We live in a busy, fast paced world. We often carry this fast paced world to our mats. We seek out fast paced vinyasa classes, and squeeze class in before or after work. We rush to class, often getting stressed out that we will be late on our way there (admit it, you know it’s true!), get a solid, fast, hard workout in, and 60 minutes later, back out the door onto our next item of the day. Since we live in this fast paced environment, we all need, more than ever, a moment to slow down. Our bodies get tense, tight, and carry all of our emotions, including the stress we put on ourselves in our active yoga practice.
Everyone needs a little yin with their yang.
What is yin yoga?
Yin yoga is a slow paced practice. In the practice, you hold the postures for a long period of time, therefore doing less postures in your typical class. It is a more meditative practice.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb
The goal of slowing down, is not just in the slowing down. Through yin, we meet our edge and then sit awhile and let our bodies take over where the posture needs to go next. Postures in yin yoga often resemble our yang postures, but they are given different names because they have a different purpose. We don’t aim to target our muscles like we do in our active practice, we aim to relax the muscles around the connective tissue in the body, the fascia, to help increase circulation in the joints and to improve flexibility.
Some of us might feel that if we are not breaking a sweat, it isn’t worth it to make it to our mat. Don’t let your head get in your way, it already does enough of that in our live, find your way into a yin class. See how it feels. I had a teacher say once that going to yin is like getting a massage. It is a challenging practice. It requires you to sit with yourself, to sit in stillness and let the body naturally open (which isn’t always to most pleasant). As with most things in life, you will never regret showing up, but you might regret it if you miss it.
The Benefits of Yin
If you are still not convinced to add some yin into your life, here are 3 benefits of the practice.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Our yoga practice as a whole can help reduce stress and anxiety. When we add yin to that practice, truly spend some time finding that state of mindfulness and relaxation, we find ourselves in a more consistent state of calm, and learn ways to deal the the stress and anxieties that come our way.
The postures in yin yoga are meant to stimulate and remove blocks in the meridians of the body. It helps to balance the organs of the body.
What better way to become more flexible in your yoga practice, and life, than to practice yin. The targeting of the joints and connective tissue enables to body to become more flexible when we hold the postures.
Join me every Sunday at 6pm for Yin at Riverstone Yoga in Tarrytown!