Yin Mistakes To Avoid
As with most practices, yoga or otherwise, people often push themselves to be “good” at Yin â thinking that the deeper you go into a pose, the better.
However, ‘as long as we can feel sensation, we don’t need to force our bodies anywhere theyâre not ready to go’, says de Menthon. ‘Yin is a slow and steady process towards finding space in your body and mind.’
Just because the classes are slow, they’re not easy and that can come as a surprise. You need to be ready to breathe through the postures, rather than tensing up.
‘Holding your breath and stressing out your body wonât help in yin, Iâm afraid’, says de Menthon. ‘Part of the great learning in the practice is that of letting go, so keeping the breath fluid and the mind calm is key! Try not to get too caught up in the idea that sensation is âbadâ, rather get a bit curious and start exploring what you feel.’
How Does Yin Yoga Work On An Emotional And Mental Level
While Yin Yoga is amazing for the physical body, many of its greatest benefits stem from its remarkable effects on the mind and emotions. The practice allows the body to drop down into the parasympathetic nervous system, offering a grounding, calming and revitalising practice, with profound energetic and emotional effects.
While holding the Yin poses, you are asked to observe the breath and use this as a way to focus on the present moment, allowing thoughts and feelings to arise but to let them go rather than attach to them. Here, the consistent chatter of the mind can fade away, opening a space to simply be. To practice Yin is to relinquish control, which is a novel and therapeutic concept in our modern-day lives. This in and of itself is one of the hardest parts of Yin Yoga for many people- to stop, slow down and simply be with themselves without distraction. The long periods of time in uncomfortable positions asks you to learn to accept what is in that given moment. The lessons of Yin are gentle, and yet, profound all at once.
Is Yin Yoga Good For Beginners
Yes! Yin yoga is great for beginners. Learning a slower type of yoga will allow you to become full acquainted with the poses. Youll learn about optional additions to the poses and youll be more familiar with adjustments to the pose. Yin yoga will allow you to pay more attention to your breaths, your mind and your movement.
Yin yoga will also allow you to find your edge. Youll be more be more in tune with your body and will be more able to notice when you need to back off of a pose or when you still have room for more. Through guidance from your teacher, youll recognize how a pose is supposed to feel, what sensations you should be experiencing. Theyll teach you the warning signs and what to look out for and what to do if a pose is too intense or painful.
Your teacher will also teach you alternate yoga poses. They give you instructions on how to adjust your pose so that it is easier on your body or harder, if you need something more difficult. The teacher will also show you that if you need to take a rest, childs pose is always available to you. That is true in any yoga class, whether it is Yin or not.
Just remember that in Hatha or a faster or more complicated yoga, like Jivamukti or Ashtanga, you wont be holding poses nearly as long as you do in Yin.
What should I expect in a Yin yoga class?
Here what to expect from a Yin yoga class:
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The Ideal Sequence Of Asana For Yin Yoga
Yin yoga is best done with props so, if you have a block, make sure you place it within easy reach of your mat.
If you dont have any blocks, you may use a pillow or a folded blanket. No need to worry well indicate when you might want to use it!
Seat yourself on your mat, tailor-style. If this position is not yet comfortable for you, you might sit on your block, pillow or blanket to take the stress off your hip joints.
The session starts with a meditation of the breath: focus on breathing in and out. If you are new to yin yoga, you may find that counting your breaths will help focus your attention on them.
After 1-3 minutes of focused breathing, move into the butterfly pose: the soles of your feet together, legs relaxed no pressure on your hips. Lean forward, bringing your head as close to your ankles as possible.
If needed, you may place your yoga block on your ankles to rest your head on it. If you are just beginning yoga, only hold this pose for one minute less if you need to ease out of it.
Next is the half-shoelace pose.
Extend your right leg in front of you bring your left leg over it, folding your calf back so that your foot points toward your hip. Lean forward as far as possible , using your block to rest your forehead on if needed.
Hold the pose for only one minute, and then switch legs: your left leg is now extended and your right overlaps it, with your right foot pointed back. Again, lean forward, holding for only one minute.
When To Practice Yin:
- Practice in the morning is more beneficial to stretch connective tissues.
- Practice in the evening is more beneficial to tuning into the Parasympathetic nervous system to close a day.
- Practice more for developing mindfulness to those who have hypermobility of the joints to avoid overstretching. Awareness for hypermobile people is about not going to the edgementioned above but stopping before that point.
- Practice more for healthy joints by gentle long-held stretches.
- Practice promoting grounding, for example, after a period of change or transition.
- Practice especially in spring and summer when the weather is more Yang.
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Difference Between Yin Yoga & Hatha Yoga
You Won’t Get As Warm So Wear More Layers
Typically people wear more clothes than in faster classes â opting to layer long sleeve and short sleeve layers. This is due to the still nature of the practice, as staying in poses for extended periods of time will cause your body temperature to drop. Socks, long leggings and a jumper are advisable.
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Other Weekly Yoga Class Offerings
Yin Yoga Yin yoga is a very different type of yoga class than most of us are typically familiar with. Instead of stretching and stimulating the muscles, Yin yoga focuses on stimulating the connective tissues and joints, improving the flow of Chi or Prana through these areas. This is accomplished through passive holding of specific postures for 3-5 minutes, using the breath to ease the body further into the pose. Dont let the time intimidate you! The Yin postures are not difficult to hold for these periods of time and are frequently supported by props to allow you to release and relax. Yin yoga is very meditative and can be a perfect complement to a more Yang or active yoga practice. A great class for all levels of practitioners! For an excellent article about all the benefits of Yin Yoga, go HERE.
Flow & Restore – Youre tired and stressed, but youve also been sedentary for most of the day, so you know you need to move your body. Only problem is, you dont have a lot of energy. Youve chosen the right class! This class features a gentle vinyasa flow with plenty of modifications offered to accommodate your bodys needs, balancing strength and flexibility. It concludes with some restorative yoga postures to give the body the rest and recharge it needs, physically and mentally, so you can finish the work week with clarity, focus and ease. A great class for all levels of experience.
What Parts Of The Body Does Yin Focus On
Yin is mainly centred on the bottom half of the body, with variations of supine and seated poses. As a fairly static style of yoga, it’s intended to be practised alongside more dynamic practices such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Hatha.
‘Yin yoga is a still and meditative practice that moves us deeply into body and breath awareness’, explains de Menthon.
‘By bringing the physical body into specific poses, in stillness and for a prolonged time, we are able to create a significant autonomic shift not otherwise possible in our busy modern lives. We move out of that frustrating place of being both tired and wired, and start to enter the space of restoration and rejuvenation.’
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How To Practice Yin Yoga
One of the best things about this style of yoga is that it is available for you to practice any time and any place.
All you need is a mat and some time to spare!
When practicing yin yoga, the goal is to make sure that you stay in each posture for a longer duration than you would in other types of traditional yoga classes .
The yoga sequence is going to be a quiet practice consisting of many seated and reclined poses such as butterfly pose, frog pose, twisted dragon, and seated forward folds.
Many of these poses are great for aspiring yogis who have tight hips or want to release tension in the lower spine.
Once you are settled into each pose, do you best to be still. Let yourself relax into the pose as much as possible.
You will want to feel a deep sensation of comfortable discomfort but not pain.
As always, this yoga practice calls for you to stay with your breath.
Sometimes holding poses for an extended amount of time can be uncomfortable but focusing on our breath teaches us that we are okay even in moments of discomfort.
In yin yoga, you will want to breathe from your diaphragm, meaning you should be able to feel an expansion in your ribs and belly with every breath.
Yin yoga is the perfect yoga style to use some support from a yoga block.
Blocks can be placed under your knees, under your seat, or under your lower spine to allow you to relax into the postures with ease.
What Is The Difference Between Yin Yoga And Other Styles Of Yoga
The main difference is that yin yoga is very passive with poses being held for longer periods of time.
Another important difference is that in yin yoga your muscles need to be relaxed as opposed to engaged, this is so you can work into the deeper layers of the body and move closer to the bone, an area often missed in a yang yoga practice.
With a yang practice there is much emphasis on building heat and strength in the body whereas this is not the case in yin. Yin is practiced cold with no warm up and with more of a focus on flexibility and lubrication.
Both yin and yang styles should be practiced to invite balance into your yoga regime.
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How To: Yin Yoga
This is part of Nourishs Yoga Practise Guide Library. We were inspired to make these guides to support your own yoga practise and as a resource for teachers who want to make their classes more accessible. We were also pretty tired of all the generic teaching instructions and guides floating around the internet that arent inclusive, accessible or adaptable in any way.
If you would like more guidance on making this practice accessible, we have missed something, or you have any questions drop us a comment we love hearing from you and really do mean it when we say yoga is for everybody!
The introductory section to this guide is a little longer than some of our others, so if you are looking for the practical sections on teaching and practising then now is a good time to skip ahead!
How Do You Sequence A Yin Yoga Class
Different Yin yoga classes may have different themes. You may see a hip-opening Yin class on your favorite yoga studios website. Or perhaps you may notice a Yin yoga class for better sleep. And, stress-busting Yin yoga classes are always popular. A hip opening Yin yoga class will have poses such as Butterfly, which will work extensively on your hips. You will also have a counterpose that will bring both legs together after stretching your hips in Butterfly. Childs pose is a good counterpose.
A restorative Yin yoga class will employ props and cushions and feature seated forward folds, light backbends and gentle twists. Youre trying to be kind to your body in yoga, and a class like this will give comfort while restoring movement.
A Yin yoga class to reduce stress will include forward folks to work your connective tissues. Yoga teachers believe that when you release stress in your muscles, youll release stress in your mind, and you feel so much better afterward. A stress-reducing Yin yoga class could have Butterfly pose, Childs pose, Melting Heart pose which is in between Childs pose and being on your hands and knees, Prone Shoulder Stretch, which is a twist, and then another pose you can do while lying down, Supine Bound Angle pose, which is like Butterfly except that youre lying on your back.
There are so many different sequences Im sure you will be able to find a class or online instruction for one that will help you with whatever issue you may be going through.
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The Three Principle Tenants Of Yin Yoga Are:
- Find your comfortable edge.
- Find stillness.
- Hold for time.
Your comfortable edge means a point where you feel sensation, but not pain. If you ever feel pain, ease out of the pose right away.
Once at your comfortable edge, do your best to find stillness. Follow your breath and try not to fidget! If your body invites you to move deeper, then do so, but there is no forcing yourself into a posture in yin yoga.
Finally, you hold for time. In this class holds are 1-3 minutes. In general, more advanced yin classes are characterized by longer holds, not more difficult or more advanced asana.
Yin yoga encourages the use of props. You may want a block for this beginner yin yoga sequence. You may also want a blanket/towel to sit on during the opening mediation and a pillow or bolster for some of the poses. I almost always begin a pose with a block and then move it if/when my body invites me to go deeper.
Yin Yoga: Be Part Of The Yin Crowd
Forget fast-paced ashtanga or sweaty Bikram slow, simple yin yoga is the class to choose if you want to calm the mind and stretch the body. Just make sure you wear some warm clothes
The benefits attributed to yoga increased flexibility and strength, more energy and better posture should be enough to get anyone on the mat, especially now there is a plethora of classes to choose from if you want to work on your core, break a sweat or even learn handstands. But what is on offer for those who just want to relax, or runners and amateur athletes who want the benefits of stretching without exhausting themselves for future training sessions?
Yin yoga can complement an already active life or help those who feel distracted by mind chatter. Constantly emailing, texting and posting social media updates has led, for some, to mental overload and a feeling that we are not good enough or achieving enough. Yin yoga can provide an antidote to this.
Ten years ago, there was but one regular yin yoga class in London. Now there are about 50, and classes are springing up around the country as people feel the need to slow down and just be.
The term yin yoga comes from the Taoist tradition. Yang relates to movement, often repetitive movement, creating heat in the body. Yin is about finding stillness and cooling the body. And, the theory goes, we need both to come into balance to stay in optimum condition.
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Wide Legged Straddle/ Dragonfly
Modifications: Sit on a blanket or block if you have tight hamstrings. Place a bolster in the between your legs and allow your upper body to lay over the bolster.
Yin Yoga Vs Other Styles
Many of the poses in a yin class look similar to those of any other practice. Pigeon Pose is called Swan Pose in yin. Pigeon is a yang pose where we engage the muscles, flex the feet, and stretch the muscles. In yin, you relax the muscles and the intention goes to the joints and deep tissues surrounding them. Props are welcomed with yin classes to help relax the muscles and be easy on the joints.
Although this may sound similar to restorative, the intent and purpose are different, as well as the audience it is directed towards. Restorative is aimed to those who are recovering from injuries or elderly, while Yin is focused as a recovery to those who are healthy and active, a balance to their everyday practice.
Yin yoga is a fairly new practice in the yoga world, but it perfectly combines two eastern traditions with a new age approach. Using qi and yoga, its a double doozy on clearing out any stuck energy within the body. Try out a class and feel the difference between a typical yang class and a yin yoga class. Have you tried a yin class before? What did you think? Did you have any breakthroughs? Id love to hear your experiences!
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