What is Yin Yoga and what are the benefits
New to Yin Yoga? It is a great way to increase your flexibility as well as calming the mind and releasing stress and tension. A perfect complement to more dynamic styles of yoga like Vinyasa Flow. Poses are held for longer lengths of time, to allow you to go deeper, and the practice targets the deep connective tissues in the body.
We live in a culture that is constantly on the go, requiring a lot of movement, activity, stimulation, and responsibilities. So it may be surprising when a yoga class that asks us to be still can be more challenging than a fast-paced Vinyasa class.
Yin Yoga is getting more popular because it offers the chance to be still and present, while you breathe and stretch deeply and create more space in your mind and body.
What Is Yin Yoga?
Yin is a slow, soothing, and meditative style of yoga that targets the deep connective tissues, bones, joints, fascia, and ligaments in the body. It also focuses on stretching and stimulating different acupressure points from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In Yin Yoga, we hold mostly passive poses for about two to five minutes to work into our connective tissues.
The more we work our fascial system and deep tissues, the less dense and tight our bodies become as we age. Movement and stretching hydrate fascia and literally help slow the aging process.
Lengthening extremely tight tissues can be an uncomfortable practice, but using this time to focus on breathing is a large part of Yin Yoga and also one of the many Yin Yoga benefits.
Typically when we experience discomfort, our bodies naturally become tense.
Yin Yoga teaches us to reroute the mind and slow the heart rate when we experience discomfort.
What Are Yin Yoga Benefits?
As we age, our bones begin to degenerate, we lose mobility in our joints, and our fascia tightens. But a consistent Yin Yoga practice helps to regain mobility and ease pain in the body. This is because it applies gentle, healthy stress to our joints and a gentle stretch to our connective tissues.
Yin Yoga is an excellent counter to the more physically demanding – or yang – yoga disciplines. This deep stretching is the perfect follow-up to intense yoga or other physical activity so you can stay balanced and flexible to help avoid injury.
Key Yin Yoga benefits:
• Targets connective tissues including fascia, bones, and joints
• Reduces stress
• Increases circulation
• Balances internal organs and improves flow of prana
• Balances our yang or fast-paced physical yoga practice
• Relieves tension
• Improves flexibility
• Encourages mindfulness and meditation
What will I experience during a Yin Yoga Practice?
During a Yin Yoga class, it is common to experience different emotions such as: anxiety, fear, happiness, sadness, or boredom. As humans, we are emotional beings, and much of the emotion from our experiences is stored within the body.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (where many of the principles of Yin Yoga stem from), these stored-up emotions can manifest as pain or blockages like knots in our shoulders, tight hips, sore necks, or internal pains.
It is important to release the stored anger, sadness, anxiety and fear, to keep the body pain-free, healthy, and balanced.
Tips for practising Yin Yoga
Find your appropriate edge: Move slowly and gently into the pose. Don’t go straight to your “maximum” in the pose and never stretch so far as to cause pain.
Stillness: consciously try to release into the pose, and to remain still, without shifting position too much.
Hold the position: start with holding a pose for 1-3 minutes and progress to 5 minutes or more.
Interested in trying Yin Yoga?
If you have never tried it, check it out. The more you practice Yin Yoga, the more you will embrace slowing down and connecting to yourself.
During all our retreats, we add Yin Yoga sessions to the programme.