The benefits of Yin Yoga
Think boot camps and 10k sprints are the only way to wellness? It may be time to check in with some yin yoga.
At first glance, you might not think much is going on in a yin yoga class. Unlike other yogi practices like Vinyasa – the flowing, sweaty style of yoga that has catapulted this ancient practice to fame in recent decades – a yin practice asks you to slow right down.
Yin sequences are slow and passive. Often, they ask you to simply be present in a pose for minutes on end. If slowing down isn’t really your thing, you probably stand to gain the most from giving yin yoga a try.
When it comes to wellness, it’s not enough for us to build great cardio health and super toned abs. Flexibility – keeping our bodies soft and supple – is just an important a piece of the puzzle.
Yin yoga is primarily focussed on a deep stretching out of the body’s facia (that is, all the muscles, bones and connective tissues that make up you). Stretching keeps our muscles strong and healthy, improving circulation and allowing us to maintain a wide range of motion – ultimately keeping injury and/or chronic pain at bay.
Let’s face it, modern life sometimes can be overwhelming. Taking time to step away from the constant barrage of emails, texts, social media notifications, deadlines and calendar dates can seriously help to take the stress down a notch.
More than this, yin brings with it the complimentary practices of slow breathing, mindfulness and meditation, shown to be a serious boon for calming our stress response and promoting healthy blood pressure, a stronger immune system and positive mental health.
In yin, much of the challenge comes from the slowing down the mind, rather than the body. As you hold a pose for longer and longer, it can get more difficult to stay in the moment – and stay out of your head.
A regular yin practice – where surrendering to an uncomfortable situation is the MO – can help you cultivate resilience and perseverance. These are tools we can carry with us to our daily lives; the realisation that – with a little focus and a steady breath – everything does indeed pass.
A regular yin practice can help us get in touch with the sensations, feelings and emotions happening in the body all the time – ones we may miss in more high intensity exercise (even more dynamic yoga styles).
Setting aside time for self-reflection in a stress-free, supportive environment ultimately helps to foster gratitude, respect and love for our bodies, edging us ever closer to our best and most authentic self.