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Yin Yoga for Bondage

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Yin Yoga for Bondage

Hi. This is Dave introducing a guest article here. Yin Yoga for Bondage is by BYG (Bendy Yoga Girl from Boston at the time of writing and just lately relocated to Seattle) I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

As a yoga person, and a bondage person, I’m always happy to hear teachers talk about the importance of stretching as it relates to bondage. There are two main buckets of stretching, if you will: static and dynamic. Static stretching involves holding positions for at least 30 seconds, although I recommend 1.5 to 3 minutes (I’ll get into the why of this in a bit). Dynamic stretching involves using movement to take the body to (not beyond) its limit. Dynamic stretching increases blood flow to the areas that are being worked. The debate between the efficacy of dynamic vs. static stretching has resulted in a great deal of research on the matter. In a study by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, researchers found that athletes (runners) generated less force in their leg muscles after static stretching than after no stretching at all, indicating that performance (running, etc.) is enhanced by not doing slow stretches before working out. The inverse of this finding would state that static stretching inhibits athletic performance (running, etc.)

Here are some effects of static stretching one it’s held for more than a minute or so:
muscles relax
fascia is stretched
ligaments stretch
mobility in the joint that is being stressed increases
flexibility in the general area that is being stretched increases
If one was to work the hips in such a way as to relax all of the muscles, and then ask the legs to do, say, a 5k run… well, yes. This would inhibit performance.

If, however, one was to work the hips in such a way as to relax all of the muscles, and then ask the legs to do, say, an intense forward fold and add a strapaddo? The person in the tie might appreciate range of motion.

Yes, I know some of you sadistic rope tops might be thinking to yourselves “but I want my bottom to suffer”, and as a masochist, I can speak for many of us in saying “we want to suffer for you”. We can suffer longer if our bodies are more flexible in our joints, and flexibility in the joints is not governed by muscle tissue: it’s governed by connective tissue.

Of the myriad forms of Hatha Yoga out there – and all physical practice is a form of Hatha Yoga – the one which most effectively addresses the appropriate stress of connective tissue is Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga is characterized by deep, static floor postures which are held for 1.5 – 5 minutes. In Yin Yoga, one works just short of his/her edge (how far you can move in any given direction), and stays still. After a minute or two, the muscles relax enough for the fascia and ligaments involved in the position to get appropriately stressed (in this context, bone is considered connective tissue).

Appropriate stress is very critical when connective tissue is concerned. Think of teeth for a moment with me. Let’s say you have crooked teeth and you want to straighten them, so you do dynamic stretching with them – 3 sets of 10 wiggles per day, moving the teeth back and forth and sideways. What will happen eventually, of course, is that you will pull the teeth right out of your head. I suppose you could get dentures to have straight teeth at that point, but most of us don’t want that, yes?

If, however, you put gentle traction on teeth over a long period of time, slowly adjusting the tension of the traction, you can successfully re-arrange the teeth in the mouth, straightening them. We call this ‘having braces’.

Well, you can do this with your skeleton, realigning bones, shifting the structure itself, but you don’t do that with dynamic stretching. No, my friends, and you don’t do that by creating micro-tears in muscles so they will get stronger (which is extremely healthy and important). You get there by being still, and relaxing.

For almost all of my students, this is the singularly most challenging way to work. My sense is that, beyond the physical discomfort of holding a posture like ½ pigeon for 5 minutes, there are a lot of mental challenges at play.

For one thing, the discipline it takes to stay still even when the body is sending signals of discomfort is extremely difficult for many people to cultivate. We tend towards comfort, after all.

Add to that any thoughts that might be arising, thoughts like “This is bullshit” “I’m never going to get as flexible as I want” and “I suck”… long holds create opportunity to get to know one’s mind in ways one might be surprised to learn.

There’s an emotional component as well. If you are of a similar opinion as I, you believe the body holds memories, trauma, disappointment, etc. in tissues. The long holds of Yin Yoga literally give the body time to release issues from tissues, and while this is wonderful, it can also be uncomfortable.

All of these things that arise during a Yin Yoga practice have the potential to arise during bondage. ALL OF THEM. The physical discomfort, the awareness of thought, and the emotional release. I can say from my own experience, that my Yin Yoga practice has done much more for me as a rope bottom than my Vinyasa and Bikram practices – not because the forms aren’t as good for my body, but rather because Yin Yoga is contemplative and gives me a different way to cultivate mindfulness and connect with my body. (FYI – Vinyasa Yoga is a form of dynamic stretching, and Bikram is a hybrid).

The other thing I really appreciate about Yin Yoga is that practitioners have time to get into a pose and be there for a while, so this form is wonderful for folks who are new to yoga. Finally, Yin Yoga provides a balance to performance (yang) activities, such as running, playing basketball, rigging bondage, parenting, working, etc…

There is a guy here in the states named Paulie Zink who is often considered the main mover and shaker in the Yin Yoga movement. His web site has a lot of great information about Yin Yoga in it. Also look for my upcoming, Yoga for Kinksters Volume 1. It is a kinkified Yin Yoga practice I’m putting together just for our community.

Namaste,

Bendyogagirl

p.s. from Dave (There were some images with this article but they seem no to want to part company with the original document they arrived in. I will try to get them or suitable replacements soon)

By | 2016-10-28T16:39:56+00:00 September 21st, 2012|Categories: Learning|Tags: , |3 Comments

About the Author:

WykD_Dave (Dave Rickman) is a UK-based rope enthusiast, who now teaches and performs internationally accompanied by his partner Clover. He started exploring bondage 22 years ago and was autodidact for the first 17 years, until a lesson with rope professional Osada Steve changed his way of tying. Dave loves Japanese style rope work, and decided to dedicate himself to this. “It isn’t about the rope, it’s about the expression, the look in the eyes, the hopelessness, the agony”. Now, Dave feels fortunate to be asked to run workshops and tutorials all around the world. He takes great pleasure in seeing people get it and open their minds to what rope bondage can really be. “Not just a means of restraint but a much deeper and personally connected experience than any other I’ve ever found.” Most of the time, running into Dave means running into his lovely partner Clover. She is very passionate about rope, she models and performs, as well as makes impressive photos of Japanese rope work done by Dave. Her photography focusses on the feelings involved in rope play, not just the pretty ties, and she tells stories with her pictures. Dave: “Of course Clover’s a huge part of everything. Without her photography would people ever have noticed?”

3 Comments

  1. Yin Yoga for Bondage | Shibari.cz October 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    […] url: http://rope-topia.com/index.php/2012/09/yin-yoga-for-bondage/ […]

  2. Melinda December 31, 2012 at 7:42 am - Reply

    There is yoga for bondage and then bondage for yoga. How about Shibari Yoga or Bondage Yoga as a real practice and end in itself?

  3. […] my searches I accidentally and happily stumbled upon this piece of writing by Bendyyogagirl called Yin Yoga for Bondage. I had the distinct pleasure of having taken a class with her at Dark Odyssey last year, though […]

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