Yin yoga is a style that works with your connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage and fascia. This style works deeply to heal joints and to increase your flexibility through gentle, slow and controlled traction. Yin yoga tries to focus on slowly stretching out the connective tissues around your joints which at the same time will help strengthen them. Yoga teacher training is using this style for helping athletes avoid injury.
Yin Yoga poses also focus on the connecting tissues but they also emphasize the meridians that are in the lower body such as the liver, kidney, gall bladder, spleen, urinary bladder, and stomach meridians to support a balance within our bodies and their energy. Yoga certification will teach you exactly which poses play a role with what areas in your body.
Yin yoga is a style that is practiced slowly and quietly while keeping a calm breath and not a fast powerful practice. You work with cool muscles which allow the emphasis to move from the center of the muscles to the yin tissues around your joints. Yoga teacher training will guide you through a strong practiced routine and you will be able to apply that in private later.
How to practice Yin Yoga
There are three main ideals for this style of yoga:
- Find your edge
- Yin Yoga attempts to find your edge. Making you aware of your depth in postures so that you know how far to push yourself, not too far, not too little. When you get into a posture with Yin Yoga start out from your edge but just where you are beginning to feel the edge. Slow it down and give your body time to relax and adjust to it, then allow yourself to slowly move closer to your edge. This point is different for each of us since each of our bodies are different. Your yoga teacher will tell you to stay aware of your posture and reaching your edge so that you do not push too hard and cause injury.
- Slow and sustained pressure is the most important part of Yin Yoga. If you practice too fast, or too far your body will react and contract your muscle fibers. When this happens during your stretch you will no longer be able to reach your connective tissue. Doing it wrong can also cause excessive stretching and you may tear or strain your muscles making you feel sore the next day. Yin yoga should NEVER leave you feeling sore. You should always feel your stretch but you should never feel any pain.
- To have an effective yoga teaching experience you must know that Yin Yoga has a gentle and steady stretch. While practicing there is no bouncing in your stretches as this can cause injury to your muscles and connective tissues. We move into the posture, find our edge and remain there. At this point our awareness brings us to the stillness of our mind as well as our body. If you are deep into your posture and start to fidget or your mind wanders then you will be missing out on the full benefit. Although, you will find that there are certain times that you must move or adjust. You may find that you are holding at your edge too long or have moved past it; in that case you need to ease off and adjust your pose.
- Yin tissues need a good amount of time in a gentle stretch to get an effected stretch and not cause injury. Yin Yoga postures are typically held for 3-5 minutes. As you begin practicing this style of yoga you may find that it is easier to hold some postures more than others. Once your yoga teaching has gotten stronger and you are more comfortable with the style and practice you may see that you can hold one pose for up to twenty minutes. This allows you to build your flexibility more in those moments than stretching for shorter time periods over more days. You can see quick changes.
- Remember to always move out of your Yin Postures as slowly as you moved into them. You can still cause harm to the yin tissues if you do not release the pose as easily as you started.
Yin Yoga is best when your body and muscles are still cool. During the morning house before you start your day are the best times. You can also practice at the end of the day when you are ready to relax and settle down. This practice will help bring calmness to your mind and relax your nervous system for better resting.
Yin Yoga and its stillness also is seen with the type of breathing you will use through your yoga practice. Yoga teacher training explains that even your breath can be used to focus your awareness. You can also move your breathing and awareness to certain areas in the body that need the energy and where you are feeling the stretch. You can become the master of your breath and as you release your breath you can release the tension in your muscles.