Yin yoga is different than what most people think of when they think of yoga and isn’t one of the more popular forms in studios (unfortunately in my opinion). In yin the poses are all done sitting / laying on floor and the focus is not on strength or balance. Poses are held from 2 – 5 minutes, and the poses are often poses you’ll recognize as common stretches. The reason to hold the poses for an extended period is to really work into the connective tissues and joints, props (pillows / blankets / cushions anything off your couch will work) can be used for people that have tight hamstrings or hips if needed but the need for props is truly dependent on flexibility. The yin yoga system has some basis in the eastern medicine meridian system so that while the stretches are great for athletes, each pose also focuses on certain systems within the body such as heart, lungs, digestive tract, etc.
Despite “just” being deep stretching yin can be hard, because:
- It’s hard to be still
- It can be uncomfortable to be in the same position (but it shouldn’t hurt and body parts shouldn’t fall asleep so shift around if needed)
- Being still can cause lots of thoughts and emotions to start churning in the mind which can be mentally uncomfortable
Yin yoga is great for nearly everyone because:
- On the floor and with props really removes physical limitations, so any age any shape, no excuses!
- No matter what we do – sit at a desk all day, drive around, push ourselves athletically we can all stand to step back and heal our body and counteract the stresses we put on ourselves
- Can allow for great introspection
- Once you get past the mental uncomfortableness of being alone with your thoughts it can be a great anxiety reducer
- Recommend doing at night closer to bedtime because it can be so relaxing and help people that have difficulty sleeping
A video I would recommend as an introduction (although a class with an instructor to provide feedback and answer any questions is even better and safer – and I’m of course happy to answer any questions you might have):
- Yin Yoga for Legs w/ Bernie Clark (30 minutes) – this guy has literally written the book on Yin yoga, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD66900BE2B70F6C8