Yin Through Yang and Back Again

Ahhh, that gorgeous golden globe in the sky is once again bestowing it’s radiance and joy upon us here in Portland. Time to break out the shorts and camping gear and get outside. It’s about time!

Seasons, cycles, rhythms.

When we look at the seasons as Yin and Yang, we see that Spring and Summer are more Yang in nature. Whereas, Fall and Winter are more Yin.

The Yang seasons are energetic, warm, expressive and tend to be busier. Yin seasons are calmer, more internal, cooler and more introspective in nature. We spend more time indoors during Yin time, and more time outdoors during Yang seasons. There are of course, are no absolutes as no one thing is ever truly all Yin or all Yang.

As the days grow warmer and we make that shift into Summer, we can sometimes find it’s easy to expend all that stored energy we have built up over this past Yin season. It sure was a long winter here in the Pacific Northwest. When it warms up, it’s easy to just go with the flow, running on seemingly boundless energy as the sun fuels us and draws us out into it’s glory. When we keep going and moving without pause, we can sometimes find ourselves depleted or even burned out. One of my teachers often describes extremes of yin and yang like this, ” too much yang, we can cause degeneration – too much yin, atrophy.”  Which brings me to my point.

~Summertime is a great time to practice Yin yoga!~

After all the hiking, biking, river swimming and soaking it all in, what do we often need? A cool down, a rest and a little stillness perhaps? Nothing quite like that feeling of relief when you walk into a cool, dark room after sweating it out in the summer sun. Allowing ourselves a bit of time to turn inward and to get quiet is a wonderful way to keep us going and to help keep our energies balanced throughout the seasons.

Yin yoga can be a powerful compliment to most any form of Yang activity. Anything from vinyasa yoga to strength training to running and more.

Yang activities target our muscles and tendons and builds strength, endurance and vitality. Yin yoga targets the connective tissue or fascia as well as our joints, which is why we are reminded to relax the muscles in Yin class. Yin nourishes, lubricates and helps to reduce tension in the body, mind and more. When, we combine these two types of activities, it’s amazing how the body responds. Yin truly is the other half of yoga.

Sunshine & Waterfalls,


Melina Donalson teaches two Yin yoga classes per week at The People’s Yoga – North Mississippi Studio. Tuesdays and Sundays at 7:15pm



The Chronic

The thing about chronic illness is, it’s chronic. Meaning, it’s not going anywhere. Those of us who live and walk with chronic conditions, aren’t going to just snap out of it and suddenly be as we were before, or be *cured*. How lovely if that were true.
When this body of mine decided to go completely haywire a few years ago, I heard so many stories from people with chronic conditions about how lonely and isolating it can be, how many friends drop away after a while, and how misunderstood so many feel. I couldn’t really relate then, but I see it now. Why? Why do we connect more with the cured than the uncured?
People love a story of *healing*. People want other people to just get better. It’s healing they praise and not the daily enduring or the actual surviving. Harder to praise a daily dogged persistence.
People get tired of hearing or knowing about those who don’t get better. Why is that? And why do those who are suffering often feel ashamed to share for fear of judgement or being blamed for seeking sympathy or wanting attention? So much wrong with that.
Our environment is becoming more and toxic by the day. Autoimmune illnesses are epidemic because of this.
Let us hear each other, before we are all howling and nobody is listening.
I have shared this before, but my favorite saying these days is, “the objective of a howl is to be heard.”

Yang and Vinyasa Yoga

As some of you may know, I quit teaching *vinyasa* classes or any of the more yang styles of yoga a couple of years ago. After 20+ years of practice and 14 years of teaching, I knew it was time. I felt like my body was being pulled apart and crumbling and I even stopped practicing asana for a while. This was due partly to an autoimmune disease I was diagnosed with, that likes to target the joints and organs, BUT – it also had much to do with the wear and tear I caused to my own body by years of going much too far into my flexibility. I even considered retiring from teaching altogether.

I’ve always loved a challenging yoga practice and “advanced” postures, because I could get into most of them. I thought it was healthy to be so *open*. I mean, I was told this repeatedly and praised by all my teachers regarding my ability in asana. This encouraged me to keep going deeper and opening more, and of course I thought this was a good thing. Then.

As a result of the pain and damage this past way of practicing has caused, as well and my predisposition to joint degeneration, I have avoided vinyasa style classes. I’m also sensitive to loud music, showy teachers, and classes that feel like they are some sort of choreographed workout that overstimulates my already yang constitution.

But— I recently decided to trust my gut and took a vinyasa class with Abby Kraai of https://straightupyoga.com/ who also happens to teach classes at The People’s Yoga. I felt like I needed to really move my body more this past winter, and needed to test my ability to back off my joints and move safely. I’m so glad I did. I trust Abby. Her classes aren’t fluffed up in any way, and feel responsible and straightforward.

I highly recommend Abby’s classes. If you come to my Yin classes and are looking for a class that would be a great yang compliment, try her classes!


Summertime YIN YOGA!!!

I’m feeling great and healing quickly after shoulder surgery on May 31st. Excited to share the practice of Yin Yoga again! I am also planning to add another class or two soon. Stay tuned! But here are some I am covering this summer at The People’s Yoga (both NE and SE studios) http://www.thepeoplesyoga.org

  • July 26 (Tuesday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • July 28 (Thursday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in NE Killingsworth at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 4 (Thursday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in NE Killingsworthat THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 21 (Sunday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 23 (Tuesday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 25 (Thursday) Yin Yoga 7:15 in NE Killingsworth  at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 28 (Sunday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • August 30 (Tuesday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA
  • September 18 (Sunday) Yin Yoga 7:15pm in SE Belmont at THE PEOPLE’S YOGA