What is Yin Yoga?
What is Yin Yoga? A Beginner’s Guide:
One of the most transformative forms of meditative practices is known as Yin Yoga. It is a slower-paced type of yoga that holds postures for long periods of time and incorporates meditative practices into the routine.
The art of meditation has been around for centuries, and during this time people of different ages, races and backgrounds have seen first-hand how meditation can transform their lives. While many people are familiar with the general idea of meditation, what many don’t realize is that there are different forms of meditation, each with their own unique benefits.
Also known as Daoist yoga, this practice incorporates more passive postures than you will find in many other traditional yoga classes.
It is most commonly used to in those who struggle with stress and anxiety and who are looking for a sense of inner peace. This type of yoga not only helps exercise and calm the mind, but it also helps the body as well, while working the connective tissues of the body to ultimately promote better circulation and flexibility.
There are two main components to Yin Yoga: the art of meditation and the art of yoga. You need to know the basic building blocks of both in order to successfully practice Yin Yoga. Fortunately, both practices are simple, and easy to master even for novices
This article will take you from wondering “ What is Yin Yoga?” to practicing this ancient art form and seeing first-hand the benefits of this unique meditative practice.
Step One: How to Meditate
Before you start implementing meditation into your yoga practices, you need to understand the basics of what meditation is and how to meditate.
Once you are able to comfortably meditate on you own, it will be much easier to incorporate the art of meditation into your Yin Yoga practice, so that you can better focus on your energy on your poses and postures.
A true lesson in how to meditate would require a great deal background, detailed teachings and hours of practice. The best way to perfect the art of meditation and to really learn how to meditate is to simply start doing it and keep doing it.
However, this quick beginner’s overview of meditation should help you grasp the basics so you can learn how to meditate on your own.
- Lie or sit comfortably. Eventually you will be in your Yin Yoga position, but as you learn, just choose a sitting or lying position that you feel good in.
- Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and out.
- Continue to breathe naturally. Focus your attention on your breath and how the body moves each time you inhale and exhale.
- Observe how your breath goes through the body with each inhale and exhale, notice how your body moves as you breathe. If your mind wanders away from your breath, return your focus back to your breath.
It shouldn’t take you long to learn how to meditate. Most people You should start practicing meditation for 2-3 minutes at a time and build up to 15 minutes before you start your Yin Yoga practice.
So, What is Yin Yoga? A Detailed Look at The Practice
While you may still be asking yourself “what is Yin Yoga?” The thing to remember about this practice is that it is much simpler than it may appear. This exercise is all about holding simple, yet powerful poses for anywhere from 1-5 minutes. The more seasoned the individual, the longer the poses can be held.
You will find the “poses” or “postures” used in Yin Yoga are mostly on the floor. There are only about 25 poses in general that are used in Yin Yoga total—much fewer than in other forms of yoga.
The original teachings on Yin Yoga, which date back thousands of years had approximately 16 postures in its text. There are millions of different poses practiced in modern yoga today.
When you hold these poses, you will find that your teacher will ask you to focus on relaxation. You will be asked to relax into your posture and soften your muscles, instead of engaging them as you would in other yoga practices.
As you hold these poses you will need to remember how to meditate and incorporate what you learned about meditation in your poses.
While it is common to hold poses for between 3-5 minutes in many standard classes, you will see some poses can be held for as much as 20 minutes at a time. This not only helps relax the muscles, joints and tendons in your body, but it gives you a longer time to meditate as well.
Areas of Focus in Yin Yoga
There are so many spiritual and mental benefits of Yin Yoga. And while you will also enjoy tremendous physical benefits, don’t expect the same type of “workout” that you would get from say a hot yoga class.
These poses are going to help you feel loose and flexible. They are also going to only focus on areas of the body that encompass a joint. This includes the hips, sacrum and spine. There will not be as much muscle toning and core work in this form of yoga.
Alignment is very important in this form of yoga. The Yin Yoga poses will ensure that your body is in the right alignment to promote healing and flexibility. This is why it is so important to get in the correct pose and gently hold that pose for the recommended amount of time.
The Benefits of Yin Yoga
There are many reasons to start practicing Yin Yoga. While different people may have different reasons for wanting to give this practice a try, there are many benefits the average person will see with Yin Yoga—no matter what inspires them to start.
These benefits include:
- You get to see the other side of yoga. There are many people whose lives have already been enriched thanks to the physical benefits of yoga—yet many have not experienced the mental and spiritual perks of this practice, until they try Yin Yoga.
- It can help you release tension. If you have built up tension or negative energy, then trying Yin Yoga may finally help you get the release you have been looking for.
- Yin Yoga can help soothe your nerves. The yin part of Yin Yoga is all about finding a restful inward state. It encourages you to slow down, get calm and rest and renew.
- It can help you grow your meditative practice. The more you practice Yin Yoga, the more seasoned you will naturally become with meditation. This art will not only teach you how to meditate, but help you learn how to become better at it as well.
As you practice yoga, you will continue to see these benefits and ultimately start feeling more balanced in your everyday life. It will bring you a peace that very few other exercises can help you achieve.
How to Let Go With Yin Yoga
To the average person asking “what is Yin Yoga?” it may seem as though this practice is simply a combination of yoga and meditation. While there are the two primary components of this practice, there are many more intricacies involved with Yin Yoga. It is much more spiritually and mentally focused than people assume.
If there is one major goal you should have with your Yin Yoga practice, it should be to learn how to let go of things. One of the main central components behind Yin Yoga is learning to relax and let go of things that are stressing you out and weighing you down.
Holding on to stress, pain or anger will never fix anything. Yin Yoga can help you learn to accept that and learn how to let go of the things that are weighing you down. Research shows that deciding to hold on to the past will only hold you back from creating a strong sense of self. Holding on to pain can prevent you from reaching your full potential and being the type of person you really want to be.
Yin Yoga can help you let all of this go. Simple breathing, powerful poses and mindful meditation can all come together to teach you to relax, unwind and accept a new more positive view on life. It is all possible with Yin Yoga. All you need to do is to make the decision to take the first step forward and give this ancient practice a try.
You can try it yourself at home with online guides, or you can enroll in a class that will help lead you through the practice. Either way the more you do and the more steps you take towards implanting Yin Yoga into your regular routine, the more positive outcomes you will see in your life.