What is Yin Yoga?

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What is Yin Yoga? 

I have learned to live without many things in my life, but I am certain that Yin Yoga will NEVER be one of them. 

With my demanding schedule of running between fitness classes and private exercise training sessions every day, I find the nurturing calm and self-care I need to recharge my body and mind.   

Yin is an introspective practice that offers a chance to turn inward to the calm, quiet center inside all of us.  It is a practice of stillness, patience and non-reactivity.  To practice Yin is to relinquish control.  On the surface, the yin practice might appear uneventful, but if you are able to tune in, you will encounter some fascinating events occurring in the layers beneath the skin.   

Yin Yoga stretches and targets both the deep connective tissues between the muscles and the fascia throughout the body.  The aim is to increase circulation in the joints and improve flexibility as the poses stretch the joint areas.  It also helps us to regulate the body's flow of energy.  Yin Yoga is unique in that you are asked to relax in the posture, soften the muscle and move closer to the bone.  It is not uncommon to see postures held for three to five minutes.   

OH YIN, HOW DO I LOVE THEE??  Let me count the ways........................... 

  • The Yin practice can help the body restore range of motion. 

For healthy range of motion, layers of connective tissue must allow muscles to glide over each other.  Often injury, poor posture and aging, among other factors can bind these tissues together, restricting movement between the sliding surfaces of the muscles.  Holding poses that gently lengthen the muscles and fascia helps increase their range of motion. 

  • Yin Yoga revitalizes the tissues of the body. 

As you hold a yin pose, you feel a release which is the tissues lengthening, hydrating and becoming more pliable.  Sometimes a Yin practice can leave you feeling as though you have had a massage. 

  • Yin offers a rare opportunity to feel gratitude for the body. 

The simplicity of a yin practice allows us to return to our bodies and to see clearly just how remarkable we really are.  There is the sense of heightened awareness moving us closer to contentment.  

  • The Yin practice forces us to slow down. 

Holding the poses offer a chance to marinate in stillness.  Time becomes open, leaving deadlines, to-do lists and other pressing matters to fade to the background, leaving space for rest and renewal.  

  • Yin Yoga teaches self-compassion. 

The yin practice provides an opportunity to observe, nurture, soothe and calm ourselves.   

 

  • The long hold times of the poses offer the chance to sit with our emotions. 

Our bodies store emotions and it is not uncommon for sensitive thoughts, feelings and memories to surface while practicing any form of yoga.  Yin teaches us to be gentle, patient and non-reactive.  We feel safe. 

  • Yin Yoga can help us become more resilient to stress. 

Surrender is a common theme in yin yoga and giving up the need to control a situation carries with us into our day-to-day lives.  The ability to adapt to the ups and downs of life and to manage the changes in our lives with calm can lessen our tendency to stress.   

Your health and wellbeing are a balancing act.  If you look at the yin/yang symbol, you will see that the white and black forms are in perfect balance.  Living very active (yang) lifestyles leave little or no time for the quiet, introspective side.  Over time this can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining.  Through the yin practice we can restore equilibrium and feel whole. 

Many yoga studios offer Yin Yoga, typically in the evenings.  Even if you have never taken a yoga class, you will be welcomed and guided during the practice.   

If I can be of help in locating a class near you, please contact me:

In good health, 

Shelley Rubinstein, Fitness Director

SRFitness, LLC