Yin Yoga is a magical practice that can benefit you in many ways! Yin differs from a Yang or flow practice because with Yin we slow way down. This doesn't mean Yin Yoga is easy. This misconception is common, but in truth Yin can be very challenging for those new to meditation or this type of practice. Poses are held for longer periods of time and you often never leave the floor. The goal of Yin Yoga is not to be uncomfortable or force a stretch. Instead, you should follow these steps to find your sweet spot in Yin Yoga.
1. Breathe and relax tension in the body
2. Bring awareness to the mind and body in each pose
3. Find stillness and quiet in each pose
4. Find your edge (in each pose move into it slowly, backing away from that area of just too much stretch)
5. Hold poses for longer periods of time (this means you may not go as deep as you normally would so that you remain comfortable)
6. Use supportive equipment if you need it to make each pose comfortable for you
If Yin Yoga feels difficult or uncomfortable because your mind is racing or you want to fidget, all that means is that you need more Yin Yoga in your life. Just like we have to practice to build strength in our flow practice, we have to practice to find quiet in our Yin practice. As you gain more experience you may start to hold poses for even longer.
Yin Yoga is wonderful to practice in the morning before warming up. This allows you to really work on the connective tissue and the physical benefits of Yin. Keep in mind that you want to back away from your edge, which might look very different in the morning. Protect your joints and listen to your body.
My favorite part of Yin Yoga is that it helps you to gain better awareness of your body. This then allows you to practice safer in all types of yoga classes that you choose. Often this awareness carries over into your daily life allowing for more clarity with decisions and less stress and anxiety.
Ending your Yin Yoga practice with a long meditation in a restful pose will help release even more stress and can even help you sleep better at night. Give it a try and subscribe to allaboutthatbreath.com below to stay up to date and learn more about ways to decrease anxiety and find balance.