Yin Yoga A Beginner’s Guide
You will learn about What is Yin yoga? Benefits of Yin Yoga and the 3 basic principles of Yin Yoga. And Lastly how it is different from other forms of Yoga?
All forms of yoga can help us to become healthier. Physical, mental, emotional even spiritual wholeness can be enhanced through mindfully moving and breathing.
Within the yoga force, there are many paths or many ways to practice yoga. Some forms of yoga are very active very Yang like. The purpose of yang practice is to stimulate and enhance the muscles to make us stronger and more flexible. They also can enhance our heart and immune systems.
What is YIN YOGA?
Other practices are more yielding more passive. Or in other words, more Yin like. They target our deeper connective tissues, our ligaments, our joints, and our bones. They also have the capability to strengthen our hearts and our minds.
There is no one Yoga that is suitable for everybody. We are each unique with our own unique body, personality and our own unique requirements from yoga practice. A form of yoga that is suitable for one person might not be the form of yoga that is suitable for you.
But fortunately, there are many styles of yoga. There is yoga that will help you become healthier more whole and more complete. Completeness and wholeness often require rebalancing or returning to the center. Where you can take care of your energies and soul.
Over the past few centuries, the physical practices of Yoga the asana practices have become more Yang like. The postures are more physically demanding and held for relatively brief periods of time. There are tremendous benefits to this. But there is something missing if this is all we do. Balance requires the Yin side to be honored as well. Many people think that the Yin style of yoga has been recently discovered but it is not true. Yin’s style of yoga has always been with us.
Benefits Of Yin Yoga
If you are only doing active muscular forms of yoga. You have been missing something. You have been missing the other half the Yin side of your yoga practice.
Yin Yoga is a quiet practice. It’s a simple practice.
The benefits of Yin yoga can be explored at many different levels. Physically the Yin yoga targets our deepest tissues the connective tissues.
There are 1 of 4 types of tissues that we have in our body. Connective tissues are like an inner web that binds and hold our internal organs.
All tissues need exercise to be healthy. And as we age we lose mobility in our joints. Our bones begin to degenerate and become weaker. Our fascia contracts making us tighter which results in limiting our abilities to move. It can help us regain these lost abilities.
Energetically yoga stimulates the flow of the energy within the body and removes blockages. It can help improve the flow of energy in our body.
Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually we all need to be balanced and whole. Yin yoga can also help in developing our nervous systems our cognitive systems and within our hearts and the ability to become content and open.
One of the deepest benefits of yoga is abiding joy and the ability to live in the present moment. With it’s long-held and relaxed postures Yin yoga gives everyone the chance to deeply explore what is actually happening right now.
How It Is Different?
Yin Yoga is a gentler restorative type of yoga that differs from an active yoga practice in a few key ways.
First: Most Yin yoga poses are done on the ground lying down. So it’s a very passive restorative experience.
Second: Most Yin Yoga poses are held for 3-5 minutes. Regular yoga poses are often held for 3 to 5 breaths so 3-5 minutes is a much longer amount of time to be resting in a pose.
Third: In an active yoga pose we resist gravity. We lift our arms we do standing poses we reach up. In Yin the opposite is true. We let our bodies sink down into the earth and focus on this downward pull of energy in order to surrender and release.
The anatomical aim of Yin Yoga is to gently stretch the connective tissues that can get bound up especially in our hips and lower back.
When holding postures for 3-5 minutes and cultivating a sensation of patience and surrender. We allow these bound-up connective tissues to slowly and gently unwind.
The benefits of this more passive way of relieving tension are many.
Yin Yoga increases the range of movements you have in your joints.
Produces more synovial fluids for the spine and joint capsules. And decompresses the back. Allowing more space and length between your vertebra. Many people with lower back pain have found relief from a consistent practice.
3 Basic Principles Of Yin Yoga
First: Finding Your Edge. It means that you are not pushing or forcing your body into any specific shape. You are not going into a pose to trying to get it to the most intense version possible.
Ideally, you want to be in a pose on an intensity scale of 5 where 1 means you don’t feel any sensation and 10 means you feel pain.
We need to learn to back off. There should be a little discomfort because you are trying to change the physical structure of your body but not so much so that it causes you to tear any muscle or in a worst-case scenario injure yourself. Do not try to contract or compress your body while you are in a pose.
Second: Be Still. We are not moving or fidgeting in this yoga pose. Once you have gotten yourself into a comfortable position you don’t move anymore.
Yin yoga is all about the joints and when we contract or compress the emphasis of the stretch moves away from the connected tissue and away from our joints. You have to be soft and relaxed as much as possible while holding a pose in Yin Yoga.
Third: Hold It. Asanas or postures are practiced for a longer amount of time as compared to the postures of other types of yoga.
An experienced person can hold a pose for up to 8 minutes at a time. On average Yin yoga poses are held for about 3 to 5 minutes.
When you are holding a pose you need to do it in a way that honors your body. Beginner students who have a little bit more tension might not be able to hold poses for 3 minutes.
But eventually, if you practice consistently you will reach there. The reason that we hold poses for longer periods of time is that we want to affect the deep tissues and joints. And this will help us to create a lasting structural change in our body.
By improving flexibility in your hips and improving flexibility in your lower back.
So stress in this type of Yoga is not a bad thing it is only bad if you have gone beyond your edge.
It’s important to honor your body’s limitations.