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What is Yin Yoga and What Are the Benefits?

Jessie Wren
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Although you love the style of yoga you practice, this article may invite you to love another. Our yoga practice allows us to become more mindful and present, no matter which style we practice.
 
Some yoga styles offer a more physically challenging practice while others offer a space to relax and breathe, which is why we need both to stay whole. Yet many yogis skip the latter and choose a more rigorous practice, missing a deeper experience on the mat.
 
We live in a culture that is constantly on the go, requiring a lot of movement, activity, stimulation, and responsibilities. So it may be surprising when a yoga class that asks us to be still can be more challenging than a fast-paced vinyasa class.
 
Yin Yoga teaches us to reroute the mind.
 
Yin Yoga is popular because it offers the chance to be still, be present, and work within while you breathe and stretch deeply and create more space in mind and body.
 

Yin Yoga teaches us to reroute the mind

 

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga targets the deep connective tissues, bones, joints, fascia and ligaments in the body. The more we work our fascial system and deep tissues, the less dense and tight our bodies become as we age.
 
Lengthening extremely tight tissues can be a very uncomfortable practice, but using this time to focus on breathing is a large part of Yin Yoga.
 
When we experience pain or discomfort, our bodies naturally become tense and we use our fight or flight response. Yin Yoga teaches us to reroute the mind and slow the heart rate when we experience discomfort.
 
Eventually, your mind will remain relaxed throughout your entire practice and you will be able to release the tension and more easily stretch the muscles and tissues.
 

Why practice Yin Yoga?

As we age, our bones begin to degenerate, we lose mobility in our joints and our fascia tightens. But a consistent Yin Yoga practice helps to regain mobility and ease pain in the body. Yin Yoga is an excellent counter to the more physically demanding – or yang – yoga disciplines. This deep stretching is the perfect follow-up to intense yoga or other physical activity so you can stay balanced, flexible, and avoid injury.
 

Key benefits of a regular Yin Yoga practice:

  • Targets connective tissues including fascia, bones and joints
  • Reduces stress
  • Increases circulation
  • Balances internal organs and improves flow of prana
  • Balances our yang or physical yoga practice
  • Relieves tension
  • Improves flexibility
  • Encourages mindfulness and meditation

 

 

What will I experience during Yin Yoga?

During a Yin Yoga class, it is common to experience different emotions such as: anxiety, fear, happiness, sadness or boredom. As humans, we are emotional beings, and much of the emotion from our experiences is stored within the body.
 
Our emotions are physically stored in the body. These emotions can become pain or blockages like knots in our shoulders, tight hips, sore necks or internal pains. It is important to release the stored anger, sadness, anxiety and fear to keep the body pain-free, healthy and balanced.
 

Our emotions are physically stored in the body

 
Yin Yoga encourages you to become aware of these stored emotions so you can begin to recognize them and release them. You can expect slow, deep stretches and meditation in a Yin Yoga class that balances and strengthens the body, mind and spirit.
 
Yoga is about finding balance and feeling whole. If you don’t have a Yin Yoga practice or have never tried it, I encourage you to check it out. You will be pleasantly surprised by the growth in your yang and meditation practice.
 
The more you practice Yin Yoga, the more you will embrace slowing down and connecting to yourself. As Bernie Clark said, “Completeness, wholeness often requires a rebalancing and a returning to the center where I can see my energies and care for my soul.”
 
Are you interested in trying Yin Yoga? Do you think this practice could help you bring more balance into your life? If you’ve tried Yin Yoga, what did you think? Leave us your feedback in the comments below – we love hearing from you.
 

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Jessie Wren

Inspired by soul connection, Jessie is an Arizona native who finds peace within her yoga practice, and spreads light through her yoga teaching and writing. Through concentration of mind, practicing the physical postures, along with a healthy lifestyle, she loves connecting with herself and others. When she is not teaching yoga, she is traveling the world, writing about inspiration, and taste-testing every sushi restaurant she can in Los Angeles.

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