Ahhhh the rebound… Where the magic happens! You will find rebounds happening in a Yin Yoga class, it is a short rest period in-between each asana. They can be related as a mini savasana.
It summons a call for deep introspection.
Yin is a practice of acceptance and surrender; we slow down and settle into simple asana for up to several minutes. In which we apply gentle yet consistent weight on a target area, the muscles slowly relax and then the connective tissues that wrap our muscles (fascia) and form our joints can be safely stretched, stimulated and strengthened. On the more subtle level the practice helps to stimulate and enhance the flow of Chi through the meridians or energy channels which recent studies have shown runs through the fascia.
The practice has a unique and profound effect on the body and mind.
The ‘rebound’ is the release of the asana but you can see it as part of it, it is important to keep the connection during the transition to take the rest where we get invited on a journey within to experience the effect of the long hold within our own body. When you first come out of a long held asana you can feel like you have aged rapidly! There is a sense of vulnerability and fragility as the tissues retract and we feel dull and achy from the deep yin stretch but this soon passes after a minute or so.
The Fascia is what structures us, it holds us together and it is composed of mostly water, the long hold asana helps to create a phase change in its fluids which allows greater movement of Chi through the tissues and this is what we feel on the release. We witness temperature and pressure changes, we can sense more subtle vibrations and then what we are left with is the feeling of deep relaxation and wellbeing. The rebound is so potent; you are witnessing the phenomenon of change within you, physically, energetically, emotionally and mentally things rise and pass.
“When someone asks me, what is so special about Yin Yoga, I reply - with each yoga asana practice, we have the privilege of experiencing an inner journey from the gross to the subtle body and through this, insight arises out of the practice. The wonder and healing unfolds during the rebound.” - Markus Giess
In a more “yang” method of yoga we are guided to keep moving or to counter pose after an asana but we can miss the opportunity to follow the phase changes of the body and to see the effects of the asana. In a counter pose we keep acting on the body but the yin intention is to not react and learn to observe thus cultivating introspection. Often in life we have the urge to push away discomfort but here we have an opportunity to embrace it.
Its not to say what we do in a yang practice is ‘wrong’ not at all. The practices have different attitudes focusing on different tissues in the body and they complement each other. You can relate in this way: If Yin yoga is helping to remove the stagnation or blockages in the tissues where the energy channels flow then Yang is helping to push and circulate the energy through them.
A yin practice is all about becoming still, looking inwards to see and feel what is happening. Bernie Clark beautifully quotes “We don't use the body to get into a pose. We use the pose to get into the body” We let the pose come to us, by slowing down, learning to listen to the body, to its messages and its signals.
For me, it is a very powerful practice to really have the deep bodily experience of release, a felt sense experience of letting something go you have been holding on to for a long time! And you can have a ‘rebound’ any time of the day, it doesn’t have to be just after asana… just taking a minute to release your body on the floor, check in, feel, melt and breathe!