15 Sep Why Everyone Should Try a Yin Yoga Class
Why Everyone Should Try a Yin Yoga Class
Yin is like slow medicine for the mind, body & soul! Everyone can benefit from this wonderful nourishing & accessible practice… especially given our very ‘yang’-driven lives. Yin yoga is ideal for anyone seeking respite from the pressures of the day…which is all of us, riiiight?
Yin yoga can help…
- Bring calm & balance to the body & mind
- Restore & improve range of motion & flexibility
- Build resilience & inner strength
- Reduce stress & anxiety
- Balance the internal organs & improve the flow or chi or prana in the body
What is Yin Yoga?
The term “Yin yoga” comes from the Taoist tradition. While ‘Yang’ relates to movement & creating heat in the body, ‘Yin’ is about finding stillness & cooling the body. We need a balance of both for optimal health & wellbeing.
In modern life, however, the scales have been tipped in favour of the ‘Yang’ aspect – we are forever caught up in busyness – always doing something, going somewhere, meeting someone… we are constantly bombarded with stimuli, our minds continually ticking over, processing images, sounds & information. We are overstimulated – it is our ‘normal’.
Yin teaches us another way. It encourages us to slow down, to sit, to simply ‘be’. By practicing yin yoga, we can connect to this other, quieter, aspect of ourselves & of life. Thus, through practice, we can start to bring more balance into our lives.
How is Yin different to other types of yoga?
From a Taoist perspective, much of the yoga popularised in the West is ‘Yang’ practice – active practice that primarily focuses on movement & muscular contraction.
Yin yoga, on the other hand, is slow & steady, & targets the deep connective tissues the body – the ligaments, joints, bones, & deep fascia networks. Poses are floor-based & held for several minutes to allow the tissues time to stretch.
How does it work?
Think about how you hold yourself for most of the day (slumped over a screen, anyone?…) What you’re actually doing is teaching your body that this is an important posture for you, & so your body will alter its structure in order to accomodate & support your activities.
Your fascia (your body’s soft tissue scaffolding) tightens & keeps you ‘held’ in that hunched position. The magic of yin yoga is that it works on the fascial networks (as well as other connective tissues) to gently release these deeply held tensions in the body.
It’s a mind game
Becoming still in a pose & staying with it for a while can be uncomfortable – physically, as the body unfolds & long-held tensions release – but also mentally & emotionally.
The longer pauses in yin allow time & space for things to come up… feelings, emotions or thoughts that we may have been avoiding or suppressing in all the busyness & distraction of everyday life.
It can be confronting as such things bubble to the surface, however, ultimately yin yoga offers us a safe & accessible space in which to let go, to release that which no longer serves us.