I give myself permission to relax. When was the last time you said that to yourself? In our busy lives it’s often difficult to find the time to be still, breath and relax, but we recently did just that at the Yin + Crystal Bowls class at 889 Yoga. The mantra of giving ourselves the permission to relax was repeated when we settled into poses and it gave us the opportunity to breath, relax and be still.
Located at 889 Yonge Street, in between Rosedale and Bloor subway stations, the studio is on street level and has a large window store front that looks into the reception area. There is a bar top for yogis to enjoy cold pressed juice or a sweet treat sold at the studio. After checking in, you walk through their small boutique featuring essential oils, natural makeup and a small selection of clothing. It’s difficult not to get sidetracked with all the beautiful health and beauty brands featured in the boutique.
When we entered the “Earth” room (one of the two practice rooms at 889) we were asked to gather a few pieces of equipment (equipment in a yin class usually means that they will assist you in feeling a deeper stretch). We were asked to get: blocks, a bolster, a blanket and a squishy ball. After our instructor asked if there were any last minute requests (one was: attention to the hips), we began our practice.
When the first note of the crystal bowls was played, it took us a moment to get used to the vibrations that were produced by the bowls and reverberated throughout the space. We found that the sounds of the crystal bowls grounded us and helped us with our meditation and stillness. By having the opportunity to balance the mind and body, we were able to let go and feel the full effects of the stretch.
The lights remained off during the early evening class and as the sun began to set, so did the light streaming into the room, helping deepen our relaxation. As promised, the class focused on releasing the hips, opening the chest, and alleviating stress from the shoulders. Because poses are held longer in a yin class, there are less poses practiced in the class itself.
We found it challenging to find the pose, stay there, and simply breathe into it. Being mindful and not letting your mind wander is just as challenging (if not more so) as tackling a sweaty series of exercises in workout class. What we enjoyed most was the opportunity to give this time to ourselves and to leave feeling rested and rejuvenated.