What is Yin Yoga?
When you hear the word "yoga," you might think of such styles as Ashtanga, which is physically demanding and requires extreme focus, or Bikram (often referred to as "hot yoga"), which is performed in a heated room to keep the muscles warm. Yin Yoga is different. It is a slower-paced, meditative style of yoga, where poses are held mindfully for longer periods of time to deeply stretch the body.
The "yin" in Yin Yoga comes from the ancient Chinese Taoist yin yang philosophy, which describes how seemingly opposite forces are connected and can help bring balance. Yang is characterized as being active, fiery, and dominant, while yin is passive, cool, and receptive.
In today's society, Yin Yoga serves as an antidote to your often stress-filled and busy life, which is typically "yang" in nature. Too much "yang" activity can cause an imbalance on physical, emotional, and mental levels. While you never want to be completely "yin," true health and well-being come from the practice of balancing the yin and the yang, the passive and the active, and the calming and the stimulating.
It's all in the stretch
Yin Yoga offers two components that the more active forms of yoga lack: a focus on stillness and an emphasis on longer, deeper stretching. While most yoga styles move swiftly and focus on muscle tissues and building strength, Yin Yoga moves slowly and stretches more deeply into the connective tissues, such as ligaments, tendons, and deep fascia – the tissue that surrounds muscles. This deeper connection is why Yin Yoga is often called "yoga of the joints." Yin Yoga is also performed sitting or lying down, which allows gravity to play a role in developing a deeper stretch while enabling you to hold poses for longer periods of time.
Practising Yin Yoga will benefit your body, including improved joint health, increased mobility, and improved digestion and cardiovascular health. But just as importantly, it will benefit your mind by helping to alleviate stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and positively affecting your mental and emotional state. We could all use a bit of that in this busy world!
Kassandra Reinhardt is the world’s leading Yin Yoga instructor online with 7 million YouTube views and 100,000 subscribers. She is also an official instructor on the popular yoga platform Grokker. In addition to yoga teaching, she provides workshops and seminars on journaling, meditation, and how to create an online business. Visit Kassandra’s website at www.yogawithkassandra.com and subscribe to her YouTube channel www.youtube.com/yogawithkassandra.