Yin Yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with passive postures or seated positions that are held for longer periods of time. It is a yoga practice designed to help you sit longer and more confidently in meditation by stretching connective tissue around the joints mainly the knees, pelvis, inner thighs and lower spine. This practice involves different styles of seated and supine poses typically held for 3 to 5 minutes and sometimes longer.
So, why do you think you should consider trying Yin Yoga and what are the things you should know about yin yoga? Yin Yoga is a style of yoga that’s centered on bringing balance — physically, energetically and mentally. It is a wonderful way to maintain flexibility in the joints since it usually decreases as one ages. Some even incorporate Yin Yoga in programs that deal with addictions, eating disorders, anxiety, and deep pain or trauma.
Yin Yoga teaches you how to really listen. It is such a great compliment to other styles and your own personal life because you are usually seated in an uncomfortable position for a long period of time, which then asks you to learn to “be” to “accept what is” in that given moment.
Beginners often have this misconception that Yin Yoga is a gentle, quiet and meditative yoga practice. Well, it’s not. It’s sort of a “bitter practice with a sweet result.” You may be asked by your yoga teacher to tolerate mild-to-moderate achy sensations that are like outside your comfort zone. But don’t get easily discouraged because it’s precisely this kind of sensation that puts an appropriate level of stress on dense connective tissues that don’t normally get stimulated during active forms of exercise like running or vinyasa. Don’t easily give up and suspend your judgments of the practice until it’s ended. That’s the time when you will most feel the sweetness that has developed in your bodies, feeling lighter and freer, less restricted and unencumbered by aches and discomforts.
If you practice Ashtanga, Bikram, power, Iyengar or Vinyasa and you do Yin Yoga as well, you will see a noticeable improvement. Yin’s tension-melting poses will also help you move with greater ease, grace, and fluidity in your active style. In Yin Yoga, you will learn how to release deep tension. This practice safely regains and maintains your healthy ranges of motion by releasing the contracture in your connective tissue. Your energy will also move better throughout your body. The energy that circulates throughout your body can become blocked or stagnant especially in the joints, causing pain and degeneration. When your energy flows smoothly, as it will after Yin Yoga practice, you’ll feel a sense of spontaneous ease. You’ll be able to soothe your nerves and slow down. Yin Yoga also stimulates your nervous system, encourages your system to slow down and becomes calm in order to rest and renew.
Practicing Yin Yoga brings about many benefits that you will eventually feel and notice as you get deeper into your practice. Although first-timers who try Yin Yoga find immediate benefits like more open hips, a more relaxed body and centered mind, yogis who have been practicing Yin Yoga longer are witnesses to these benefits:
- Calming and balancing to the mind and body
- Regulates energy in the body
- Increases mobility in the body, especially the joints and hips with better lubrication and protection of joints
- More flexibility in joints and connective tissues
- Lowering of stress levels, greater stamina and great coping for anxiety and stress
- Deeper relaxation and better able to sit for meditation
With Yin Yoga, you will feel more balanced. When your body releases deep tension, you’ll emerge from your Yin Yoga practice with a calm and clear, able to move, think and act from a place of balanced poise.