You've heard of yoga, but maybe you've been hesitant to try it because it can look a little full on sometimes. But the thing with yoga is that there are so many styles; there's Vinyasa, Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Kundalini and Yin.
There's a chance that the yoga you are being exposed to is a "yang" movement and strength-based discipline, like vinyasa, where postures can range from beginner to very advanced.
But yin is different. Yin is gentle, yin is slow, and yin is juicy, nourishing, and calming. While the yang styles of yoga focus on the muscles, yin hones in on your connective tissues. Think of the fascia, ligaments, joints and bones. There's rarely any standing, most poses are held for three to fives minutes on the floor, and you are encouraged to relax into them rather than bracing yourself.
So as far as yoga goes, yin is the most gentle. Like a combination of profoundly beneficial movement and meditation, all while having a whole range of other incredible benefits too. Intrigued?
- Yin yoga can help you improve your quality of sleep.
- You've heard of yin and yang; well, this is a prime example. Yin energy is the exact opposite of yang energy. And to function in perfect bodily flow, you need a balance of both. When that balance is out of whack, you'll likely experience disrupted sleep. Yin yoga helps your body release pent-up yang energy, releasing all that thinking, movement, and stress that builds up over a day or a week.
- Improves your range of motion
- Just like you know the benefits of stretching, yin yoga takes all that goodness to the next level. Yin targets more than just your muscles; it takes into account all the inner parts of the body you'd only know about if you can still remember your year 11 biology class. The fascia, ligaments, joints and the deep connective tissues. The goal? Increasing circulation in those lesser moved areas, resulting in an improved range of motion and flexibility.
- Yin yoga helps to reduce stress.
- In our modern world, almost everything is a stressor; days are getting more and more fast paced, there's always a device in our hands, music in our ears, and bright lights that shine all night. Yin yoga puts all that to the side for an hour. It's a calming practice that helps soothe your nervous system and allows your mind to stop and slow down.
- Yin yoga cultivates balance.
- Most of us lead lives of intense yang; active, go, go, go types of existence. But if you look to the yin and yang symbol for inspiration, you'll see that yin and yang exist in perfect balance, each other's exact opposite. Practicing yin yoga is the ideal way to welcome more yin into your life, helping to restore equilibrium.
- It helps you sink into meditation.
- Finding a meditative state can be difficult, especially with the aforementioned daily stressors. But combining the long-held poses of yin and deep breathing is the perfect concoction to help you find that deep meditative state, taking time out from the constant mental chatter. The stillness of yin invites peace into both the body and the mind.
- Yin yoga taps into the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Deep diaphragmatic breathing, or deep belly breathing, triggers your parasympathetic nervous system. It's a system so many of us don't activate nearly enough, but the benefits of doing so are outstanding. You'll know when you access it; it feels like a giant sigh of relief washing over you. And when you are deep in it? It is the perfect time for your organs to catch up on all the vital work they do. Digesting, healing, recovering. Frequently accessing this state helps reduce tension and stress, lowers blood pressure, regulates sleep, assists digestion, boosts immune function and balances hormones.
- Yin yoga encourages you to slow down.
- Yin yoga can act as a roadblock, stopping that speedy fast forward motion you were in. Taking the time to practice will encourage other types of yin activity, like bathing, reading, walking, sleeping, and resting.