Yin is a big part of what got me through these pandemic times with my sanity intact! I have been practicing Yoga for around 11 years and have enjoyed many different styles mainly Hatha but have also dabbled in Vinyasa and Kundalini. When Yin arrived into my life I knew this was something very different, very special and very needed!!
I did my first Yin class with Aisling Hughes (Rise Spirit Soul) and it was love at first practice.
Its not that way for everyone, I was lucky!! Iv hear so many people say the first time they did Yin they hated it until they loved it!! I have since done further training with Kitty Maguire, totalling over 80 hours of teacher training and countless hours of practice. I will continue to be a teacher and student of this beautiful practice for many years to come.
So what is it? What makes it so different?
Most other forms of Yoga Asana practices offer a lot of movement and strength based postures with specific breathing techniques that are linked to each shape we make.
Yin is much more simple! All of the postures are done from a seated or lying position, no strong standing postures that make you sweat. In fact Yin cools the body, the feminine energy is activated within, brining a cold feeling as apposed to hot and sweaty. Fluffy socks and blankets are a welcome accessory for this reason.
In a 1 hour class you might only be invited to do 3 or 4 postures for the whole duration. Each posture is designed to target the connective tissues and energy lines and centres rather then the muscles. This will promote hydration of the joints, keeping them strong and healthy. And free flowing energy, giving you a strong feeling of vitality.
There are only 3 principles we need to follow in this beautiful form of Yoga.
1) Find your Edge: Although Yin is gentle and slow, it is still possible to attain injury. Because it is a cooling feminine practice doing less actually gives more benefits! When you are in the pose finding a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being no sensation is felt in the posture and 10 being a sensation of major discomfort or pain. You will want to find your edge of ease in the posture at a 5 or 6. This is where you will feel some sensation in the posture usually a pulling or stretching feeling, but still some ease.
2) Stillness: This is the reason a lot of people feel resistant to this form of yoga. Stillness is an unusual request in this modern world we live in. So often we are moving about the pace getting things done, being productive, occupying our minds with all sorts of activities. Often when we have to que or wait on a bus, we become fidgety and quite impatience. Here the challenge is to resist the urge to move about and fidget. It is in this stillness that our minds can become very agitated, however the lessons that can be learned in this stillness are life changing.
3) Time: You will usually only be offered 3 or 4 postures in a Yin Yoga class this is because, you will hold each posture for around 5 minutes each or more. Once you can acceo0iopt the stillness and learn to bring a sense of ease into your body & mind, 5 minuets will feel like 30 seconds
I have found Yin yoga to be powerful in times of stress. It is a super way of relaxing the nervous system, quietening the mind and opening the energy channels bringing a huge sense of calm, peace and wellness to your whole being.
My approach to teaching is to allow for emotional and energetic unbalances, offering however Yin has huge physical benefits and is an amazing complimentary practice to other forms of yoga and high intensity sports & exercise. This practice is most defiantly for you if you have a "yang" lifestyle, fast paced, disciplined, motivated, burnt out or if you simply need a bit of TLC.
Check out my video below which is a little snippet of an online class I did. In this video I demonstrate butterfly pose. This pose is a master pose which means it targets all the meridian lines in the body. It is a super pose for anyone with a tight back, hips, inner thighs, neck or shoulders, menstrual cramps, digestive issues, and overall helps you to unwind & de-stress. Try holding this posture for 3 or 4 minutes in stillness and see how you feel. Make sure to support yourself with cushions or blocks if needed. People with sciatica should not practice this posture.