Actualizado: 17 abr 2020
Namaste dear friends,
Today I woke up wanting to share a little bit about what Yin Yoga is in order to give an idea about the origin, benefits and what to consider while practicing.
For me, personally it is a very powerful practice, which requires patience and works towards this patience too.
Nowadays, we are used to be always in a fast rhythm of life, working hard, getting quick results, working out fast (which I am going to talk about in another post), thinking fast… and this outside world rhythm has consequences in our inside world rhythm (body, muscles, tissues, joints, mind and thoughts). It creates tension and pressure.
In YIN yoga, basically what we want is to release this tension.
Where does Yin Yoga come from?
Yin Yoga comes from the traditional Chinese philosophy of the Yin and the Yang and the Taoist concepts. Two opposite energies which are constantly dancing to get the balance. Isn’t it what we do in our lives too? The sum of the yin and yang forms the whole, so, neither Yin or Yang are absolute, they complement and need each other.
The Yang energy is the one related to the Sun, the masculine, dynamic, hot and more external. We work with yang energy when we practice dynamic yoga like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, or even Hatha. The kind of practices that are related to endurance, strength, muscles and stamina.
On the other hand, what we are going to talk more about today, the Yin energy.
This Yin energy is the opposite. Related to the moon, the feminine, more passive, cooling, internal and subtle. So, a practice that looks for stillness, for slow movements, for longer time in each pose… and this, considering our rhythm nowadays, can be challenging, for the body and for the mind.
What to consider when practicing Yin Yoga?
There are a few things to keep in mind during the practice that are going to help us to improve the benefits.
In yin yoga one of the important tools to use is the time. We stay between 3 to 5 minutes in each asana permitting the body to go deeper surrendering to the pose.
As I said before, staying that long in the pose can be quite challenging for the mind, as we are not used to stay still in a pose for so long. We are more used to “visit” the poses or asanas in the common practices like vinyasa or ashtanga.
Combining the time and the weight of our body, without any extra pressure or weight we can achieve or feel what we need to feel in each pose.
Once we find our asana, where we are going to stay for these 3 or 5 minutes, only with the gravity or heaviness of our body and time, it is enough to stretch, grow, make space and improve flexibility (which, even if it looks like, is not the main aim in this practice).
Oh, powerful tool in any kind of yoga and in life!
The breath is going to be our best friend during the yin practice, as a connection or bridge between mind and body, with slow and long breaths, trying to extend the exhales we intend to relax the mind and as a consequence, the muscles, and any tension in the body to slowly go deeper into the connective tissues like ligaments, tendons and fascia.
Every time you exhale, let go, surrender, you will feel it in your body.
In yin yoga we try to relax the body in different asanas. In order to relax as much as possible and getting the most of the benefits in each pose, we are going to use as many props as we need.
Here we have to consider that everybody is different and different props adjustments are going to be necessary.
So we are going to enter the asana, feel the stretch or challenge and then relax the rest of the body on the props. (I am going to make some video or photos about the yin practice showing props variations)
5.- 80% Rule
Important point to consider during the practice.
We are used to try to go to the maximum and press and push and stretch…ahhhh! during practices like Ashtanga, Vinyasa or even Hatha. Yang practices.
For the yin practice we work from another point of view. We accept, we surrender and let the time and our body weight do the work for us. So, when we go into the pose, we shall feel challenge or stretch (never pain, please) and only go to the 80% of our capacity in the asana. Remember we are going to stay longer and with the time our weight gets heavier, and by relaxing the body and the mind probably, our body is going to go further or get comfortable in that pose. Then, maybe we can try to go a little bit deeper.
It is better and more effective to go slowly into the pose than going to the maximum at the beginning and after a while going back. This may show that we are not relaxed, that we are struggling with our mind, and not getting to relax the muscles.
Keep in mind, in yin yoga we want to soften the muscles, forget about them and focus on the connective tissues. With this, we are promoting growth, clearing energetical blockages and improving circulation.