Yin Yoga: Benefits and How It Helps Fight Anxiety

Eternally busy mind? You’ll want to take a look at Yin.

Through Sukriti wahi

If you’ve ever read an article on how to lower your stress levels, you’ve probably come across the platitude: do yoga.

As simplistic as it sounds, there’s a reason there are so many yoga teachers on YouTube and millions more looking for them: it really works. And while many of us are familiar with styles like Hatha and Vinyasa, there is one type of yoga that’s just as great (if not better) for relieving anxiety: Yin yoga.

The best part? You can do just about anything lying down. With a blanket. Sold.

And since he rarely receives the same level of airtime as his more well-known counterparts, we consulted with Sydney-based yoga instructor Meg Harris to learn everything there is to know about Yin Yoga, from this point on. that’s why it deserves a place in your very busy (read: stressed out) life.
Forget about descending dogs and fast flows, Yin yoga is a slow, passive style of yoga, practiced primarily on the floor in sitting or lying postures.

“In Yin, we hold an asana, or pose, for between one and 20 minutes,” Harris said. SHE.

“We go into the pose at a point where we feel a lot of resistance – our ‘edge’ – and stay there, calmly holding the pose and staying still for the duration. Yin yoga may seem easy, but holding the poses for such a long time is actually difficult and sometimes uncomfortable, both physically and mentally. “

Yin yoga also uses props more frequently – and slightly differently – than other forms of yoga, especially restorative yoga, with which it is often confused. While other forms of yoga use props like blocks, bolsters, blankets, and pillows to help eliminate discomfort, in Yin props are actually used to to bring an appropriate degree of stress for the body, so that you can soften towards your edge and the connective tissues in your body can benefit from the pose.

What is the philosophy behind the “Yin” part of Yin Yoga?

According to the ancient Chinese or Taoist philosophy, which forms the roots of the “Yin” part of Yin yoga, everything is made up of the equal and opposite forces of Yin and Yang.

“Yin is ‘feminine’, soft and passive and Yang is ‘masculine’, strong and active. A balance of yin and yang is necessary for harmony and optimal health. As the name suggests, Yin yoga is a more refreshing and passive practice yoga, while more active and warm yoga traditions such as Hatha and Vinyasa are yang, ”explained Harris.

And while the terminology of “feminine” and “masculine” may sound stereotypical and heteronormative, it is important to remember that we all have a mixture of Yin and Yang energies, and none are “better.” that the other.

What are the health benefits of Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga offers a number of the same general benefits as other styles of yoga, but it’s especially great for releasing stress from the connective tissues of the body and activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

“While all styles of yoga are effective in improving both physiological and psychological health, more dynamic styles of yoga focus on strengthening and stretching the muscles of the body, which are soft, elastic and respond well to stress. repetitive movements, while Yin yoga is focused on the joints and more plastic connective tissues, ”says Harris.

“The gentle traction and compression held over a long period of time helps flush out toxins and lubricate the joints while releasing tension in ligaments, fascia, and tendons.”

It is also particularly useful for tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system (think: “rest and digestion” versus “fight or flight”), which acts as a “brake” under stress and allows balanced energy throughout the body.

“Staying in the poses for a long time forces us to be present, to breathe, to be with our thoughts and any physical discomfort as they arise, and ultimately to calm the mental chatter. The nervous system is regulated as the response ‘fight’ or leak “is relaxed,” Harris added.

“From an energetic point of view, Yin also works to stimulate the flow of energy through the meridians, or energy channels, to create balance in the body. For example, a yin teacher can organize a class. to balance the lines of the stomach and spleen. “

How are Yin Yoga postures different from other forms of yoga?

Throw out all the pear tree visions and pretzel poses (which, for your information, are not the point of yoga, as Instagram suggests). In Yin yoga, you will spend a lot less time standing and a lot more time lying down.

“Yin poses are almost exclusively done sitting or lying down, so there are far fewer poses than other yoga traditions. These floor poses look the same in Yin as in other styles of yoga, but they are deliberately given different names because their intentions are different, “said Harris SHE

“While the same pose can be done strongly in a Hatha or Vinyasa class, in order to activate and warm the muscles, in Yin we want to soften up in the pose and work the deeper tissues and joints. ‘yang’ yoga we move smoothly or repetitively between asanas (poses), whereas in Yin we keep them still for a longer time before moving on to the next long duration pose. “

Why choose Yin Yoga over other types of yoga?

On the verge of burnout? Emptied of a quarter-life crisis? Fill your already busy days with high intensity workouts and very little rest AKA Big Yang Energy? It might be worth swapping out a workout or two for a relaxing Yin yoga session.

“If you are someone who is always on the move, has a busy mind, or generally enjoys more vigorous workouts, incorporating a regular Yin yoga class into your routine is a great way to find balance. “An alternative to more“ yang ”styles of yoga, it’s the perfect complement,” said Harris.

Main image via @yogi_mami_ash

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