I remember the first time I went to a yin yoga class; it was a friend’s class back in London around 8 months ago. During the class, I felt uncomfortable, agitated and impatient – I didn’t really understand why I was spending so much time in certain poses (yin is just stretching, right?!).
I then went back to doing my usual Vinyasa flow classes. Getting my heart rate up and working up a sweat is the yoga I knew and loved. But little did I know that I would stumble into the world of yin again and love it – so much so that I do a short yin practice every day.
Yin yoga helps you slow down. We live in a very distracted world and sometimes we need to take a step back and just be in the moment. Yin yoga is about finding stillness and becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable – a pose can become quite challenging holding it for a long period of time!
Holding certain yoga poses enables our fascia and connective tissue to become active as well as our yang tissue – our muscles. Sitting in these poses and focusing on the breath helps us to become more mindful of our internal chatter and helps us release any tension that has been build up, which gets stored in our body without us even realising.
You will hear a lot of yoga teachers talk about how we hold a lot of emotion in our hips (the chest for men), yin allows a release not just on a physical level, but also on an emotional level. If you’ve ever experienced heightened emotions during or after a yin class (mainly crying for me!), that’s completely normal – it’s just your body letting go of the emotion and energy that is no longer needed, which in turn makes you feel restored.
Life is all about balance – the yin and the yang. I will always practice Vinyasa flow and power yoga, but now I will find the time to yin and chill. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go and see how you feel.