What is Yin Yoga and why you should start practicing

Yin is the complement to Yang, the Soul to our Strength. Most of the Yoga that we see  is predominantly known as a yang practice, the qualities of yang are active, hot, fast, male energy, sun, fire. warming, masculine, day whereas Yin is feminine in nature, passive, cooling, slow, moon, water, night.  Yang targets the muscles and Yin targets the connective tissue.  

We need Yin as well as Yang in our lives to create balance. Yang is warming and active, using muscles to build strength,   this ‘yang’ style of yoga or other types of physical exercise we take part in is important as well as Yin. Yin is focused on deepen your range of motion,  it’s the feminine, passive and cooling aspect targeting the connective tissues around the pelvis, hips, lower back and spine.

What to expect in a yin yoga class

During yin yoga you are asked to relax in the posture, soften the muscle and tissues using the breath as a guide, letting your body open when it’s ready.  The practice involves holding postures, supported with props for around 3-10 minutes in order to lengthen the connective tissue.

Why is connective tissue important?

Connective tissue can shrinks from from aging, injury, illness or physical activity. Connective tissue is like a 3D spider web inside the body that interweaves through every muscle, tendon, ligament and organ, with no break. The connective tissue (or fascia) determined the muscles rage of movement.

Yin is essential for joint health, injury healing and prevention. The challenge during the practice  is bringing the awareness to the present moment during the long holds, this develops  strength both physically and mentally.

Give yourself permission to slow down, we have very faced paced active lives and sometimes we need an element of yin. Yin Yoga restores energy and calms the nervous system, it’s an amazing practice.

Some benefits of Yin yoga are:

  • Calming to the mind
  • Increases range of movement
  • Reduced pain
  • Lowers  stress, anxiety, depression
  • Greater sense of strength both physically and mentally
  • Better lubrication and protection of joints
  • Release of connective tissue throughout the body
  • Can help with headaches and migraines
  • Better ability to sit for meditation

Although it’s different to  Vinyasa or more active styles of yoga, since practicing I have personally seen and felt an improvement in my daily vinyasa practice.  Plus there are days when you might want to do some form of activity but you might be completely exhausted. I believe that if you incorporate a little of yin will create a more balanced practice as well as a more balanced version of you!

Yin Yoga is on Thursday 6.15pm at The Barn, Netherton Farm which is on the border of West Lothian / North Lanarkshire, 10 mins from Bathgate / Armadale. You can BOOK HERE.