Yin yoga is an incredible practice for flexibility and stress relief. It is slow paced with a quiet, meditative quality – poses are held for long periods anything from 5 to 8 minutes or more advanced practitioners. The poses, which are generally seated, act on the connective tissues of the body (tendons, fascia and ligaments) and improve circulation to the joints and increase range of flexibility. The stillness of the practice encourages introspection and quietening of the mind, leaving the practitioner calm, peaceful and relaxed at the end of the class.
The Principles of Yin Yoga
Playing Your Edge
On entering the pose the practitioner is encouraged to go to their edge of discomfort, or point of resistance. That edge of sensation will gradually lessen and so the practitioner may go deeper and constantly play to their edge for the duration of the pose. However, the sensation should be no more than a blunted ache rather than sharp pain, the latter always indicating it is time to back off.
Yin postures are held for longer periods of time, anything up to 20 minutes, with 5 minutes being the norm for each pose in most classes. The long holds allow access to the deeper layers of fascia around the joints, mainly the knees. pelvis, sacrum and spine in mainly seated and supine poses.
The exit from the poses is as important as the other principles. It is normal to feel a sense of fragility on releasing the pose as the body react to the stress and the transition out of the pose must be slow and mindful. The feeling of fragility may last for a couple of minutes and it is useful to straighten the spine, enter child’s pose or savasana or even enter a slow, controlled dynamic pose such as down dog or reverse plank.
Why not try a class and discover the benefits for yourself.