According to ancient Chinese philosophy, there are two universal forces: yin and yang. Yin and yang theory shows how seemingly two opposite sides complement each other and build an integrative whole when put together. Neither yin nor yang can exist without the other, as light cannot exist without darkness, activity not without stillness.
Yang is referred to as our masculine energy. It stands for movement and activity. For brightness, fire and heat. Yin, on the other hand, is related to passivity and stillness, to darkness, softness and our feminine side. Based on both of these principles yin and yang, we designed a training combining both Yin and Vinyasa Yoga.
Yin Yoga Benefits – Why is this Yoga style so beneficial?
Not only our daily lifestyle, also most workouts and yoga styles are very yang focused: We are constantly active and striving for success. Also in sport and movement we are aiming for energetic, strong and sweaty moves to strengthen our muscles and tone our bodies. That’s where the benefits of Yin Yoga join the game.
What is Yin Yoga?
In Yin Yoga, rather than working with our muscles, we’re targeting our fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue in our body. It attaches, stabilizes and separates muscles, organs and bones, giving our bodies hold and its unique posture.
As opposed to strong Ashtanga or a flowing Vinyasa practice, Yin Yoga works with gentle traction and long holds of the poses. In Yin Yoga, every body is considered to be different why there is no “perfect” asana – everyone practicing Yin Yoga is given time and space to adjust the pose to his or her own body and can decide what feels good and how far to go.
What are the benefits of these long holds in yin yoga?
“Holding stress for several minutes creates a phase change in its fluids, which results in a lengthening of the tissue and feeling of ease. This phase change also allows a greater movement of chi through the tissues, which is pleasurable and promotes healing.” – Paul Grilley.
What you will learn in your Yin Yoga practice
Trying yin yoga for the first time might be surprising. It seems like you’re barely doing anything: No sweat, no push – ups, almost no movement. You might feel the urge to do something, but what it needs here is to be still. To breathe, to tune into your body, and to slowly melt into the pose allowing your body to do the work.
In our active, yang focused lifestyle, it seems almost impossible to stand still, to do nothing. But to “do nothing” actually is the missing piece in the puzzle and the point where real progress is achieved.
What it’s like to do Yin Yoga
Accepting stillness and status quo:
This can be quite hard for people who are always on the run and overly active in their daily life. We are learning to be still with our body and mind, don’t move and be patient. Also, we’re not forcing the body to reach a certain angle or position here – the pose can be adjusted to where it feels good and right for us.
Long hold of the poses:
We are staying in a posture for several minutes without moving. We are learning to be patient and are given time to observe more slow and subtle movements and release of the fascia that is happening here.
Release tight muscles and fascia:
As we aren’t targeting the muscles here but rather the connective tissue, we are going slow, gently trying to let go instead of strengthening our muscles or holding onto something. We mindfully sense into the tight areas, using our breath, letting go what is ready to be released.
Practicing with consciousness and mindfulness:
Our body and mind are working together, so we might experience stuck emotions being released here. We always listen to our body, practicing with awareness and presence – and never forget to breathe.
Yin Yoga Benefits Summary
If you’re able to tune in, you might notice some deep work going on in the layers underneath your skin. You will get a deeper stretch of your hamstrings than ever before or you might notice a better hip rotation. You will feel refreshed, calm and leave with a nourished and clear mind.
Yin Yoga is about building the essential balance to our yang focused life: Slowing down, turning inward, allowing stillness, and being able to sit with our breath and our emotions.
Through gentle stretches, we are creating more space in the deep layers of our connective tissue. The art of yin yoga is to be still, observe and accept everything that wants to show up.
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