When I started practicing yoga many moons ago, I don’t think I would have been ready for yin yoga. I was used to jogging, hard gym trainings and lots of late nights so long slow holds for any where between three and ten minutes would not have appealed to me at all. I needed it more than ever then but my mind would have raced and I would not have been able to find my stillness.
How things have changed!! I now love the opportunity to drop into spaciousness with yin. The long holds not only provide time for me to stretch the connective tissues and ligaments and joints in my body but also allows me to fall gently into the embrace of stillness. To notice my breath, to see the resistance in my mind and wrap any disquiet I discover with compassion, to remind myself to feel and to stay.
Initially, in meditation or yin yoga, our mind can bark back at us, demanding that we move position or come out of the pose (and sometimes that is the most appropriate response especially if your nursing an injury or the pose felt risky) but often, by leaning into the resistance and learning to stay despite the challenges…we re-train our system to be able to manage stress in a new way. To find contentment or certainly to unwind even when we are under duress.
The rise and rise of Yin yoga in recent years is no surprise to me. I find that in our modern life, we are bombarded with so much stimulation and stress that our inner world is often aching for a break, for silence, for stillness, and yet for many of us we have forgotten the way home. Yin yoga for me, and for many thousands of others around the world, provides this pathway back to our centre.
What's so good about yin yoga anyway?
It’s a window to stillness. It calms and balances the mindbody
It’s a brilliant precursor to meditation. It allows us to learn how to slow down
It’s a doorway to our inner realms of emotions and mind, providing us a platform to notice how we are on a mental and emotional layer
It’s great for flexibility, a wonderful practice to accompany running or swimming or a dynamic yoga practice
It allows time for deep breath awareness
It’s a chance to re-set the central nervous system
It’s provides effective stress and anxiety reduction
It balances the internal organs and improves chi flow or prana through our Meridian system
It allows greater joint mobility and flexibity
Fascial release and increased circulation
We become more comfortable with silence and happier in our own company
If you have yet to try yin, I invite you to dive in, bring an open heart and mind and begin to let go, to unravel with the spaciousness of longer holds and know that you’re gifting yourself with a practice that is so much more beneficial than simply improving your flexibility, you’re providing a dancing ground for your spirit to rest a while and recharge for the demands of life.