Yin Yoga came into my life during my Yoga Teacher Training course with Yoga Vidya, Germany. Yoga teachers have to be knowledgeable about all types of Yoga in order to build our practice and to adapt to the students´ needs. Going Yinwards helped me discover a whole new world!
I had taken a Yin Yoga class before but I found it too slow and gentle for my liking. Even though that was precisely what I needed then, my mind rejected it flatout. I was used to the Yang way of living: fast, energetic, effortful. The ideal Yoga class should include both Yin and Yang moments, but my previous teachers leaned towards Yang because that is what people usually prefer. The no-pain-no-gain sort of mentality. I also thought that they tended to speak too much during class, not allowing students the time to go Yinwards. Looking back, I craved some Yin time but was unaware of that fact.
Yin Yoga offers both physical and mental benefits. Each Yin pose lasts from 2 to 3 minutes and no or minimal effort should be exerted. This allows plenty of time for the bones (yes, bones do stretch slightly), fascia, ligaments, joints, skin and tendons to stretch. They are not stretched properly during a more vigorous session. When the body is warm, it is the muscles that react to the stretches more readily. That is why Yin Yoga is best practiced early in the morning or at the end of the day when the body is cold. Since I started, my flexibility in general has improved and my back pain has subsided.
Besides the physical benefits of Yin Yoga, there is also the mental ones. When I am in a pose for 3 minutes, I have the time to observe where the tension is, something I was unable to do in more energetic practices. It is common for me to get into a pose and notice after a while that I am clentching my teeth. This is the tell-tale sign that your mind is holding onto something and it is time to let go. Ahhh so nice to carry less weight about... As a result, I am now able to focus more easily as I do not let obcessive thoughts take hold of me.
How is your Yang/Yin balance? How are we the same or different? Leave your comment below!
Eve specialises in Yoga and Relaxation for students and professionals who lead stressful lives or who are simply looking for a different perspective. She loves to write her thoughts in varied media and genres.