need to take time for ourselves, to find stillness and moments of contemplation, but we have come to live in a constant state of flight or fight. Our stressed minds and bodies, our heads on a swivel, always looking out for the next thing.

So what do we do?


That’s right, yin yoga will save the day.

Seriously though, the benefits of yin extend far beyond the physical body, but it isn’t always the first class choice because, well, let’s face it, some people come to yoga to move fast, sweat and get out and on with their lives.

The beauty of yin is that it forces us to slow down.

Yin is our opportunity to be still; to be a human being instead of a human doing. There is nowhere to go to escape the stories our minds tell us or the sensations in our bodies. There is no vinyasa to distract us from tight glutes and spinning mental wheels. Whatever is there, whether it’s physical, mental or emotional now has an opportunity to come up. Instead of distracting ourselves with endless squats, Instagram and mindless Netflix watching, yin gives us an opportunity to be fully present.

This is not easy. And for some, these long holds are harder than a strong vinyasa sequence.

Be with my thoughts? Naw.

Chill in childs’ pose for three minutes? Pass.

The myth about yin is that you need to quiet the mind. If you learn how to do this, please share. Rather than trying to silence our thoughts, why not view it as an opportunity to be a passive observer?

It’s always interesting for me to see what comes up. Sometimes my self talk revolves around the music selection, and sometimes I find myself very wrapped up in what I’m making for dinner as I close my eyes in a reclined twist. Other times I fall asleep, waking myself up with a soft snore only to realize that we have moved on but not knowing how long I was out.

My experience with yin is transferable to my entire practice, heck, my life.

Find comfort in the discomfort.

Don’t be afraid of the edge, but don’t go over either.

Be safe, but don’t be afraid to take risks.

And so, if you feel yourself rushing through the day, or if you’re days begin to blur together due to all the human doing, give yourself the gift of space, of time. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You fall asleep? Maybe that’s exactly what you need.

-Ashley Atkinson

Ashley is a surfer, yogi and writer living and loving in Calgary, AB. She aims to write the way she lives – freely and unapologetically.

Read more of Ashley’s essays at or follow her on Instagram @anothergirlnamedashley