Yin Yoga 101

Yin Yoga is a term used to describe an emerging style of yoga that is becoming increasing popular in our busy modern world. In Yin Yoga we predominately practice floor based positions (poses or asana in Sanskrit) which are held for a longer amount of time than normal yoga poses – Yin Yoga poses are generally held for 3-5 minutes. Yin Yoga poses are performed in a gentle way, but the idea is to hold the pose with an ‘edge’ of sensation. This sensation could be described as having a quiet intensity that is tolerable physically, mentally and emotionally.

We often use a number of yoga ‘props’ such as yoga blocks, blankets, bolsters and cushions as support in the poses. These props assist us to come into the poses without requiring the flexibility needed to access traditional yoga poses and help us to remain muscularly disengaged. This is important as we are not focusing so much on stretching and lengthening the muscles, rather in Yin Yoga we are working into the deeper connective tissue in the body, especially the joints to maximise joint health and mobility.

Another key benefit of Yin Yoga is the meditative quality of the practice. Because we hold poses for a longer time, there is the opportunity to develop a receptive, quiet, relaxed and internal focus. We deepen our ability to be present to the moment and develop tools for self-awareness and observation at the physical, mental and emotional levels. Yin Yoga is a mindfulness practice as well as a physical practice.

Mindfulness practices can help us to observe the fluctuations of the mind and allows us to be a more neutral ‘observer’ in our internal world. This in turn can assist us to be more present to what is occurring in front of us as it unfolds, helping us to be less reactive in stressful situations generally and increasing our ability to respond in healthy ways.

Yin is a word of Taoist origin, and is represented as the black parts of the popular Yin/Yang symbol. Yin describes qualities such as gentle, passive, receptive and inward – which are qualities we look to develop and create in our Yin Yoga practice. Yin Yoga combines a number of different practices from ancient Indian yoga practices, Taoist teachings, Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and Buddhist mindfulness philosophy and teachings.

The benefits of Yin Yoga are numerous and speak to the reason why this style of yoga is fast becoming one of the most sought after yoga practices around the world. Yin Yoga is an excellent natural stress release. It is a great balancing practice for those who have busy lives, have a strong physical exercise regime or anyone who just wants better health generally. Yin can be challenging – staying still for a period of time can test students, especially if there is a degree of healthy discomfort in the pose. It appears to be a simple practice but can have profound effects at the physical, emotional and mental levels. After a Yin Yoga class there is often a deep sense of overall relaxation and wellbeing.

Embody Wellbeing is running our transformational Yin Yoga Teacher Training in 2018 - Yinbody 85: www.embodywellbeing.org/yinbody85

Get in touch with us for more information about Yinbody 85: embody.wellbeing.info@gmail.com

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