Are you keen to try a Yin yoga class, but not quite sure what it is or how it will feel for you? Well, here we hope to answer your questions and prepare you for your first Yin class with Go Yoga.
What exactly is Yin yoga?
The word “Yin” comes from the Taoist tradition. It's about learning to find calm and still, and aims to cool down your body. The opposite Yang relates to movement and creating heat in the body. Ideally, we need a bit of both of these in our lives to find balance and to stay in optimum health.
HIIT sessions, running, spinning and certain other forms of yoga i.e. Vinyasa Flow yoga can be classed as yang activities, but Yin yoga falls obviously into the opposite category.
Yin yoga is usually practised sitting or lying down on the floor. The pace is slow, and you can still expect to practice forward folds and gentle backbends, but all poses will be held for much longer periods - often between two and twenty minutes. This allows us the time to just be still, and to notice what our minds and bodies are telling us at that time.
Yin is suitable for both beginners and more advanced yoga practitioners alike. During a session, you will hear none of the Sanskrit names for the poses, but instead you will hear more descriptive English names, which are often easier to remember. Popular Yin poses include butterfly, dragon, swan and twisted roots.
Calm your anxiety
In a time of worry, anxiety and stress, Yin offers us the time and space to do nothing other than ‘just breathe.’ If we always focus purely on the yang, our bodies and minds can suffer from fatigue and burnout, so Yin offers a much-needed chance to slow down the mind and to be guided deeper into your practice.
While you hold each pose for longer, Yin yoga helps to stretch out the deep connective tissues in between the muscles. It also helps to increase circulation to the joints and regulate the body’s natural flow of energy. Over time, you will also notice increased flexibility as you focus on the bone and joint areas.
Practice Yin anywhere
The popularity of Yin Yoga has blossomed over the past ten years or so, therefore today there are regular online Yin Yoga classes to choose from, regardless of where you live.
Yin is also a very flexible form of yoga (in the other sense of the word!) You don’t need to be in a studio or even always have a mat to practice. Yin is great to practice at home, and some Yin yoga poses can even be held while sitting in your office, watching a movie or even lying in bed!
It might be slow, but it's not easy!
Your Yin yoga class is slow, so you can wear your most comfortable, warm clothes, and you can even leave your socks on for this type of yoga.
But, this does not mean that Yin yoga is easy! Despite it being a simple, slow and quiet practice, it will take you out of your comfort zone. The most benefits come from staying in the postures, despite your mind's desire to get out of them.
Accept the challenge to meditate
During your Yin yoga class you will most probably find yourself with a lot of time on your hands. This is a challenge in itself not to let your mind wander off and think about your plans, your work, your dinner, or anything else that could distract you.
Instead you should face the challenge of entering into a gentle meditation. Practice to slow down your breath and calm your mind, allowing it to shut off from the world outside and any other thoughts going on in your head.
Fall in love with Yin
Yin yoga is far from easy, but it is wonderful and rewarding.
If you can stick with it, you are sure to reap the rewards and benefits of increased perception and awareness around the breath, and therefore of life itself.
Join our Alex every Thursday at 8.15pm for an hour of Yin Yoga online in the comfort of your own home.