25 Aug Yoga at Home: Benefits of Yin Yoga
Even during a lockdown, our life can still feel fast-paced and busy. If there’s no places to go or people to see, there are still texts to answer, emails to respond to, and constant messages and advice coming at us. Our cities may lockdown, but our monkey minds continue leaping from thought to thought.
Even in the best of times, our modern lifestyles are very Yang! We lack daily practices that slow us down and help us find stillness. Yin as a yoga style can offer us an antidote, helping to bring everything back into balance in our bodies and our mental/emotional states.
Vinyasa yoga focuses on strengthening the muscles and getting the blood moving vigorously through the body. In comparison, the target tissue in Yin is our dense connective tissue – fascia, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Yin is gentle, slow, and about finding depth through softness. When we apply stress to the fascial tissues in a gentle and sustained way, this keeps them healthy and hydrated! In most yin poses we aim to completely relax our muscles so that our deeper fascial tissue can receive the benefits.
It is important to know that yin is about body and mind relaxation, not passive stretching (which can be harmful if overdone!) Will yin increase your range of movement and flexibility? It can, but that is not the point and should not be the aim when we get into poses.
Yin is unique in that it teaches us to find stillness; it helps us hone our ability to stay in this very moment, for longer. We regulate our breathing, we surrender into longer holds (usually 2-5 minutes), and we simply stay. We quite literally slow everything down, including our brainwaves! It is in this way that yin offers us poses as an access point to meditation.
While meditation is arguably the simplest of all practices, it can also be the hardest! How often do we actually sit in stillness? A lot of us can’t even remain still waiting for the bus. We reflexively open our phones and begin distracting our minds with more stimuli.
Yin can be the bridge between our physical practice (asana) and meditation (dhyana) as it gives us a sensation to stay concentrated on. It gently coaxes us towards longer periods of deep concentration (dharana), which is a step towards meditation.
Incredibly accessible and easy to do, the benefits of yin are immediate; you’ll float out of class feeling serene, balanced, fluid, and calm. Especially right now when we are practicing yoga at home, yin is a wonderful place to start your yoga journey or complement your Vinyasa practice.
If you are eager to discover what all the bliss is about, you can try an online yin yoga class on our Livestream timetable. If you are already a devoted Yin yogi, learn about our upcoming Online Yin Yoga Teacher Training!