What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga Explained
Yin yoga defined
Yin yoga is influenced from the practices of taoism, and the practice sits in contrast to a yang or dynamic style of yoga practice.
It is generally a style of yoga that is floor-based and the poses are held for longer, usually 2 – 5 minutes in length.
A yin yoga practice sits in contrast to a yang or dynamic style of yoga practice. A yang practice in yoga, is a style of yoga such as vinyasa yoga, which mostly targets the muscular and cardio-vascular system.
Because yin yoga targets the deeper levels of the body, it works on the muscles, fascia and joints more than a general yoga class such as vinyasa.
Yin yoga, however, is more than just a practice that focuses on the deeper levels of the body.
A growing trend
Yin yoga is growing in popularity locally, nationally and internationally.
Because of this, it’s common to see it on more yoga schedules around the world.
It is generally a slower, passive style of yoga with longer held stretches and a more relaxed environment.
Yin yoga teachers tend to undergo specialized yoga training to become proficient and competent in the style.
Yin yoga in context
Most modern yoga today is a contemporary dynamic practice that has its roots in Eastern mysticism.
Some modern yoga styles can even be associated with Pilates or gymnastics.
This is because they focus more on the physical aspect rather than the traditional spiritual aspect.
Yin Yoga is at the other end of the scale.
It’s a practice of stillness and discipline. This encourages you to slow down and work on the alignment more.
Because the yin style of yoga targets the ligaments, joints, fascial networks and even the bones, this deliberate approach is important.Keen to try this out! Click To Tweet
The History of Yin Yoga
Yin yoga first came to prominence in the 1970s.
It is generally known to be founded by Paulie Zink, a Taoist and Martial arts practitioner.
Another driving influence in Western culture for the practice was Sarah Powers and Paul Grilley.
Health Benefits of Yin Yoga
This style of yoga is a physical discipline but also a practice for the mind.
But it’s not easy.
In fact, many people find the Yin style of yoga passive and boring.
This is because the practice encourages longer holds and more physical stillness.
In this aspect, it is good for improving our mental discipline and patience.
The yin yoga practice is known to:
- Improve your flexibility;
- Reduce stress in the body and mind;
- Improve cirulation;
- Release fascia;
- Improve joint mobility
And those are just some of the benefits, read the rest here.
Yin Yoga generally includes poses that focus on floor movements and long-held stretches.
A class may be more aggressive or relaxed in it’s approach towards the stretches.
The yin style of practice will also be influenced by the yoga teacher training of the instructor.
It is common for yin yoga poses to be held between 2 – 5 minutes. But more extreme styles will hold the poses for longer.
Some of the popular yin yoga poses include
- Pigeon pose;
- Shoelace pose and twists;
- Seal pose;
- Dragon pose;
- Many more!
It is unlikely for dynamic poses such as sun salutations, warrior one, two and three to be included in a yin yoga class.
How to practice?
When you practice yin yoga you normally use blocks and straps.
This ensures you get the maximum benefits from the practice.
Most importantly, it ensures that you practice yin yoga safely.
For example, when someone does pigeon pose, blocks may be used to support the posture to avoid excess pressure from the femur bone to the sacrum.
Because you are working the deeper levels of the body, yoga alignment becomes more important.
Another example would be a reclining hamstring stretch.
In this pose, a strap may be used to keep the correct alignment to make sure the target area of the muscle is stretching.When is your next yin yoga class? Click To Tweet
Top 5 Reasons to Practice
Improves your flexibility
The style focuses on long held poses that significantly improve your stretch life.
By stretching the muscles and fascia, you also improve circulation in the joints and target area.
The slow and controlled approach also helps you adapt the sequence.
Compliments a vinyasa practice
The slow and approached style of yin yoga helps you balance out from an active and dynamic practice.
Yin yoga helps you slow down and balances out your lifestyle.
You can practice it anywhere
Improve your flexibility whilst at work or on the run.
All you need is some space to practice.
Check out this sequence for a short 20 minute home yin practice.
Reduces your stress
By keeping the body still and breath controlled, you keep the mind still.
This helps to reduce stress and excessive thinking.
Try it for yourself:
Take a deep breath in…
Take a deeper breath out…
Yin yoga helps you improve your self discipline.
Because you have to keep yourself still for long periods of time, it develops patience and resilience.
Top 5 Questions about Yin Yoga
Is yin yoga okay for beginners?
In general, yin yoga is okay for beginners.
Make sure you find a qualified yoga teacher, and rest if you need to.
What do you wear to yin yoga?
You should wear comfortable clothing that you can stretch in.
Something light is generally preferred.
Can you do yin yoga everyday?
It is common for people to practice yin yoga everyday.
But like everything, moderation is important.
Does yin yoga increase flexibility?
Yes, yin yoga improves flexibility.
The longer held poses stretch out the muscles and fascia.
Now it’s time for you to learn about vinyasa yoga!
About Yoga Theory
Learn more about the major styles of yoga
Learn more about yoga theory
Find a yin yoga class near me