What is Yin Yoga?
If you’ve not noticed, Yin Yoga is growing in popularity, but what exactly is it?
Perhaps the easiest way to explain what Yin Yoga is, is to contrast it with other styles of yoga; more “yang” styles such as Hatha, Vinyasa or Ashtanga. These yang forms of yoga focus on repetitive muscle use through positions that are rhythmic and keep the body moving. They use a flow to strengthen and stretch the muscles. In short, yang styles of yoga are an active engagement. Yin Yoga, on the other hand, takes a passive approach targeting the connective tissues with floor-based postures and longer holds, which compliments yang forms of yoga and exercise.
At first glance, Yin may appear as easy and relaxing; however, the deeper you dive, the more you understand it is a physically stimulating practice. Most people live a busy and overstimulated lifestyle, making a slower paced practice both mentally and physically challenging. Add the variance in body types and skeletal structure that necessitates careful attention to how poses should work for every unique individual, and a yin practice becomes beautifully complex.
Master Teachers, such as Paul Grilley, note that yin postures should be adapted to an individual’s body through the process of functional alignment. In a functional approach to yoga there is no such thing as a perfect pose or a one size fits all. Yin Yoga focuses on what a pose feels like rather than the aesthetics; and the emphasis in each posture is always on the target area(s). It requires an appreciation and general understanding of the infinite complexity of human anatomy.
Though the practice of Yin Yoga is relaxing compared to other yang forms of yoga, it also can be challenging; stimulating and stressing the tissues, bones, ligaments, joints capsules and fascia. In fact, some of the longer holds can be intense; especially where the body is holding tension.
For some, the real magic of Yin happens in the rebound after a three-to-seven minute hold when the posture is released; the body is briefly fragile, for a minute or two feeling achy or sensitive, followed by a strong sense of relief.
What are the benefits?
The long held static postures of Yin Yoga slowly relax the muscles to allow the deeper, connective tissues to be safely and therapeutically stressed, stimulated and strengthened. All tissues in the body need exercise and stress to remain healthy. The results of a consistent practice have numerous physical benefits, such as tissue revitalization, strengthened bones, improved flexibility, joint mobility and cardiovascular flow.
Furthermore, this gentle, introspective practice aids in the release of emotional blocks, stress and tension. For those that practice meditation, or would like to learn how, Yin Yoga in San Diego is an excellent resource. The practice provides a still and quiet environment which can prepare the mind and body for meditative experiences.
Who is it for?
Really anyone who desires a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The practice of Yin Yoga is just as good for the highly active gym rat as it is for the sedentary. It is a good starting place for people interested in pursuing a physical goal or just getting started in yoga. It is also great for yoga practitioners of all levels, offering continual opportunities for progress. Given Yin Yoga does not focus on what a posture looks like or how flexible, fit or strong you are, it is an approachable practice for almost anyone!
Wherever you are on your journey, and whatever you choose, your practice is unique. Experience the most personal, peaceful Yin Yoga San Diego offers with Zen Soul Balance. https://www.zensoulbalance.com
Article by Jeny Dawson and Image by Mark Carter