Though I am a passionate registered yoga instructor and still teach online; with running my practice Arya Foot & Ankle, I’ve found myself doing less and less yoga. A week of a staycation was all I needed to fuel the fire to get back in the studio. I hadn’t taken a Yin Yoga class in over 5 years. After the beautiful Yin Yoga practice I did at CA YOGA BARRE in Old Town 2 weeks ago…I am 100 percent sure, everyone should try Yin Yoga. Seriously. Everyone. Anyone. Doesn’t matter your age or skill level, or if you’ve had an injury. Yoga is so welcoming by its nature; this Yin practice is unique in that no one is watching you because of its method–so truly it is your practice.
“Yin '' is the feminine component of the balance we all need & seek surrounding the Taoist concept of Yin & Yang. While Yang relates to movement and creating heat in the body; Yin is about finding stillness and cooling the body. Science and Eastern Philosophy do align in that we know balance is needed to stay in optimal health throughout every stage of our years. From a physical standpoint, it’s why we don’t just train the leg we make an explosive first step with for our sports–we train both legs, balance in laterality is one thing–but when it comes to muscles we tone, sculpt, and ensure their flexibility–right? So we need to counterbalance our movements…they can’t always be fast, quick, firing, and active. Now more than ever we have learned the importance of Rehab, Physical Therapy, and Restoration training. With the Theraguns, foam rollers, the mainstream massages–we have learned our lesson that we can’t train without rehab/restoration…. Yoga practice should be the same way and we should be excited to reap the benefits in its active form and passive form.
Yin Yoga is slow paced and postures are held between 3-6 minutes, sometimes up to 10 minutes . The benefit of holding these postures and moving slowly is that we are able to allow gravity to do its thing, and deeply get into the connective tissue. When we do quicker flows and speed through classes (Yang)–we don’t actually gain the deeper positive points of a yoga practice which incorporate the breath, relaxation, stretch, and full joint benefits.
If you are a busy body, yes–Yin Yoga is definitely for you too. This Yin Yoga will act as the “self care” you need to keep your energy alive in staying as busy as you want to be! Yin helps restore depleted energy by promoting mindfulness and feelings of deep calm. With our lifestyles being so busy, forcing ourselves to slow down is really helpful. From a physique standpoint, Yin Yoga by its nature improves joint mobility, flexibility, stretches tight muscles, and elongates the muscle bellies by default helping give more plasticity to the tendons themselves.
You can expect to slow down and chill hard. This is your self love time and it’s therapeutic for that reason. Think of it as treating yourself to a massage and go into your class with a positive attitude, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Postures in Yin Yoga are mainly done on the floor lying or seated. The postures themselves are more passive in nature. So there are no warriors, planks, sun salutations, no jump through, no standing OR dynamic movements usually! I know what you’re thinking–wait, is that even yoga? I get it-I love moving and flowing in yoga, and the steady attunement of my heart fluttering thinking about what’s coming next in a flow. I find joy in every breath of a sun salutation, but that’s not the only thing that my body needs–or your body for that manner. We need the opposite of moving sometimes, hence the Yin as part of the Yin & Yang.
With Yin Yoga we create space to soften the body and naturally release it without the pushing and straining; without the heartbeat thudding loud or the circling feeling in our heads when we are doing a hot flow. Sometimes postures are held for up to 10 minutes–which is an amazing opportunity to be meditative as your mind shifts from active (Yang) to passive (Yin).
The goal in practicing Yin Yoga is finding stillness in each position, to find peace & comfort in sinking into the deep connective tissue and fascia…this can feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s what we need to undo the days/weeks/years of pounding on our bodies without rest
It’s going to seem boring if you don’t think of it as the treat you are giving your body. If you can pause and really tune in, you’ll notice changes in the fascia. Fascia encases all the muscles we have (as well as our organs, lymph, and nerves)--and in order to keep the youth or buoyancy of the fascia itself we need to keep ourselves hydrated AND have a little extra push or pressure on it. I think of it like the micromotion you need for a bone to fully heal, instead of staying in a boot forever and waiting for the body to heal–we need some movement and some pressure to make ourselves have the resilience we need for a long and happy life moving! When we feel “stiff and weak” as we age–we tend to think of it being secondary to arthritis, but the first thing to dehydrate is actually the fascia. That’s why it need a little nudge (light a fire for it!) to keep it supple.
Your mind and body will thank you. Here are a few bullets of improvement: