It was love at first pose. From my very first class, I found Yin to be a deeply satisfying practice.
If you are unfamiliar with the practice of Yin, allow me to share a bit about this bountiful and beautiful style of yoga. Yin Yoga has a myriad of benefits. It restores our natural ability to move with fluidity. It builds strength and resiliency, helping us achieve optimal health. Yin helps regulate the flow of energy, and is calming and balancing to the mind and body. It lowers stress levels, increases stamina, and leads to a greater ability to sit quietly in meditation.
Often students new to Yin yoga expect it to be an easy, perhaps even boring practice, far removed from the more familiar and dynamic Yang practice. But Yin is so much more than simple floor stretches.
Yin targets the deep connective tissues and fascia of the body. Many Yin poses focus on areas that encompass a joint such as the hips, sacrum, or spine. This helps maintain suppleness that is naturally lost during the aging process, when flexibility in the joints decreases. One might consider the abundant benefits of Yin to be a secret fountain of youth.
Although many Yin poses are also found in a Yang class, they have different names because the objective is different. For example, the Yin pose of Swan looks the same as the Yang pose of Pigeon. But in Pigeon and other Yang poses, the muscles are engaged to stretch them. In a Yin pose, the muscles are relaxed, with the focus on the joints and the deep tissues wrapping them, not the more superficial tissues of the muscles or skin.
Yin poses are held for longer periods than during a Yang practice. Each pose may be held for three to five minutes, sometimes longer. This provides both time to settle into the pose, and time to remain still, allowing the body to surrender more deeply into the pose. The point is not to force the body to go deeper into the pose. Gravity and relaxing the muscles will oftentimes deepen the pose naturally.
If I had to choose only one style of yoga to practice, it would be Yin. Yin allows me to move with grace and ease. It teaches me to breathe through discomfort, and to sit quietly with my thoughts. It nourishes my body. It replenishes my soul.
If you’ve never been to a Yin class, I encourage you to try it. I think you will find it the ideal complement to your Yang practice. And isn’t that what we are all looking for? A more perfect balance of mind, body and spirit. I think we are.
Which is exactly why Yin is in.
At Ignite Yoga, we believe that yoga is for everyone–For people of all ages and all walks of life.