As you probably already know, there are so many different styles of yoga, all with their own rich history in culture. We’ve all probably heard of yin and yang, when pertaining to equal forces, good and evil. That’s not actually true, though. Yin and yang forces cannot exist without the other, like opposite forces, but also complementary to one another. Like the moon and the tides. When it comes to yoga, it is much the same.
Yin yoga is the practice of yoga that targets the deep connective tissues, like our ligaments, joints, and bones. This practice of yoga is slow and meditation driven, focusing mainly on our inner selves. Because yin yoga consists of long held stretches, the muscles that aren't usually used in traditional yoga, you get a new experience practicing yin yoga.
Yin yoga is based on the ancient Chinese philosophies that believe that there are pathways of energy, Qi, that exist within all of us, and through the practice of traditional yoga and meditation we can unblock them and allow the energy to flow freely through us.
During Yin Yoga, poses are held for anywhere from one, five, or even twenty minutes. Practicing Yin yoga can help to lengthen your connective tissues, which can be done by holding poses for longer periods of time until the body becomes accustomed to it, Increasing flexibility, boosting circulation, and reducing stress levels.
Yin yoga poses:
- Butterfly pose: sitting with the soles of your feet together, and fold yourself forward, rounding your spine and allowing your head to drop lightly into your feet.
- Child’s Pose; sitting on your knees and laying your arms onto your sides while you lower your upper body over your legs, resting your head onto the floor.
- Caterpillar: With your legs lying straight in front of you, and place a pillow or mat onto your lap before slowly going to rest your head onto the cushion.
- Corpse Pose: Lay on your back with your arms and legs splayed around you. Release any muscle tension and focus on your breathing as you hold this pose for ten minutes.
- Bananasana: Lye on your back with your knees bent. Bring your feet to the floor and shift your hips to the right. Straighten your legs by walking your feet toward the left corner of your mat and crossing your right foot over your left. Keep your left hip down and shift your upper body to the left, creating an almost banana shape. Bring your arms over your head, bending your elbows and lightly clasping your wrists.