Life is all about balance. Hot and cold. Day and night. Sun and moon. Dark and light. Yin and Yang are opposites and they complement each other perfectly. Without balancing the opposing forces that exist within us and in the world around us, it’s tough to become centered and strong. Yin is stable and quiet. Yang is active and intense. Yin is stillness. Yang is movement. This week we’re focusing on how Yin Yoga can help you quiet your mind and delve deeper into your yoga practice.
Many of us love our flowing linear styles of yoga like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power yoga. An active Yang practice has many benefits, but if your life is busy and intense, it might not be the best way to achieve balance and yin yoga can help. We live in a hectic multi-tasking world and although Yang yoga can quiet your mind and help you feel great, adding in a quieter type of yoga can help us truly relax. We aren’t saying stop your dynamic flows, we’re giving you a new tool to your yoga repertoire. Take some time to restore your physical and emotional balance.
What is Yin yoga?
Many assume it is a restorative practice, and while it is a more passive practice, work is involved. Some of us find it to be more work to stay still in an uncomfortable position than it is to be able to flow out of a pose after a few breaths. A Yin yoga practice consists of holding postures, usually lower-body focused ones-for several minutes while staying as still as possible.
Where Yang targets the muscles, Yin targets the deeper layers in the body, specifically the connective tissues––ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Yin yoga aims to bring more circulation to the joints and improve overall flexibility.
Yin yoga utilizes three primary principles. First, find your edge in the posture. Second, sink into a sense of stillness. Third, hold a posture for time, usually one to five minutes. During these longer holds, your monkey mind will kick in. Use the principles of Citta Vritti Nirodhaha and direct your mind where you want it to go. Focus on your breathing and stay present, no matter how challenging it might be. There is a meditative aspect to the practice so, take advantage of it.
Yin yoga benefits you physically, emotionally, and mentally. With this type of practice, you are gently encouraging the connective tissues to become a little longer and stronger. Yin poses work on myofascial release and balance the internal organs. Often, a Yin class will be themed around flushing the kidney meridian or allowing the emotional blockage hanging around your hips to soften and release.
Yin yoga is the perfect way to give your mind the quiet time it needs and to improve your flexibility in a different way than a more active practice. We need them both! Long holds teach us discipline and focus and who doesn’t need a little more of that?
If you are already a Yin yoga fan, we’ve got some new practices for you.
If you are new to Yin, check out these four classes this week and see for yourself!
1. Erin Wimert -Yin for Your Upper Body
2. Caitlin Rose Kenney - Yin Yoga & Breath Work for Relaxation
3. Caitlin Rose Kenney - Yin Yoga for Energy & Clarity
4. Elise Fabricant - Gentle Yin for Your Neck
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