What is yin yoga?
Yin yoga is a slow simple style of yoga, most of the poses are from lying or sitting, and usually held for longer periods than other styles of yoga. It is suitable for beginners due to its simplicity and lack of sanskrit names for poses, but is also very suitable for more experienced practioners, allowing them to delve deeper into the challenges faced with sustaining the poses for longer lengths of time.
Our modern day lifestyles are often demanding, fast paced, competitive, with an underlying edge of stress. Yin yoga is a counterpose to our busy lives. We live in an age of being governed by the clock and routine, often planning events months or even years ahead. Yin allows us to slow down, yin yoga is about slowing down We are told to listen to the breath, leave plans and thoughts to one side; so we can let go of our stresses, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
It is a refreshing change to be told not to strive and push forwards, but rather to sit, observe, and accept. Yin offers us time to turn our attention inwards, away from the distractions and ever increasing stimuli of modern life. This turning inwards, provides a more conscious practice, even if we already practice yoga, it gives us more time to explore and listen to what’s happening inside us at this very moment. Yin yoga provides a gateway to meditation and breath awareness.
Yin yoga is nurturing, and compassionate, although it can still be intensely challenging. We are encouraged to practice with kindness, it does not deplete our energies, yet, it is not completely passive (like restorative yoga or yoga nidra). The practice allows us to explore without depleating our energies.
Many of us now acknowledge that our lives are too busy, the diaries are too full. We are admitting the need to slow down, and a quieter, slower yoga practice is one way to help us achieve that. We are still ‘doing’ but also 'undoing'
Benefits of yin yoga
- Increases flexibility by working into fascia and connective tissue
- Gateway to meditation and pranayama
- Suitable for all levels of practice
- Passive unstriving style of yoga
- Accessible way to introduce a home practice