We all have so much going on in our lives, experiencing stress is inevitable. While a certain amount of stress can be good, most of us are over-stressed. If you have begun to notice signs of burnout, it might be a good idea to take a step back and slow down a bit. With April being Stress Awareness Month, I wanted to share with you about some of my favorite stress-reduction practices. Later this month I will share about mediation, and today I will be talking about yin yoga.
I’m a personal trainer, yoga, and meditation teacher here at the rec. This is the first time that a yin yoga class has been offered at the rec, so I’m going to explain what it is, how it’s done, and what benefits you may receive by practicing this style of yoga.
What is it?
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga, in which the asanas (poses) are held for longer periods of time. Yin yoga targets the deep connective tissues and fascia. Yin originates from the ancient Taoist practices and traditions of China.
How is yin yoga done?
From what I have found, different teachers may say slightly different things, and how long each pose is held may also depend on the level of the class. Generally, it is said that yin poses could be held anywhere from ninety seconds to ten minutes. More advanced classes may hold poses on the longer end of that spectrum, while in beginner classes, the poses are generally only held for a few minutes. In my class, the only pose that is held for ten minutes is savasana (the final resting pose of class).
Often times props are used (I’m a big fan of props), because in yin, you don’t want to start a pose at your full stretch, you ease into it slowly. This is the reason the poses are held so much longer than in other classes. In some poses you may find that you can start out with props but remove them after a minute or so to go deeper.
What benefits can you receive from practicing yin yoga?
Yin offers many benefits, as all yoga practices do. Some of these benefits include: joint mobility, emotional balance, targets the fascia, opens the meridians (pathways in the body that energy flows through), and preparing the mind and body for deeper experiences in meditation.
Why do I think Yin Yoga is Important For Our Society?
As someone who has experienced much anxiety in the last few years, I think Yin is an important practice to help enhance our mental health. I used to always be so stressed and hurried, rushing from place to place, pushing my body as hard as I could, and as a result my thoughts were always racing as well. While Yin Yoga won’t necessarily cure your anxiety, it can help you start balancing your life. To see the most beneficial results, it is important to establish a consistent practice, whatever that looks like for you.
Some people don’t like Yin at first because we aren’t used to sitting in silence. I felt this way the first few times I practiced yin. I think it’s also important to note that you don’t already have to be a “zen” person to practice yin, or any type of yoga for that matter. All forms of yoga require practice and commitment, and if you’re anything like me, you may come to love both the physical and mental challenges that yin has to offer. It really is a challenge, just in a different way than a lot of us are used to.
You can come take a yin class with me on Tuesdays at 12pm or with Colin on Thursdays at 3:45pm!