I’ll admit it—I like to flow in an asana practice. If I hold a pose for long, I start to get antsy. So when I learned about Yin Yoga, I was sure it was a style that isn’t for me. Then I tried it and, more importantly, learned about its benefits. Turns out there’s a lot to love about this style of practice.
What is Yin Yoga?
In Yin Yoga, poses are help for much longer periods of time than usual—sometimes several minutes. The focus of the asanas is also different. Instead of focusing on muscles, in a Yin Yoga practice, the focus is on bones, ligaments, and joints. It’s a style of yoga especially suited to athletes for this reason.
Another thing that sets Yin Yoga apart from other styles is how effective is for cultivating stillness. Yin Yoga poses are deeper than those of other yoga styles. When you hold a deep pose for a long time, you need to be able to focus.
If getting focused or grounded is a challenge for you, Yin Yoga will probably not be your first choice. But it’s probably a good choice; it may help you develop something you need: the ability to be in the present moment.
Yin Yoga for Stress Relief
Have you ever been overwhelmed with tasks and wished you could just stop and sit down? Why not stop and do a yoga pose—specifically a Yin Yoga pose? As you may know, yin and yang are very different energies. Yang is power, movement, activity and busyness. These are all great qualities until they become overwhelming.
Yin is stillness, calm, and clarity. When you slow down and stay in a pose, your body responds. Levels of the fight or flight hormone cortisol drop. This is important because when you’re under stress and cortisol skyrockets, other processes in your body shut down.
Yin Yoga will not only calm your body, but it will also still your mind and allow you observe. You’ll become more in touch with what’s happening inside and around you, and this will make it easier to adjust your behavior so you won’t continue to be overwhelmed.
To put it in scientific medical terms, Yin Yoga sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity and increases parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) activity. The SNS is the “fight or flight” system, while the PNS is responsible for rest and rejuvenation.
If you’re a driven person who has difficulty slowing down, Yin Yoga may be for you! Getting in tune with your body, and giving it the rest and care it deserves will pay off in the long run. You’ll be healthier and even more productive when you’re focused and grounded as well. If you’re not convinced that slowing down will enable you to do more, give it a try and see what happens. You may be surprised what a little grounding and balancing can do for your overall well-being.