The style of yoga that most people are familiar with practicing is the “Yang” style of yoga. Usually, these styles are a bit more up-tempo and rigorous – Vinyasa, Fusion, Flow, Ashtanga. But of course, every Yang needs a Yin! Yin Yoga is a more relaxing style, and it is the perfect complement to the rest of your practice.
The Yin-Yang Theory
This is the Yin and Yang Symbol. It visually depicts the idea that the universe is governed by a cosmic duality — sets of two opposing and complementing principles, or cosmic energies, that can be observed in nature, and it means “bright-black”. Yang (black) refers to movement, which creates heat in the body. Yin (bright), on the other hand, emphasizes finding peace, relaxing, and letting the body cool. We need both yin and yang to find balance and become the best versions of ourselves. We can see the interplay between yin and yang clearly when we look across each different yoga practice.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a slower-paced style of yoga that is done primarily in a seated position. Poses are held longer (3-10 min.) to allow the muscles to relax and to stretch the deep connective tissue and the fascia in the body.
Yin primarily works the lower part of the body – the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine – which are especially rich in connective tissues.
In Yin Yoga, only the passive (Yin) poses are used. Yin gently engages your muscles to hold postures without any extra effort and minimal muscle use. The use of props — like straps, blocks, cushions, bolsters, etc. — is welcomed and encouraged.
What are the Benefits of Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is not meant to be comfortable. In spending long periods of time holding slightly uncomfortable postures, we learn to sit with this feeling of discomfort and, through it, learn more about ourselves and our bodies.
“…if yoga postures really do help us reach down into the body and gently stimulate the flow of qi and prana through the connective tissue, Yin Yoga serves as a unique tool for helping you get the greatest possible benefit from yoga practice.” (Yoga Journal)
- Yin Yoga reinvigorates tissues throughout your body, leading to increased circulation and improved flexibility.
- Yin Yoga is a stress-relieving practice. With your mind concentrated on the deep and focused postures, the noises and stress of everyday life are pushed aside, enabling you to gain clarity and understanding.
- Yin strengthens mental/physical fortitude and perseverance. By requiring a heavy focus and effort you are pushed into uncomfortable places that are both rewarding and character building.
- Yin forces us to slow down both physically and mentally, which in today’s demanding world is needed more than ever.
- Practicing Yin Yoga is shown to greatly improve flexibility and joint mobility. This is key to your overall practice — especially for those students that spend long hours sitting and being sedentary.
Yin Yoga Poses – The 5 Archetypes
At BYUV we encourage all our students to expand their practice and try all of our classes. If you’re looking for a class that will allow you to slow down, settle in, and leave feeling like you just took a “mini-vacation.” This is a must-try!