What is it?
Yin yoga is based on the ancient taoist principles of yin and yang. Yin is stable and unchanging, while yang is constantly moving and developing. The yin tissues in your body are represented by your connective tissues, and they respond best to a slow and steady workload. This style of yoga deeply targets your bodily cells, tissues, and ligaments rather than your muscles. The goal of Yin yoga is to allow you to be able to sit longer and more comfortably while meditating, but there are many other benefits too! This grounded practice allows you to take your time in each pose, often seated or lying down on your mat, and you will hold poses for long periods of time (typically 3 to 5 minutes). Holding these types of poses can still be challenging, and prove to be quite rewarding after each session.
Regular practice of yin yoga provides many physical and mental benefits for your body.
- Improves flexibility
- Improves physical comfort for meditation
- Increases circulation
- Enhances joint mobility
- Releases fascia (body’s connective tissue)
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases sense of calm and balance
- Enhances mental focus
What to expect in your first class:
Yin is a very slow moving yoga - not to be confused with simple. Holding the poses may feel like eternity during your first class, but it will get easier with time! This class is for yogis of all levels and generally lasts about an hour or longer. During this time you will cover around 5 or 6 poses. Take your time moving into each pose and be sure to release your muscles so you can work deep into the connective tissue. Another important point is to try to remain still while holding your poses: not just in your body, but also still in your mind.
What you need to practice: comfort is key!
A mat: Choose a mat that is comfortable and at least 5 mm thick.
Leggings or pants: Comfortable cotton pants or leggings that breath and allow movement are best.
Top: Choose something that’s comfortable and warm, and allows for free movement.
Equipment: Yin yoga can use several props, such as bolster and zafu cushions, as well as bricks and straps to help you bend deeper into poses. It’s advisable to have a blanket with you, for added comfort and protection during poses. A blanket also keeps you warm as your body naturally cools off during longer holds.