Everybody needs a little more yin in their lives!
The concept of Yin and Yang originates from ancient Chinese and represents the concept of dualism. It shows how seemingly opposite forces work to complement and balance each other. The Yin component is stable, nourishing, unmoving, soothing and calming– like night, winter, moon, reading, sleeping and chamomile tea. While Yang is changing, excreting, warm, invigorating and energising– like day, summer, day, exercising, socialising, coffee and chocolate. Harmony is created through a balance of the two. They cannot exist without the other.
It’s easy to see the Yang component in our modern lives. Many of us live fast-paced, active lives that are full of scheduled commitments from work to family and socializing. 2020 has slowed down the pace of most of our lives. While challenging, this also gives us the opportunity to be open to incorporating more Yin into our lives. When it comes to exercise, many people take a Yang approach– like powering through a run, pushing yourself in an Ashtanga yoga class or sweating it out on a spin bike. This is great, but you’ll feel much more centered by adding some Yin to your routine. It could be the perfect balance to all the chaos and changes in 2020.
What is Yin Yoga?
As the name suggests, Yin Yoga provides a slower, more meditative counterpart to help you round out your workouts. Yin is a slow, soothing, and meditative style of yoga that targets the deep connective tissues, bones, joints, fascia, and ligaments in the body. It also focuses on stretching and stimulating different acupressure points from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Benefits of Yin Yoga
It offers the chance to be still and be present. While you breathe and stretch deeply and create more space in mind and body. Typically when we experience discomfort, our bodies naturally become tense and we use our fight-or-flight response. Yin Yoga helps reroute the mind and slow the heart rate when we experience discomfort. Breath is an important component of Yin Yoga. It gives you something to focus on in the more difficult and uncomfortable postures.
Why Yin is for Everyone
Yin yoga is suitable for everyone from beginners to advanced, and all body types.
- There are always options with the poses and plenty of props for added support or lengthening. Blocks can be used under your knees in a forward fold, while a bolster or rolled-up blanket can be placed under your seat during butterfly pose to ease tight hips.
2. The slow pace of the class allows you more time to listen to your body in each pose, and instructors also have more time to correct and support your movement for maximum benefits.
3. Yin yoga is also great for anyone who is dealing with injuries or a chronic condition, like arthritis or osteoporosis. Unlike other fast-paced styles of yoga, this style is a particularly restorative practice.
4. Yin can also be a great starting point for anyone interested in meditation as it has such an internal focus. For some, the slow pace can be a real challenge to adjust to. You may get restless and fidgety, convinced that the timer is malfunctioning. You may feel bored and wonder if you’re not better suited to practice vinyasa. You might even get annoyed with yourself for getting annoyed at yourself, and you’ll judge yourself for being so judgmental! These are all normal thoughts, but can feel very uncomfortable without any distractions. Practicing Yin teaches you to sit with uncomfortable thoughts and build resilience, calmness and acceptance. The benefits go well beyond the feeling of satisfaction at the end of a class, into balancing and calming different aspects in your life.
It doesn’t matter what size, shape, fitness level, yoga expertise or stress level you have. Yin Yoga is easy, accessible and beneficial for everyone. If you’re ready to try a class, you can always join me!