Many yoga students race into class at the last minute. Once their spot is secured, they’ll breathe a sigh of relief – momentarily – then spend around 75 minutes striving, pushing and sweating through a class.
Tania Perry owns and teaches at Humble Warrior yoga studio in Abbotsford, and says that Yin – a slow, gentle form of yoga – is a surprise to many who associate the practice with acrobatic poses and a dance-like flow.
At Perry’s studio, she will guide you into a series of poses which are each held for two to five minutes in order to release tension from the fascia (protective tissue around the muscles). Once in position, you should feel a gentle to moderate stretch, but much of the focus is on breathing. It’s a wonderful way to slow down a busy, stressed mind and body.
“It is what I love to teach. It makes sense to me,” Perry says. “Not being so focused on alignment and precision – it is an art form, not an exact science. This appeals to most people as they can shape the practice to suit them. They do not have to conform to rigid rules and guidelines, they listen to the feedback from their own body and can really find their own way forward.”
Catering to the individual is central to Perry’s teaching and the ethos of the studio.
“People from all walks of life enjoy yin,” says Perry. “We find alternatives and look for solutions to assist all bodies into the poses. As we do not rely on how the poses look, but focus more on how they feel and where to feel them, we can adjust the practice to suit individuals.”
The studio, located a few blocks back from Victoria Street’s Skipping Girl Vinegar sign, is minimally decorated. There are polished floorboards, coloured cushions and neat rows of mats. It's quiet and peaceful, and there's enough space between the mats to not feel you're about to topple onto your neighbour. Scented oils and coloured lighting are tailored to different styles of yin classes.
Students don’t need to bring anything along to the studio – it’s fully equipped with mats, blogs, straps and blankets – and don’t need any experience to try a class. Perry says the challenge is in mental resilience rather than physical fitness.
“It requires courage, willpower and determination to hold poses for three to six minutes, to remain still and to work on ceasing the fluctuations of the mind,” she says. “There is always an element of encouraging awareness, curiosity … to explore and to try out new ways to find the stretch.”
11 Acacia Place, Abbotsford
0419 375 731
Mon & Wed 9am–9pm