…..stay a little bit longer in your yoga pose every now and then! It is something I am experimenting with, as I have just finished a teaching training course in Yin Yoga. Over the past few months I have done a lot of private yin yoga classes here in Gozo, outdoors and indoors and a weekly group class in Victoria. As I am about to start a second group class at Satori centre in Xaghra, it is probably a good idea to share a bit more about yin yoga and why it has become so immensely popular world wide.
Yin yoga: what is the fuss about?
Yin Yoga is a kind of yoga derived from Hatha Yoga. It is a slow paced, passive kind of yoga to calm the body and the mind. It is a wonderful way to counter balance the yang, over-active way we sometimes live our lives, at least, I tend to. But of course all yoga styles counter-balance our busy lives, so how is Yin Yoga different from Hatha Yoga or Vinyasa? It was certainly I question I had when I started my training. Especially as Yin Yoga is becoming so popular around the globe, I was wondering why.
What is it?
Yin Yoga consists of Hatha Yoga poses. The difference is that poses are held longer than in a typical Hatha Yoga class. In a Hatha class you will hold a poses for 5 to 10 breaths or for 30 seconds up to a minute. In Yin Yoga you will hold the pose for 3 to 5 minutes. Why is that?
Getting younger with Yin Yoga?
Long holds of poses stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid (HA). HA attracts water and ions. Our connective tissues and our joints function better when lubricated. It is like rejuvenating your body by providing extra moisture. This is why you will find hyaluronic acid in face cream as well, it helps to reduce wrinkles by providing moisture. excellent to get this for free with your yoga practice.
Another benefit of hyaluronic acid is that it speeds up wound healing. It regulates inflammation and has anti-bacterial properties.
Benefits of Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga relieves joint pain and preserves bone strength. This is because Yin Yoga targets the connective tissue rather than the muscles. In Vinyasa Yoga and active forms of Hatha Yoga we actively use our muscles. In Yin Yoga we just sink into a pose with as little as muscle strength as possible. That why it feels much more relaxing than an active form of yoga. You won’t get tired as much and your stretches are becoming deeper and deeper because you are stretching passively instead of actively. After a long day of work it is easier to do 30 minutes of passive stretching than a more challenging vinyasa work-out. of course this will vary from person to person.
Benefits of Yin Yoga are:
- improvement of joint mobility
- stress reduction
- anxiety reduction
- improved circulation
- release of fascia
- improvement of well-being in general
How does it help my well-being?
Many practitioners of Yin Yoga report that they experience significant stress reduction and a general feeling of well-being. How is that possible? I thought about it and from my own experience I would say that Yin Yoga helps me to be still in a pose for a longer time. It allows me to connect with my inner-self and to observe what comes up in my mind. Emotions and thoughts come up to the surface which helps to release them. And to release whatever you’ve suppressed inside of you, will increase your energy levels and help to restore your balance.
I encourage people to try some Yin Yoga at home, just to destress and release. Just lock yourself into a room, tell the family to leave you alone and roll out your mat. You will feel more relaxed even after a short session.
Boring or meditative?!
Some of my clients find Yin Yoga quite boring though, because of the long holds. But funny enough, they do it anyway, because they feel so much better afterwards. Every pose is like a mini-meditation, time to explore and to rest. As a teacher I like to combine the Yin and the Yang. More and more I incorporate a few yin poses in my hatha classes and in my Yin classes I will encourage people to do Yang activities as well during the week. This doesn’t have to be yoga. It can be swimming, our running, our hiking or anything active really. Life is about balance and we need to work on strength, cardio and flexibility to keep our bodies in the best possible shape. But as our daily lives are becoming more Yang and active, a bit of Yin is a nice way to increase our feeling of balance and well-being. And that helps us to enjoy life, feel our best and being able to do what we want to do in life, for ourselves and the people around us.
If you want to try it, there is a weekly Yin class at 9:15 every Monday at the Sportscomplex in Victoria. Also: as from the 9th of May their will be a 75-minute group class at Satori Centre in Xaghra. For more information, check my FB-page for Yellow Rock Yoga or the FB-page of Satori Gozo. You are most welcome!