We need Yin Yoga for more reasons than we even realise, which helps to explain the gentle yoga’s rise to fame in recent years. Our busy schedules, active lives and high-sensory environments (particularly for city-dwellers) can quickly throw us off balance, in ways we may not be fully aware of. When we think of Yin Yoga, we often think of rest, restore and relaxation – leaving the yoga studio with a greater sense of calm, perhaps even falling asleep during class. Yes – Yin is very good at helping us to slow down in the short-term. Often overlooked, however, is its ability to restore our energy and vitality in the long term.
There are many examples, particularly in physical exercise, where the short-term effect is the exact opposite of the long-term effect. Take weight training, for example. You lift weights to gain strength, but immediately following a training session, your muscles will be weaker. Yin is similar in this way. Immediately following a pose designed to release tension in the connective tissue, you may feel increased tightness, which generally subsides after a minute. Immediately following a class, you may feel placid, but this opportunity to rest and restore ultimately helps to refill your Ojas (in Ayurveda, this is your vibrant energy), which will increase your energy and capacity in all aspects of your life.
How does it work? We can experience profound benefits of a Yin practice physically, mentally and energetically.
When we carry excess tension in the body, we are more prone to injury, we move throughout our day with more difficulty or heaviness, and live our days with increased discomfort. This excess tension means that more effort is required for us to complete our tasks can result in a less restful night’s sleep.
Through the long holds in our Yin practice, we move into deeper layers of connective tissue in the body to release these physical blocks, allowing us to move with greater freedom, and with less constraint and discomfort. In addition, blood circulation is improved and we can experience greater joint mobility, which can make even the most simple tasks easier and more enjoyable. We feel generally less weighed-down, and our vitality increases!
We live in stressful times, in stressful environments and have all experienced anxiety, to varying degrees. A slow, mindful Yin practice allows us to be still and to regain balance. As we begin to quiet the mind, the area of the brain that is responsible for unproductive thought slows down and becomes less active. Though it can take time and practice, the absence of unproductive thought allows us to think more clearly leads to increased efficiency, productivity and creativity.
Buddhist Meditation teacher Jack Kornfield describes this process as “training the puppy” – to begin with, your mind will likely wander incessantly, but as you train it to return to a point of focus (such as, your breath), the spinning wheel of thoughts will slow down, and you will be able to think, breathe and live with greater peace and awareness.
A dynamic Vinyasa class helps to stimulate our energy and get it moving, but this can be less effective if there are blocks in our energy channels (also known as “meridians” or “nadis”). The ancient yogis identified thousands and thousands of these individual energy channels, all conduits for the subtle energies that flow through us. When these channels are blocked, we lose our ability to feel, to connect with others, with ourselves and with our environment and these blockages can eventually lead to physical and mental health issues.
Yin yoga helps to remove these blocks, which in addition to allowing the energy to flow freely through us, increases the energetic effectiveness of other forms of exercise and energetic work. Through our Yin practice, toxins are released and our Chi is unblocked, which enables us to use our resources for more positive, fulfilling endeavors and prevents physical and mental ailments.
What are you waiting for? Drop in for a juicy Yin practice at least once or twice a week to refill, rejuvenate and enjoy increased vitality.
Its still not too late to book in for Ashley’s Aromatherapy Yin Workshop ~ Sat Feb 25
About the author: Ashley is an inspired, compassionate and supportive yoga and meditation teacher who loves guiding students to reach the next level of their practice. Ashley is elated to share her experience and expertise with those looking to elevate their overall state of being, deepen their practice and live with a heightened state of awareness, compassion and openness.
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio on Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic poweryoga ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yin Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides prenatal & postnatal yoga classes, and provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing, and school yoga programs. Kula also runs an annual ‘Kula Cruise’ yoga retreat sailing from Bali to Lombok & the Gili Islands. Find out more on our website www.kulayoga.com.au. Or follow us:
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