The Yin Yoga movement has gained momentum and widespread popularity in recent years, thanks to teachers who have championed Yin alongside more dynamic yoga styles. With reports of burnout, exhaustion, and stress on the rise, a yoga practice that could help ground you, calm your nervous system, and stretch out tight muscle tissue might just be the ticket to a happier life.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin is a slow-paced style of Yoga, where postures are held for between three and five minutes. A modern interpretation of ancient Yoga practices, Yin was pioneered in 1980s California and typically features poses held for anywhere between three and twenty minutes each.
To help you sink into the poses, your body is supported with props to allow you to relax, breathe into the stretch and allow gravity to do its thang. The aim is to bring about mental, physical, and as it stimulates our ‘Nadis’. Similar to meridians in Chinese medicine, Nadis are considered to be pathways in the body that carry energy, water, air, blood, and bodily fluids around. You might also hear them referred to as ‘energy lines’.
The Benefits of Yin Yoga
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Helps to promote mindfulness
- Improves joint mobility
- Improves flexibility
- Elongates and stretches tight muscles
- Can promote feelings of deep calm
Yin Yoga is an incredible amalgamation of yoga postures and Chinese medical theory of energy channels (meridians) with benefits that stem from the stimulation of certain energetic pathways that run through our bodies. Due to the intensity of our modern lives, we tend to disrupt the fluidity of our energy which, in Chinese medicine, is explained as “stagnant” energy or “depleted” energy.
This depletion can manifest in many ways from insomnia, lethargy, exhaustion, racing thoughts, body pain, and so on. So, when we rebalance our energy by targeting these channels, we start to bring much more equilibrium into our daily lives.
It’s also a surprisingly meditative practice that teaches you to overcome discomfort through breath and positive thinking, reducing stress, and anxiety.
As well as the necessary breathwork that is involved in keeping intense postures for a considerable length of time, Yin greatly improves flexibility and joint mobility that will see your progress in all areas of your yoga practices. This makes it hugely beneficial alongside cycling, running, and other exercises that shorten the muscles.
How To Get Started
Always start slow and listen to your body. For first-timers, we suggest checking out some of these YouTube channels to learn more about the practice: