There are many different styles of yoga, each with their own unique set of benefits and distinctive qualities. Yin yoga is one of the relatively newer forms of yoga, created in the 1970s. Despite being a newcomer, yin has been growing in popularity in recent years, so in this post we will be discussing all things yin!
What Is Yin Yoga?
Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga. It incorporates traditional Chinese medicine principles and consists of asanas that are usually held for longer periods of time than they would be in most other styles of yoga. Unlike Vinyasa, where you flow through asanas, in Yin, practitioners will hold postures for three minutes or more.
The asanas held are usually more passive than active, allowing practitioners to soften into the poses without holding onto tension. These long holds target your deep connective tissues that are hard to reach without holding the asana for a longer amount of time.
Usually, yin postures are mainly based on the floor and focus on the lower half of the body. Most of the poses work the legs, hips, pelvis and lower spine as these areas are especially rich in connective tissue. Occasionally, other body parts will be worked and different postures will come in, but more often than not, the focus is lower body.
Who Is Yin Yoga For?
In our fast-paced life, we have a tendency to seek out similarly fast-paced styles of yoga. However, the busy, non-stop and fast-paced lifestyles are usually the ones that could benefit the most from slowing down.
If you’re feeling tired, lacking energy or even over energetic, Yin yoga is a perfect way to ground and bring you back to yourself and the present moment. Nowadays we are overwhelmed with information, whether it's the news, work or trying to be social, we are constantly busy and our minds very rarely get a chance to just stop.
How Your Practise Can Benefit From Yin
Yin and Yang, is a concept of dualism, two seemingly different or opposite energies that compliment one another.
Yang yoga is usually referred to as the more active yoga, such as vinyasa or ashtanga. Yang yoga works on the superficial muscles, the ones that are close to the surface - like your pectorals, for example.
Yin yoga, on the other hand, works into the deep connective tissues, like the ligaments, joints and fascia networks. Our body benefits greatly from stretching the deep connective tissues as they are responsible for our flexibility and our range of motion. Enter, Yin.
Incorporating Yin yoga into your practise can massively compliment a currently active focused practise. To create a balance.
The Benefits of Yin
All styles of yoga have amazing benefits and can massively impact the practitioners life, Yin is no different. Yin yoga:
Reduces stress and anxiety
Calms and balances the mind and body
Enhances the Ability to be present
Cultivates Inner awareness
What to Expect
At first, Yin yoga can be tricky for those used to active or more dynamic styles of yoga. It takes patience and a sense of surrendering to allow yourself to fully benefit from Yin.
Yin yoga asks the practitioner to gently surrender to the ground. Let time and gravity take over to help the body stretch. With time, this becomes easier so please do not stress if you are fidgeting and finding it difficult, that is a normal reaction when you are not used to it.
During these passive stretches, the aim is not to push as far as you can, as you will be holding it for an extended period of time. It is important to find your edge. The point that you can hold for three minutes plus and relax into it.
Yin yoga is an incredible practise and we would highly recommend adding it into your routine, even just once a week to balance your practice out. The feeling afterwards is extremely rewarding and will leave you feeling light and positive.