Join our ‘Intro to Yin’ online workshop on Thursday 19th November which offers an introduction to the concept and practise of this transformational style of yoga. Click here for more information and to book your spot.
Why Try Yin
As with all aspects of life, too much yang without the yin will inevitably evoke an underlying imbalance, and the same is true for our yoga practise.
Yin first caught my attention when I learned that it could help loosen my tight hips, which had frustratingly accumulated over several years of being glued to my desk throughout my corporate days, however, the energetic and mental health benefits attributable to the practise have proven to be equally as profound as the physical advantages. The notion of ‘surrendering’, which is encouraged throughout the practise, has exhibited unbounded benefits both on and off the mat.
Yin is a slow, meditative style of yoga, which harmonises and balances a Yang approach to asana, such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga. Derived from traditional Chinese medicine philosophy, which focuses on the energetic lines of the body known as meridians, Yin promotes the flow of Qi (pronounced chi), or life force energy throughout the body, by stimulating and releasing blockages.
While more dynamic yoga disciplines generally work the superficial muscle groups, Yin goes deeper, to target connective tissues, ligaments, bones and our remarkable fascial network, by passively holding and relaxing into static postures. On entering into a pose, and finding the ‘edge’, or manageable amount of sensation; emphasis is then placed on finding stillness and softness. The meditative element of Yin encourages a continual awareness of the breath while surrendering into the posture, which is typically held for 3-5 minutes. In my own experience, relinquishing the temptation to move, and learning to sit with any discomfort as it arises has presented endless positive energetic shifts, empowering me to apply the concept of going beyond my comfort zone into many other aspects of my life.
Until recently, fascia was given very little attention, with emphasis being placed predominantly on muscles and joints, when we experience physical tightness, however it turns out that it could be down to this incredibly fascinating tissue of the body.
Fascia is a fibrous web of tissue which surrounds every muscle, bone, blood vessel and nerve fibre, and holds our organs in place. When we move, this interconnecting phenomenon works in conjunction with our muscular system, and therefore it can provoke transformative implications when we factor our fascia into any limitations in our range of motion. Restrictions in our body can be caused by a number of factors, and in my case, a sedentary lifestyle had caused the fascia in my hips to become dehydrated, stiff and weak. The fascia cannot be targeted until the body is relaxed, and this is where Yin comes into play. Over time, the passive stretches and long slow holds, which gets fluid moving into the fascia, resulted in my hip tightness, and associated pain being dramatically reduced.
What’s more, according to traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, our facial network corresponds with the meridian pathways of acupuncture, thus stimulating the vital flow of energy (Qi) and holistically restoring balance and health.
If you’re interested in learning more about the boundless healing benefits that a regular Yin practise can provide, our ‘Intro to Yin’ online workshop on Thursday 19th November offers an introduction to the concept and practise of this transformational style of yoga. Click here for more information and to book your spot.