There is nothing like smashing out a 45-minute circuit class with your BFF on a Saturday morning to leave you buzzing on a high. An adrenalin rush that gives you the bona fide confidence to head straight to the beach wearing your new bikini.
High-intensity classes, or ‘Yang’ based activities, are considered by heaps of people to be the only real form of exercise.
The benefits to the cardiovascular, muscular and skeletal system are undeniable. Energetically we feel alive and it breeds confidence and positivity. They are designed to push you to your limits, get your heart pumping and your sweat flowing. Addiction kicks in and you start to believe that your self-worth is tied to whether or not you nail 3-4 classes a week. If you stop you are worthless, and you will have to be craned out of your bedroom because you no longer fit through the door. Or… maybe you just beat yourself up for that chocolate croissant and add an extra session to make up for it. You’re YANGing on for dear life.
More and more of us are starting to understand that too much yang will at some point lead to an imbalance in the body and mind. That’s when injury, illness and general grumpiness start to set in. Just like the sun and the moon, the chicken and the egg, the Yang needs its Yin.
In this era of YANG, Lisa Minett from My Mama Said has found so many of her clients are relieved and happy to hear that it’s no sin to add a bit of Yin to their routine to break up a routine.
Power Pilates and boxing circuits are not going anywhere, but they’re being balanced out with Yin alternatives that create a well-rounded exercise program. Restorative and Yin Yoga, are growing in popularity as people are discovering the power of active rest to assist in recovery. Mindfulness and meditation sessions are cropping up on studio schedules due to the proven results they provide against stress, anxiety and depression. Stretch and release classes are as healing and relaxing as a spa massage treatment (without the price tag!).
Yin based classes are designed to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system known commonly as our rest and relax mode.
Yang classes are activating our sympathetic system, fight or flight responses. If you’re doing 3-4 classes a week in Yang based activities, plus the everyday stresses of working, raising a family and generally living life, perhaps you could try swapping one of those HIIT sessions for a Yin based activity. It might introduce you to some new techniques, and help you stop YANGing on to old habits!