Let's Get Yin-timate!
Yin was not something that I was immediately drawn to. When I started yoga I had come from a consistent Pilates practice. When I moved to yoga I was looking for something to give me the same physical benefits I was used to.
As many who come to yoga for its physical perks, I learned that it has so much more to give. I used to push myself very hard getting into this or that pretzel. It was a state of mentality that I strived for on and off the mat. Do more, be more, be better.
Over time and with more learning yoga has become so much more for me. As soon as I understood yoga was not a ‘work out’ and I found other outlets for my fitness, so much more opened up for me.
So I changed my perspective and allowed myself to experience all yoga had to offer rather than just keeping my bum looking good in my leggings.
Yin came to me at a very much needed time, isn't that always the way. It allowed me to slow down, contemplate and breathe. There is a certain magic to be found in the tingly numbness 5 minutes into a hold, experiencing the state that the mind enters to be able to endure it and find it pleasing. Our sthira and sukha, effort and ease. A sense of unrestrained yielding and surrender.
Yin yoga focus on rest and relaxation, it is very gentle and is predominantly long static hold in seated postures. Here are a few things Yin can help with-
- Calms and balances the mind and body.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Increases circulation.
- Improves flexibility.
- Releases fascia and improves joint mobility.
- Balances the internal organs.
Yang yoga practices like vinyasa physically target the ‘superficial’ muscles, in Yin yoga, we target the deep connective tissues of the body – the ligaments, joints, bones, and deep fascia networks. A Yin class usually consists of a series of passive floor poses held for up to 5 minutes or more, that mainly work the lower part of the body – the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues.
Yin yoga works on the yin tissues – also known as the connective tissues. Connective tissue responds best to a slow, steady load, which is why we hold the poses for longer. Different Yin yoga poses stimulate and remove blockages in the myofascial meridians in the body, which in turn balances the body’s internal organs and systems. If you gently stretch connective tissue by holding a yin pose for a long time in this way, the body will respond by making it a little longer and stronger – which is exactly what you want.
es, there are also amazing physical benefits to the practice. Yin stimulates the meridians and works deep into strengthening the fascia and connective tissues in the body, but the immediate benefits are mental.
Yin is a controlled practice for the disease and discomfort of life. It allows us to go to our edge, it brings suppressed feelings to the surface and throws them into the open raw and unbearable for us to face. There is a mantra I recite when I feel I am at my edge ‘It's just a feeling’ Nothing is actually going to happen to me, I won't break, it's just a feeling.
Fear, discomfort, anger, hurt… They are all just feelings. Nothing has happened to you, you are just experiencing a feeling. Yes, a physical situation may have been the catalyst for your emotion but how you choose to feel about it, IS a choice.
It is a hard lesson to learn that we CHOOSE to be upset or be a victim to our circumstances. We want to hurt and to be vindicated but the truth is we are the only ones that can find resolve for it. You can choose to be a victim or you can choose to be victorious.
Every posture allows us the choice to find the Yin within the Yang. Do you choose to revel in the pain and suffering or do you choose to surrender to it and release it? The moment we choose to surrender and understand that it is just a feeling a whole new world opens up for us.