Yin Yoga for Mind, Body & Spirit
"We do not use the body to get into a pose, we use the pose to get into the body." -Bernie Clark
Over the last year or so, I have fallen deeply in love with Yin yoga. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that I’m downright addicted!
Much of the yoga that we practice here in the U.S. is Yang in nature. A Yang yoga practice, such as Vinyasa, is a more active form of yoga that creates heat in the body and engages our muscles through rhythm and repetition. In contrast, Yin yoga is a slower and quieter practice that targets our deep ligaments and connective tissues.
While Yin is slower, it is not necessarily an easier form of yoga. In fact, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body, including the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, and lower spine, are usually held for up to 5 minutes or more.
While practicing Yin, there are times when I find myself cursing under my breath and praying to God that I don’t get stuck in Swan pose. However, I’ve come to realize that focusing on my breath and the way my body feels allows me to press ‘pause’ on the constant mental chatter that is usually swirling around my brain.
Another benefit of Yin yoga is that poses stimulate and remove blockages within the myofascial meridians of the body, which in turn balances the body’s internal organs and systems. Deep stretches also allow the body to relax and the tissues to release and detoxify. On an energetic level, Yin yoga even improves energy by enhancing the flow of chi in the organs.
Areas of the body that are rich in connective tissue, such as the hips and pelvis, tend to store pent-up emotional tension which is why those who practice Yin often notice an emotional release or feelings of calmness afterwards. I don’t know about you, but my hips tend to store ALL my emotional junk, which is another reason why I am loving my Yin practice. It provides a major physical and emotional release, and I ALWAYS walk out of my practice feeling lighter, calmer, and happier!