What Is Yin Yoga?
If you haven’t yet tried Yin Yoga you owe it to yourself to give it a go, the feeling that you are left with after you have gone through a Yin Yoga session is amazing!
What is Yin Yoga?
To explain Yin Yoga you first need a basic understanding of the concepts of Yin and Yang. In Eastern philosophy dating back thousands of years Yin and Yang describe the duality and interrelatedness of all things – for example the sun and the moon, day and night, fast and slow, still and active. Chinese medical practitioners use concepts of Yin and Yang to this day to describe various physical states of health and illness. In a nutshell, Yin is the calm and passive where Yang is the active and driven.
Yin Yoga is the practice of opening to and connecting with the calm
and still aspects of our mind and body.
In a physical sense, dynamic forms of yoga such as Ashtanga, hot yoga and power yoga are working on the Yang aspects of our bodies – faster breathing, active muscles, fast moving poses. Even the slower and more precise Iyenga and Hatha forms are considered Yang when compared to the slow pace of Yin Yoga.
The physical focus of Yin Yoga is on the deeper connective tissues – the tendons, ligaments, fascia, joints and bones. These tissues and structures are by nature more dense (Yin) and less flexible than the more pliable (yang) muscles so require slower and minutely focussed movements to access them. In a Yin Yoga class the poses are held for much longer than the yang styles, often around 5 minutes during which time the teacher guides you through breathing and connecting with your body.
Yin Yoga also focusses on the lower part of the body (Yin) more than the upper (Yang)– the legs, hips, and lower back tend to feature most in Yin Yoga classes. Think of it as working on grounding if it helps.
Now that you understand what it is, Why is Yin Yoga so great?
To understand the true benefit of Yin Yoga we need to get out of the physical realm and step into our fast tracked minds.
Modern life as we know it is fuller now than it has ever been. Medical practitioners are talking about the new epidemic of diseases caused by “persistent low grade stress” – Stress we have all the time when we don’t even think we’re stressed.
It’s causing more allergies, more weight gain, more fertility issues and more cancers to name a few, and it comes from the things we all manage everyday – expectations, ambition, our home, education, relationship communication, food choices, clothes choices, exercise and fitness, bills, friendships, health, work, thinking and planning, thinking and dwelling, thinking and not relaxing as much as we know we ought to, thinking, thinking, thinking.
If you find yourself reaching for your phone to check facebook, play a game or do some online shopping whenever you have moments of downtime, it’s a sure sign you’re stuck in hyperdrive, your Yang is being overfed and your Yin needs some loving support.
Yin Yoga works to balance the Yang in hyperdrive. It grounds and deeply calms and has benefits more far reaching than that wonderful feeling of relaxed flexibility and openness at the end of the class.
Here is a list of the top 10 Amazing benefits of Yin Yoga
- Improves circulation and flexibility
- Calms and balances the mind and body
- Is deeply relaxing, reducing stress and anxiety
- Releases and lengthens fascia (amazing for chronic tightness)
- Improves joint mobility
- Opens energetic pathways to bring balance to the organs
- Reduces Persistent Low Grade Stress
- Improves oxygenation of all organs and tissues
- Switches body into recovery and regeneration
- Helps protect against ill health and disease
While first practiced thousands of years ago as part of an early Daoist style of Yoga in China and Japan, the practice of Yin Yoga as we know it today was developed in the 70’s and has gained particular popularity over the last decade.