About seven years ago I tried my first Yin Yoga class. I assumed I would be well prepared after many years of strong Hatha and Vinyasa practice. However I was completely surprised by how challenging the experience was – although we only did a handful of poses, the long holds and periods of quiet contemplation were much harder than I expected. But I felt great afterwards, really great. And so began my commitment to this very intimate practice – to access the deep tissues of the body as well as the feelings, sensations and emotions brought forward by the experience.
Yin Yoga is the perfect practice for everyone – every body type in any condition can benefit from Yin Yoga. With just a few simple props like a blanket, yoga blocks and a bolster (or something improvised with cushions from home), almost every Yin pose can be accessible.
If you are still not convinced, here are three reasons to give Yin Yoga a try:
1. Yin Yoga accesses the deeper tissues such as the connective tissue and fascia. Other yoga practices and sports focus on the more superficial tissues like muscles. Many of the Yin postures focus on areas that encompass a joint (hips, sacrum, shoulder, spine). As one ages, flexibility in the joints decreases and Yin yoga is a wonderful way to maintain that flexibility.
2. Yin Yoga invites mindfulness, on and off the mat. What begins as pure physical enjoyment of being able to fully relax into your deepest edge, transforms into being able to live life in each moment fully present. It takes practice, but little by little you will notice yourself being more grounded and mindful with the events in your life.
3. Taking the time for deep restoration, relaxed breathing and regeneration of the heart, body and mind cannot be underestimated. We all live very hectic and often stressful lives. Sinking deep into your Yin practice gives you the opportunity to experience an extraordinary clearing and unblocking of energy, negative emotions and disruptive mental patterns. We invite in equilibrium, softness and expansion. The effects of which last long after class has ended.
Yin yoga is a profound practice that gives you the time to truly connect with the most important person in your life – You! If you are in Prince George, I offer Yin yoga classes at Chinook Yoga three times a week. For those of you out of town, I encourage you to seek out an experienced teacher and give Yin yoga a try. Another wonderful resource is Bernie Clark‘s outstanding book: The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga.
I’d love to hear your experiences with the practice – feel free to share on my Facebook page.