Yin Yoga is deliciously slow and meditative; it is a floor-based practice where poses are held for longer durations, typically 3-5min.
You come into the pose to your appropriate edge in a non-aggressive way, allowing breath to remain slow and stimulating sensations to be present without feeling overwhelmed or alarmed.
The long-held postures (3-5min) invite us to be muscularly unengaged and in doing so to we place more emphasis on the deeper connective tissue, the ligaments, the joints and the bones.
You will find less flexion and compression and more extension and lengthening in a Yin Yoga practice simply because the connective tissue (ligaments, tendons and fascia), unlike muscle fibre, is not elastic. CT is plastic and requires careful and prolonged traction to gently stretch and unwind, hence the long-held poses.
The CT is like a matrix that intersects and interconnects our whole body; our cells, organs, muscles, joints, bones. We gently stimulate these connections by stretching CT around our joints and when we come out of the pose the body’s repair response system sets in and the areas are flooded with fresh energy, blood, and nutrients and are lubricated and juiced up. Nurturing and healing occurs in our body.
Sometimes Yin Yoga is described as a practice ‘below the waist and above the knee’ as postures focus on the hips, sacrum and spine, though not exclusively.
Yin has also been likened to self-acupuncture because specific meridians (energy channels) are stimulated, enabling the free flow of chi (energy) in our body, leaving us feeling lifted and balanced.
Yin Yoga has many benefits, and these might include:
- Increased mobility and flexibility in hips, sacrum and spine
- Healthy connective tissue and joints
- Lowered stress levels
- Balanced and peaceful mind
- Deeper relaxation and improved mediation
- Balanced energy levels (chi)
- Slowed signs of ageing in joints
- Stimulated meridian pathways and increased chi flow
- Feeling calm and lifted
- Improved practice of Yang yoga