Health / Yoga

I Love to Hate Yin Yoga

Not thinking twice about the name “Yin” before I started the session, I figured this practice would be similar to a Vinyasa or Hatha Flow class. The session began with calm breathing exercises. The instructor proclaimed we would be doing predominantly ground work. I thought, “Yes, jackpot!” Thirty minutes later, my thoughts were far from thinking I had hit the jackpot.

Yin yoga focuses on the deep connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Yin elongates and strengthens the connective tissue. To say it simply, poses are held for three to five minutes causing me to go through different phases of “oh, that feels good” to “there’s no tears in yoga right?”

During my practice of Yin, not only was my body expanding but also my mind. By staying solitary in a pose for three minutes or more, thoughts roam. Effort and focus are required to stay with the breath and to breathe past the intensity. I never recognized my struggle to stay still and patient until Yin yoga. With more active forms of yoga, I can easily forget the importance of meditation. Yin accounts for the time in between poses. Silence is cherished.

In the age of technology, we are constantly multitasking. Lately, I don’t even watch a movie or television show without also surfing the web on my device. Yin yoga forced me to stay still with my own thoughts. A Yin yoga session combines rejuvenating and intensive stretching of the body while also providing meditation for the mind.

If there is a Yin, there must be a Yang. Yin yoga, as beneficial as it is, should be practiced to balance with Yang yoga poses. The practice of Yin improves the practice of Yang. Yang poses require more activity with focus on muscle tone, endurance, and balance.

YIN, Moon:  Stable, immobile, passive

YANG, Sun: Changing, mobile, active

As the body ages, connective tissue loses mobility. Yin yoga can increase the longevity of the joints. Characterized by body part, challenge and improve your body and mind with these Yin poses. As a beginner, hold the pose for only 1 to 3 minutes.

Before doing any poses, remember: HONOR YOUR BODY. It should feel intense, not painful. If you feel any tingling, a nerve is being impacted and the pose should be modified or discontinued.

To come into a pose: Come into the pose in your respected way appropriate for your body.

Staying in the pose: Respect your body’s boundaries. Listen to your body. Do not force or jerk.

Exiting a pose: Do not quicken your release. Relax and release with care.

Hips & Groin:

Butterfly

Dragon 

Frog 

Happy Baby 

Squat

Swan

Swan is the same is pigeon pose. Pigeon pose is considered a Yang pose. Pigeon focuses on muscle. In Swan, relax and focus on the joints.

Spine:

Camel – If you are a beginner, please be aware of an easy modification

Childs Pose

Dangling 

Caterpillar

Reclining Twist

Legs:

Hamstrings: Dangling 

                         Caterpillar

                          Straddle

Quads: Dragon 

                Saddle

Upper Body

Yin yoga predominantly focuses on the lower body. However, my shoulders show no flexibility. I benefit greatly from practicing Yin yoga on my upper body.

Arm and Shoulder

Neck

Sources:

www.elephantjournal.com

www.yinyoga.com

http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/580

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&ved=0CEcQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mindbodygreen.com%2F0-5037%2FYin-Yoga-101-What-You-Need-to-Know.html&ei=q7nrUrSXHrPCyAGE74GAAw&usg=AFQjCNEFKF4qJSTXgh4lgy4H7GlMNACOcw&sig2=vKiT6QiCQ-dvQZDUpNwvOw&bvm=bv.60444564,d.aWc

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11 thoughts on “I Love to Hate Yin Yoga

  1. I have only ever done Vinyasa and Hatha, but am about to start Yin to correct some growing concerns with my spine. Thanks for the informative post. Despite the warnings of some suffering, this actually makes me more excited to get started. It’s just what I’m looking for.

    • Good luck with Yin!! I have a shoulder blade issue and Yin is the only thing that relieves the pain. I recommend Caterpillar pose!

  2. Wow, thanks for posting all these links! I will be back to visit when I can practice some of these poses for extended time. I was sad to not be able to handle yoga for years due to shoulder spasms but have gradually worked back to it and love it. This should help take me further in the practice.

    • wonderful to hear!! yin is intense but low impact and helps immensely with the other forms of yoga. best of luck with your practice :]

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