Not thinking twice about the name “Yin” before I started the session, I figured this practice would be similar to a Vinyasa or Hatha Flow class. The session began with calm breathing exercises. The instructor proclaimed we would be doing predominantly ground work. I thought, “Yes, jackpot!” Thirty minutes later, my thoughts were far from thinking I had hit the jackpot.
Yin yoga focuses on the deep connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Yin elongates and strengthens the connective tissue. To say it simply, poses are held for three to five minutes causing me to go through different phases of “oh, that feels good” to “there’s no tears in yoga right?”
During my practice of Yin, not only was my body expanding but also my mind. By staying solitary in a pose for three minutes or more, thoughts roam. Effort and focus are required to stay with the breath and to breathe past the intensity. I never recognized my struggle to stay still and patient until Yin yoga. With more active forms of yoga, I can easily forget the importance of meditation. Yin accounts for the time in between poses. Silence is cherished.
In the age of technology, we are constantly multitasking. Lately, I don’t even watch a movie or television show without also surfing the web on my device. Yin yoga forced me to stay still with my own thoughts. A Yin yoga session combines rejuvenating and intensive stretching of the body while also providing meditation for the mind.
If there is a Yin, there must be a Yang. Yin yoga, as beneficial as it is, should be practiced to balance with Yang yoga poses. The practice of Yin improves the practice of Yang. Yang poses require more activity with focus on muscle tone, endurance, and balance.
YIN, Moon: Stable, immobile, passive
YANG, Sun: Changing, mobile, active
As the body ages, connective tissue loses mobility. Yin yoga can increase the longevity of the joints. Characterized by body part, challenge and improve your body and mind with these Yin poses. As a beginner, hold the pose for only 1 to 3 minutes.
Before doing any poses, remember: HONOR YOUR BODY. It should feel intense, not painful. If you feel any tingling, a nerve is being impacted and the pose should be modified or discontinued.
To come into a pose: Come into the pose in your respected way appropriate for your body.
Staying in the pose: Respect your body’s boundaries. Listen to your body. Do not force or jerk.
Exiting a pose: Do not quicken your release. Relax and release with care.
Hips & Groin:
Swan is the same is pigeon pose. Pigeon pose is considered a Yang pose. Pigeon focuses on muscle. In Swan, relax and focus on the joints.
Camel – If you are a beginner, please be aware of an easy modification
Yin yoga predominantly focuses on the lower body. However, my shoulders show no flexibility. I benefit greatly from practicing Yin yoga on my upper body.