What is Yin yoga?
Yang yoga practices (Ashtanga and Vinyasa), focus on the’superficial muscles’, whereas Yin yoga targets the deeper connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones and deep fascia network. A Yin class typically consists of a series passive floor poses that are held for at least five minutes. These poses focus on the lower half of the body, namely the hips and pelvis. These areas are particularly rich in connective tissue.
Yin yoga increases energy flow and chi flow in the organs. We’ll also discover that Yin yoga has many mental and emotional benefits.
Who is Yin Yoga for?
If you feel tired, have no energy, or are overstimulated and need more energy, Yin yoga may be for you.
The world we live in bombards us daily with stimuli. This keeps our minds busy processing all of the information. It doesn’t matter if the information is valuable, or if it’s just plain rubbish; the mind still has to process it. We eventually get used to this level of stimulation and begin to crave it when things are quiet. We end up looking for things and browsing the internet. It doesn’t really matter what we find, so long as there are gaps.
This aspect of being busy can be addressed by any form of dynamic yoga. While the mind may be calmer after active exercise, it still needs stimulation. It’s just that we have found a healthier stimulus. I don’t recommend you stop doing dynamic yoga. Just try to balance the other aspects of your life. Yin yoga is a great way to achieve this.
The body and yin yoga
Yin yoga is a form of yoga that works on the yin tissue, also known as connective tissues. Slow, steady loads are the best for connective tissue, so we hold the poses longer. Holding a yin position for a prolonged time will stretch the connective tissue. This will make it stronger and more flexible.
Different Yin yoga postures stimulate and eliminate blockages in myofascial meridians, which then balance the body’s internal organs. Yin yoga requires that the muscles relax around the connective tissues in order to achieve a stretch. Not all yoga poses can be safely and effectively done when practicing Yin-style yoga. Yin poses have therefore different names.
Yin yoga for the mind
Being still and holding a pose for a while can create those gaps I mentioned earlier. The gaps should be left empty to allow for any new ideas. It could be anxiety, sadness, boredom, or any other emotion you have been suppressing with your busy life. Yin yoga allows you to let go of the thoughts, emotions and feelings that you’ve kept hidden.
Yin yoga classes encourage you to feel all the feelings, but not to identify. It is important to observe and not get caught up in these feelings. The body expends a lot of energy suppressing things, so the relief you get from letting them all out can be just as significant.
These stories usually relate to why feel this way, who is at fault, etc. You can observe the sensations and not give ‘juice to’ the stories. This allows the emotions and sensations to escape your system. This allows you to let go of unconscious emotions and gives your body a chance to heal the damage they have caused. It’s a great and needed release.