An introduction to Yin Yoga: how to tell your Yin from your Yang...
But what is yin yoga?
One of the most common questions I get asked by many students, and a question I love to answer 🙂 so grab a cuppa tea, sit back and put your feet up and give yourself some time to relax, rest and read whilst I introduce to the world of yin yoga.
Ok You're back? now let's get settled and comfy and I mean really comfy, grab all your pillows, a blanket, check your warm enough. The more comfortable you are the more you will relax. Now you can let go and just sink, allow your body to go where it wants to go and commit to staying there with stillness for at least 3 minutes.
This is yin.... well you are now beginning to practice the 3 main tattras, principles to yin yoga.
1. Come to a comfortable edge 2. Find a stillness in the body 3. Commit to staying for the full time.
The main objectives for your yin class is to feel comfortable and supported in a safe environment. So props blankets, pillows, bolsters are a must. This is so you can begin to let go of distractions and bring your awareness inwards. This is also why Yin is referred to as the 'yoga of surrender'.
Sounds pretty easy right? But believe me it's not. While initially this style of yoga can seem quite passive, soft, or even boring, our yin practice can be quite challenging as it's preparing the body for meditation. So don't be fooled by its cool approach as it's just as intense as your yang styles due to the long duration of the poses.
This brings me nicely to talk to you about the Yin and the Yang qualities.
So you will all be aware of the yin and yang symbol
Well yin yoga is based on the Taoist concept of this yin and yang symbol and that everything has its opposites. It's balance. It's yin and yang.
The Moon / the sun, Down / up Calm / energised Slow / fast Cold / hot Female / male Passive / aggressive
Yoga is no different. Yang exercises emphasis on building internal heat, Strengthening, lengthening and contracting of our muscles. Classes like Hot yoga, Power Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and even Hatha or other forms of fitness like going to the gym, Spin class, Zumba and fitness dance classes. These are all fast paced strong yang energies.
Yin Yoga is the opposite - it has a very passive approach, most of the postures are performed seated or lying down. Poses are held for around 3-5 minutes in a class and aimed at targeting the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and even the joints of the body that don't tend to get attention.
"Yin yoga is the perfect compliment to your yang"
Most yin poses relate to organs and meridians within the body so you may not feel as though you are doing a lot but really you are doing wonders internally during this practice. Stimulating and removing blockages which have an effect of balancing the body’s internal organs and systems.
Remaining still in the postures allows you to become the observer, you are invited to notice what arises in the space you are creating in your body, so don't be surprised if those stored away emotions, feelings and sensations now begin to arise. Often unconscious emotions that cause blockages within the body are now being released reducing your bodies tension, stress and anxiety.
Are you thinking, I need this slow calm energy in my life, can I practice yin yoga?
Yin Yoga is great for anyone and everyone. Beginners, intermediate or advanced practitioners. It is Suitable for almost all levels of students.
If you are stressed, over-stimulated, over active (which is not hard in today's society.) Or perhaps you are injured or tired or just can't get out of your head to connect to your body. If you tick any of those boxes you will reap the benefits of a yin class.
I could go on and on listing all the amazing rewards such as increased flexibility, better circulation, greater joint mobility but my blog would keep you to the couch for the rest of your day and we don't want to over stimulate those yin energies now 🙂
So the best way to experience this beautiful practice that offers the right amount of balance and is a perfect for both your mind and body is to jump on your magic mat and head for a yin yoga class and prepare to let go.