What is Yin Yoga All About?

What is Yin Yoga All About?

  • Posted by kaleigh
  • On May 30, 2018
  • Comments

Yin and Yang, female and male, darkness and light, moon and sun, water and fire. One doesn’t exist without the other. Polarity and opposition create balance and health and, quite frankly, you’d probably be bored out of your gourds without them.

The principles of Yin and Yang exist everywhere you look. Take, for example, yoga at the Front YogaLoft (as good an example as any, wouldn’t you say?). If you haven’t been to a Kick Your Asana or Hot Lunch yet, let us sum them up in one word: YANG! There are a host of other words like, delicious, playful, challenging, and fun that describe these, but Yang will do nicely here.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have our Restore and Yin Yoga classes. Challenging in their own right, these practices are more grounding and require a different flavor of patience and mindfulness than their hotter and sweatier asana cousins. Yin Yoga specifically has so many benefits, namely, it helps us sit with our emotions, prepares us for meditation, teaches us patience and compassion with ourselves, helps strengthen connective tissue and restores range of motion.

Sometimes you may feel like you’re not getting a whole lot done in a Yin Yoga class. In this great land of getting after it, we’re all about getting stuff done, aren’t we? Well, we may be getting the most important things done when we incorporate Yin into our practices. As we have indicated, not only is it awesome for the mindfulness and the slow-down component of health, but it’s also really, really great for our muscles and connective tissue when practiced properly. Here’s a little tid-bit of interesting info on some of the physical benefits of a Yin practice by Paul Grilley who is a world renowned Yin Yoga teacher:

“The idea of stretching connective tissue around the joints seems at odds with virtually all the rules of modern exercise. Whether we're lifting weights, skiing, or doing aerobics or yoga, we're taught that safety in movement primarily means to move so you don't strain your joints. And this is sage counsel. If you stretch connective tissue back and forth at the edge of its range of motion or if you suddenly apply a lot of force, sooner or later you will hurt yourself. So why would Yin Yoga advocate stretching connective tissue? Because the principle of all exercise is to stress tissue so the body will respond by strengthening it. Moderately stressing the joints does not injure them any more than lifting a barbell injures muscles. Both forms of training can be done recklessly, but neither one is innately wrong. We must remember that connective tissue is different from muscle and needs to be exercised differently. Instead of the rhythmic contraction and release that best stretches muscle, connective tissue responds best to a slow, steady load. If you gently stretch connective tissue by holding a yin pose for a long time, the body will respond by making them a little longer and stronger—which is exactly what you want.”

Paul Grilley

Dang it, Paul, it IS what we want! We have things to do! Places to be! People to see, and we want to do it all with the healthiest connective tissue possible. And we mean it. If you’ve ever injured your muscles or connective tissues you’ll know just how all-consuming that pain can be.

So, there you have it. Yin. It’s good for what ails you.

We feel so fortunate to have Brittany Ovalle and Michelle Taylor teaching our Yin classes. They each have mountains of experience and training behind them and offer classes that are seriously delicious. We Yin three days/week: Wednesdays at 5:45 PM, Saturdays at 11:30 AM and Sundays at 11:30 AM. Come on by and check ‘em out, okay?

BY CHARLOTTE EVANS
YOGA INSTRUCTOR AT THE FRONT CLIMBING CLUB