What is it?
Yin Yoga was developed in the 1970s by Paulie Zink. He used elements of Tao Yin and Hatha Yoga to develop this new practice which has become a tool for releasing a lot of stress and seriously increasing flexibility. It is a floor based practice, where you will be lying down or seated as you hold the asanas. The poses are held for quite long periods of time, which means that the connective tissues and fascia around joints and muscles begin to lengthen. When practicing Yin Yoga, props are used to make you as comfortable as possible whilst holding each pose. There is an idea of trying to relax and ease into the poses, finding a balance between comfort and discomfort wherever that is for you.
Yin Yoga is practiced at a very slow pace, holding poses for around 2 - 5 minutes each. Yin classes mainly focus on areas of the body which often hold a lot of tension or tightness (legs, hips, sacrum and spine). This form of yoga is definitely more of a mental challenge than physical. It is difficult because well… holding any pose for up to 5 minutes can be somewhat uncomfortable…give it a try!
Once you settle into a pose, the idea is to remain as still as possible and just observe the feelings and sensations which come and go without fidgeting! Yin Yoga can teach you a lot about your thought processes and how you personally react in situations that may not be that pleasant to sit with. However, this understanding and self discovery can be extremely beneficial for day-to-day life when we have to face things in our lives that can’t be changed or just runaway from.
Most yoga studios nowadays offer Yin classes as a way to compliment stronger practices or as a way to unwind after a busy working day, week or weekend! It is not uncommon to find Yin classes being taught by candlelight to really bring a more peaceful atmosphere to the class. This can be absolutely delightful on a Sunday evening! Apart from the use of props, this is again a style of Yoga which you can easily practice at home, and you can again use items from around the house as makeshift props to support yourself (pillows are perfect for Yin). Just like Iyengar Yoga though, if you are going to make a practicing at home a regular thing, it may be wise to buy the appropriate props – bolsters are the perfect starting point!
Why we love it!
Yin classes are the perfect time to switch-off from this crazy technology-filled world. It is a time to truly listen to your body, and do something that is completely for yourself. It gives you that time and attention to care for yourself. Some say it’s even better than sleep for calming down the body and nervous system! Doesn’t that sound like something you need to try?
Paulie Zink (the creator), Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers are renowned in the Yin Yoga world where the focus is on finding inner stillness.
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