Let’s be honest, the world of yoga is quite vinyasa-centric - chaturanga after chaturanga, downward dog after downward dog. However, the practice of yin yoga is slowly getting time in the spotlight that it deserves. Yin yoga is the moon to vinyasa’s sun, the stillness to vinyasa’s movement, the ease to vinyasa’s effort, and literally - the yin to vinyasa’s yang. So what is yin yoga? Yin yoga is a moderately passive approach to healing the body and mind. Through gentle stretches held for 3-5 minutes, yin yoga works to soften connective tissues (fascia) and increase pliability in your ligaments. YIn yoga also works within our subtle bodies to calm the parasympathetic nervous system and bring balance to our emotional state of mind. Yin is wonderful compliment to vinyasa as it cools down what vinyasa heats up.
What can you expect from a yin practice? Yin yoga uses probs such as bolsters, blocks, blankets, and sometimes sandbags. Your teacher will let you know which props they will be using in class. Yin classes are typically in the evening as it is considered a lunar practice. Your teacher will take time getting you into each posture using props as necessary then you will hold the pose for a length of time. Once in the pose you have the opportunity to strengthen your stillness muscle. Now is the time to draw your attention internally and go within. Take the time in each pose to connect to your breath as an anchor for the practice. This is where the magic happens. As you are enjoying each breath, each moment of stillness and quiet, your body is working for you. Muscles stretch, fascia softens, joints strengthen. YIn yoga truly is the antidote to our fast-paced technology filled lives.
Yin yoga is the slow down and the exhale - enjoy it!