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Despite the strong vinyasa yoga style prevalent in the western world, yoga is as much about finding a release as it is about building strength.

“The purpose of Yoga is to facilitate the profound inner relaxation that accompanies fearlessness. The release from fear is what finally precipitates the full flowering of love.” ~ Erich Schiffmann

Now more than ever we need to find that ability to release through our practice, not just physical tension but emotional build up in the body & mind.

The key to yoga is to find that balance between our Yin and Yang – in a predominantly Yang society it’s difficult at times to embrace a Yin approach to life. When faced with challenging circumstances, we also resist that ability to ‘release’ allowing ourselves to remain stuck in a state of ‘fight or flight’.

Stepping back, letting go, taking a pause or moment to breathe are not concepts that come easily to us. In fact, they are often associated with weakness and often accompanied by fear. We hold our cards close to our chest, afraid of seeming vulnerable or not capable, leaving us living a life of force and filled with pressure & expectation.

A certain amount of Yang in life is necessary and healthy, but unfortunately a failure to balance this out with sufficient Yin moments means we begin operating at a level that is simply not sustainable. As a result we hold onto unnecessary physical and emotional tension that in the end can cause us pain, stress and disease.

Allowing ‘release’ in our lives is not a sign of weakness, on the contrary it is a sign of great strength and courage. To appear vulnerable, to open ourselves up to receive love and self-care makes us stronger and more connected in body, mind & soul.

“Yoga is not about self-improvement, it’s about self-acceptance.” ~ Gurmukh Kaur

So how do we embrace this idea of ‘release’?

On a physical level, releasing tension from our muscles allows us to breathe and move easier. Yin yoga is perfect for releasing tension in the musculature of the body, working deep into our connective tissue or fascia. Not only is this good for our muscles and joints, but it helps to release toxins and blocked energy in the body. Working with the meridian or energy channels allows an easier flow of prana or life force, and improves the function of our organs and bodily functions.

“The fascia forms the largest system in the body as it is the system that touches all the other systems.” ~ James L. Oschman, PhD

On a emotional level, yin yoga helps to release not only physical but mental blockages. This might be through finding moments of stillness, working into an area of the body where we are gripping or resisting through fear or bringing more mindfulness into our everyday living. The practice of yin yoga is one of deep surrender.

Here are 5 ways to explore ‘Release’…

  1. Release Tension in the body ~ Find ways to release tension in the body, either through gentle movement, stretches, massage, alternative therapies or our favourite…yin, yin and more YIN! Whilst your yang mind might resist it, your body will thank you for it.
  2. Release stress in the mind ~ Often our road blocks physically come from something we’re holding on to mentally or emotionally. Exploring breath, mindfulness and meditation are amazing ways to release the monkey mind to find peace, calm & clarity.
  3. Release expectation ~ One of the biggest traps that prevents us from living our life’s purpose is to be living someone else’s. To be constantly trying to live up to someone else’s expectations or  expectations we have built for ourselves based on how we think we should be doing things can just bring us emotional stress. Live authentically by doing what’s right for you.
  4. Release fear ~ Perhaps you need to release the fear that is holding you back from taking the step that moves you forward. On the mat, off the mat – explore opening your heart, trust in yourself and release your fears.
  5. Release your hold and learn to let go ~ Whether it’s tension, expectation, fear or something from the past, learn to let go. “Breathe through it and release anything that does not serve you.”Yoga can offer amazing ways to help you find release ~ through movement, meditation, breath, mindfulness, community and connection.
The Complete Guide To Yin Yoga
About the author: Andy is a qualified Yoga Therapist & Teacher. She is Communications Manager at Kula Yoga, co-owner of High Tide Yoga on the Bellarine and runs her own small Yoga Therapy business. Andy is also a health & wellness blogger, hobby photographer and mama of 3!
Photo credit: Kula founder Kacey Smith by Andybbear Photography


Strengthen, energise, release & thrive with Hot Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Slow Flow and Yin Yoga classes at our beautiful studios in Hawthorn & Hampton, in Boroondara and Bayside Melbourne.

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