Yin yoga is a slow-paced type of yoga in which poses are held for a longer period of time. Compared to more dynamic types of yoga, yin yoga is a slow and introspective type of yoga that works on the deep connective tissues. In a yin yoga class, you gently work on these connective tissues in the body through a series of passive, mostly floor-based yoga poses which are held from about three to up to ten minutes per pose.
Strengthen your joints
Yin yoga has physical, mental, and emotional benefits. As a physical practice, yin yoga targets the connective tissues which can be found all over our body. Whereas elastic muscle tissue needs dynamic and repetitive movements to stay healthy, connective tissues, such as our joints, tendons, ligaments, and fascia, need gentle stimulation, applied over a longer period of time. Fascia is a type of connective tissue that forms a three-dimensional web in our body, connecting muscles, bones, blood vessels, nerves and organs. When it’s healthy, fascia has a jelly-like substance which allows the other tissues in our body to slide freely alongside each other. As such it plays a crucial role in keeping our bodies healthy and flexible. When it’s unhealthy, fascia becomes stiff, potentially even fusing joints together to the point where you can lose mobility. For that reason, it is important to keep our fascia healthy.
Given that fascia mostly consists of collagen, it needs slow and gentle pressure applied for a longer period in time. Yin yoga and things like massage are therefore perfect ways to stimulate the fascia. In yin yoga you stay in a posture for at least three minutes. Since you let go of any unnecessary muscular tension, the connective tissue gets optimally stimulated. As a result, you are able to feel more space, mobility and openness in the body.
Relax in stillness
On an emotional and energetic level, the slow-paced nature of yin yoga allows for a more introspective experience. As you spend longer amounts in a certain pose, you will encounter different sensations. Starting off in a pose, you might feel a painful or uncomfortable tension. As you relax into that feeling, you’ll see that the sensations subside or change in nature and that you can rest on a deeper level. In addition, different thoughts and emotions might come up during the time you’re in a certain pose.
Just like the physical sensations, the thoughts and emotions that arise might be challenging. The various poses in yin yoga stimulate the myofascial meridians in the body, so that any blockages in the body’s energy system are balanced out. Meridian blockages can manifest themselves on a physical, mental and emotional level. When the blockages in the meridians are stimulated and removed, intense emotions can come up. During a yin yoga class you learn to observe these sensations, thoughts and emotions as they come and go, without getting caught up in your judgment and story about those sensations. In that sense, yin yoga is like a slow-moving meditation, where you gently stimulate the body’s connective tissue and meridians, and try to stay mindful and present throughout the entire session.
The classes are suitable for everyone, regardless of experience.
Try out yin yoga if you…
… are looking for a quiet and slow practice that helps you quieten the mind.
… want to gently stretch your connective tissues and let go of unnecessary tension.
… like to stay in poses for longer periods of time to explore the depths of your body and find inner stillness.
… want to work on opening the body and stimulating the meridians.
… would like to learn how to adapt yoga poses to your body instead of the other way around.
Yin yoga is simple, but simple does not mean easy.