Why incorporating a more passive style of yoga is beneficial for your overall yoga practice
Written by: Rohit Mistry, Yoga Teacher, TFX
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a gentle and quiet practice where you learn to relax a targeted stretch in order to improve circulation in, and improve range of motion of, your joints. Unlike Yang styles of Yoga such as Vinyasa, Power, and Ashtanga, which focus more on muscle tissues, Yin Yoga targets your deep connective tissues like your fascia, ligaments and joints. Essentially, Yin Yoga is slower and more meditative, teaching you to recognise discomfort and thought while you stay still in poses. This helps to clear your mind and improve the energy flow in your body.
In order to successfully practice a posture in Yin Yoga, there are three requirements:
Firstly, getting into the pose in such a way that it generates a gentle stretching sensation in the required target area. Hence the use of blocks, bolsters and blankets in order to help support and hold our bodies.
Secondly, postures should be held for anywhere between 3-10 minutes. We are trying to target the dense connective tissue around the joints, and this tissue takes time to respond to gentle stress. So the key is in time held, rather than using muscular effort. Between the postures it is important to rest in a neutral position for a couple of minutes.
Thirdly, attention is focused on starting to relax the original gentle stretch. Hence, as the time progresses, you will find that the posture is being held with less and less muscular effort, with the body being supported by props as necessary.
Benefits of Yin Yoga
Learning to relax in a pose allows us the time to identify and release deeply-held tensions physically and mentally.
Balances out a predominantly yang style of yoga practice.
Learning to patiently wait calms the mind and develops the necessary attitude ready for any future mediation practices.
Helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system by reducing nervous energy.
Gives you a practical tool to manage stress.
Being kinder to yourself. Recognising when you are being too aggressive in a pose and giving yourself permission to back-off from the stretch.
You will observe the differences that exist between the right and left side of your bodies in terms of tightness and tension, helping to inform you of why certain postures in a yang style of class are more difficult on one side compared to the other.
To incorporate Yin Yoga into your practice, join TFX Yoga Teacher, Rohit Mistry, in his short 30 minute class on Yin Yoga.
Yin Yoga class (30min):
Wide knee child’s pose – 2 mins + 1 min rest
Sphinx – 2 mins + 1 min rest
Seal – 2 mins + 1 min rest
Figure Four right leg – 2 mins + 1 min rest
Figure Four left leg – 2 mins + 1 min rest
Lying Butterfly Pose – 2 mins + 1 min rest
Lying Spinal Twist Right side – 2 mins + 1 min rest
Lying Spinal Twist Left side – 2 mins + 1 min rest
Final Savasana – 2min
For a full yoga experience, check out our yoga class schedule and try a class of your choice.