Discover a world of yoga that focuses on balancing the body, mind and spirit. Yin yoga is the “quiet practice” – a deeply meditative practice that cultivates mindfulness and opens the body on the subtlest level. Poses, known as asanas, are typically held for 5 to 8 minutes. Practitioners come into each pose slowly, gradually deepening to an appropriate depth and then holding the pose while finding stillness. Holding poses for an extended period targets the body’s connective tissues, known as the fascia, releasing tension and regulating energy flow through the body.
Yin yoga offers many important physical and emotional health benefits. Yin yoga will help you soften into shapes that open the hips, shoulders and spine. The goal with each practice is to release muscular tension and increase joint flexibility. While the practice moves slower than “yang” styles like Bikram or vinyasa, the practice is still physically demanding. Holding a pose for five to eight minutes at a time not only allows the body to gradually open into the pose, but also provides space for meditation, stillness and physical surrender.
Benefits of regular practice include: regulating energy levels in the body; increasing mobility through the joints and hips; improving joint lubrication; and releasing tension from the fascia. Regular practice is beneficial not only for improving flexibility, but also for realizing a full range of movement and increased stamina. In addition to these mobility benefits, a regular yin practice cultivates daily mindfulness. Yin is an intensely meditative practice that brings balance to the body.
While beginning yin practitioners may initially struggle to remain calm during the different asanas, with regular practice, individuals find that they are able to deepen into the poses while quieting the mind. Additionally, individuals find meditation is more rewarding and calming. Between professional and personal stressors, many individuals struggle to find quiet and calm in today’s busy society. Yin is a time to explore this silence and stillness. Regular practice is also healing for deep emotional traumas and yin yoga is frequently incorporated into yoga therapy.
Yin yoga is a time for you to learn how to quiet the mind and be still as you balance out all the activity in your life. Individuals with a regular yin practice also find that these asanas enhance their yang practice. Like the yin-yang symbol, both yin yoga and more active yang practices are essential to a balanced, healthy individual.