What is Yin Yoga?
Yin yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature. Yin represents stable and unmoving aspects whereas yang represents changing and moving aspects. Other yin yang examples may include cold/hot, down/up, calm/excited. In our bodies, the relatively stiff connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments and fascia are yin, while more mobile and pliable muscles and blood are yang.
A yin yoga class usually consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body—the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues. The poses are held for up to five minutes and sometimes longer.
Who is it for?
Anyone and everyone! Yin yoga benefits the overactive, underactive and anyone in between.
Yin yoga and the body
Yin yoga works on the connective tissues which are known to respond well to a slow, and progressive load. By gently stretching connective tissues as yin yoga does, the body responds by making them a little longer and stronger. Yin yoga requires the muscles to relax around the connective tissue in order to get a stretch, so not all yoga poses can be performed effectively when practicing yin style. Thus yin asanas have different names when practised in a yin style.
Key principles of yin yoga
Work within your body’s limits – ease yourself slowly and gently into the pose. Do not go straight to your “maximum” limit in any pose and never stretch so far as to cause pain.
Stillness - consciously try to release yourself into the pose and remain still without fidgeting or shifting position unncessarily
Maintain the position: start with holding the pose for 1-3 minutes and gradually build up to holding the pose for 5 minutes and longer.
Key benefits of a regular yin yoga practice
Calms and balances the mind and body
Reduces stress and anxiety
Release the fascia (connective tissues)
Enhances joint mobility