In the state of our current world, people are beginning to realize that the constant go-go-go attitude is taking a toll on our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Trust me, I feel it too. Now, we are looking for ways to restore the body and channel positive energy through mindful movement and consciousness. One of the initial pathways to a more grounding and cooling practice is through the lens of Yin yoga.
When I first started on my Yoga journey I first went to Bikram. I saw the power and results immediately. However, sweating in a 105+ degree room with other people was not my idea of a spiritual practice; it was exercise. Instead of being in the practice, my mind was focusing on survival, which mirrored my life at that time as well. After 5 years of Bikram, I started exploring. I found PURE Yoga on the UWS and was introduced to different styles of yoga. In 2014, I got my first 200-hr teaching certification, and eventually, began primarily teaching only Yin yoga.
Yin yoga is a slow and steady practice that incorporates self-awareness. It allows us time to sit within ourselves, to just be still, and to notice what the body and mind are telling us. For me, it allows me to tune into my mind and the physical sensations that I felt going through my body as I was completing each pose.
While Yang yoga practices like Ashtanga and Vinyasa target the muscles, Yin yoga targets the deep connective tissues of the body – the ligaments, joints, bones, and fascia. A Yin practice usually consists of a series of passive floor poses held anywhere from one minute to well over five minutes. They mainly work the lower parts of the body – the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine, areas that are especially rich in connective tissues.
On an energetic level, Yin yoga can be extremely beneficial. It can improve energy flow and enhance the flow of chi (life force) in our organs. Plus, Yin Yoga also offers huge mental and emotional benefits too. Let’s take a look at the mental, spiritual, and physical benefits of Yin Yoga.
Exercise, in general, is one of the easiest ways to improve your circulation, but Yin yoga can help improve this on an even deeper level. Like I said before, the poses in Yin Yoga target not just the deep joints, tissues, and fascia layers. But they also can target the internal organs. Yin yoga is amazing to give these more intricate reaches of the body a flush of nutrient-rich blood and oxygen.
Any type of yoga will ultimately help you to become more flexible, but Yin tackles this in a much less intimidating way. The poses in Yin yoga are purposefully slow so that they can build upon each other to open areas of tension, release fascia constriction, relax trigger spots, and integrate the entire body.
Releases Fascia and Improves Joint Mobility
By slowly loading our weight onto various connective tissues and holding these positions, Yin Yoga isn’t just training muscular fascia to become more flexible. It also allows for the ligaments that support joints to become stronger. This creates space for our muscles to lengthen and our joints to enjoy an increased range of mobility during our everyday movements.
Balances the Internal Organs and Improves the Flow of Chi or Prana
Yoga doesn’t just help to circulate blood, it also helps with the flow of both chi and prana. Our bodies can suffer from a lack of or blockage of these forces. And so Yin yoga promotes the circulation of these vital forces through the entire body.
Calms and Balances the Mind and Body
Yin yoga is the perfect blend of meditation and physical movement. When we practice Yin, we learn to listen to our bodies, slowing everything down. We learn to recognize our thoughts, to see them coming in and out of our mind, and to experience and digest them, rather than have them jumbled up in our brain. This in turn increases our ability to be in the present moment and practice gratitude, slowly bringing us closer to our authentic self.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
The beauty of Yin yoga is that it forces us to pause. By doing Yin, you are giving yourself plenty of time to focus on nothing other than just breathing. It is a truly perfect way to find space, to slow your mind down, and to be guided deeper into your practice.
I’m so passionate about the Yin Yoga practice that I’m hosting my own training series. If you’re interested in learning the fundamentals of Yin Yoga, join me for a weekend of learning and exploring the world of Yin Yoga, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal practices to nourish Yin energy, and trauma-informed yoga to help release tension from connective tissue and restore the balance of Yin and Yang in the body. Yin Yoga Foundations Part 2 module will happen after the New Year. You can click here to sign up now!