Do you eat standing up? Multitask on your commute to work? Wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason? Have a lot of strength but not much range of motion? Well, Yin Yoga might be just what your life is missing.
Yin Yoga is becoming more and more popular as our lives become more and more chaotic. Originally called the Daoist yoga, Yin targets your deep connective tissues and the fascia that runs throughout your body like an inner webbing system, and many of the postures focus on areas around your joints, such as your hips, sacrum and spine. Sound good? Read on!
1. It’s a youth elixir for your body’s connective tissues.
If you have mornings when you wake up feeling more like the tin man than a human being, Yin can help restore some of your body’s suppleness. Yin poses are held for approximately 3 to 10 minutes, and the subtle release that allows you to move deeper into the pose is actually your tissues lengthening, hydrating and becoming more pliable. Depending on the pose, your body is being stretched, squeezed, twisted or compressed. You come out of class feeling like you’ve just had an amazing massage!
2. It can help you regain the range of motion you had before your desk job.
In an ideal world, your layers of connective tissue allow muscles to easily glide over each other with a healthy range of motion. However, the wear and tear of life, injuries, bad posture, aging, and other factors, can fuse these connective tissues together, creating so-called adhesions and inhibiting that movement between the sliding surfaces of the muscles. Like a traffic jam, adhesions block the flow of nutrients and energy through the body, causing you to feel stiff and in pain. When you hold a Yin pose for a few minutes, two things can happen: you lengthen muscles and fascia, which helps break up adhesions, and you apply mild stress to joints and connective tissues, which can increase your range of motion. So taking up a regular Yin practice can help you to change the patterns that leave our body feeling constricted.
3. The Yin practice forces you to slow down and tune in.
Yin yoga brings you face to face with something you may not be familiar with. Stillness. Time takes on a whole new meaning when you open yourself up to being totally still and present in a pose. With patience and awareness, you begin to notice subtle shifts in your body, new found space for your breath, and deadlines, to-do lists and day-to-day worries fade away as you come face to face with yourself.
4. It can help you befriend your stress.
A Yin class may look more like a kindergarten at nap time, but don’t let all the bolsters and blankets fool you; holding a yin pose for several minutes can be a challenge, and at moments very intense! However, when you face that anxiety with an open mind and a kind heart, your body adjusts. It asks that you put your ‘control freak’ hat aside and surrender to the present moment. AND this ability to ‘roll with it’ on the mat can bleed into your day-to-day life, helping you become more present, grounded and easy-going.
5. It’s the yin to your yang.
These days, most of us have enough Yang in our lives. We run from place to place from morning till night, putting our calendar apps into over drive and barely making time to breathe. This can leave us feeling overtired, over anxious or reactive rather than active. Once you acclimate to Yin, the practice becomes both meditative and mindful, so it can be just the remedy your Yang lifestyle needs to stay balanced. The practice requires self-acceptance and compassion, and restores and renews you in a deep way.
So come on, what are you waiting for? Hurry up and slow down … get your Yin on and find a whole new way to chill while tapping into who you really are.
This fantastic article was written for us by the awesome Alicia Anka, Yoga Teacher and Yoga Writer