Have you been doing only the “yang” styles of yoga which is the active practices which primarily focus on movement and muscular contraction? Do you find that your limbs have limited range of motions even though you have been practicing for some time? It may be time to discover the missing half – the “yin” style of yoga that works the deep tissues of the body.
Yin Yoga is characterized by passive asanas held for several minutes each. Yin Yoga targets connective tissue, specifically those in the hips, thighs and lower spinal areas. Yin Yoga helps to stretch those connective tissues and over time, the practice of yin yoga can lengthen these tissues increasing their flexibility.
I noticed that Yin Yoga is less popular with most practitioners, as most of them prefer the faster paced “yang” yoga which stimulates the muscles in the body, encouraging strength and great physical health. However, if Yin Yoga is not practiced, over time the body will weaken and the joints of the body will become susceptible to injury. As one ages, a lack of flexible joints in the body increases the risk of pain.
During the practice of yin yoga, the practitioner holds an asana for three to five minutes, allowing one's awareness and breath to be directed to a particular part of the body. Because of the long duration of the asanas, certain poses can be quite challenging, if not for the body, at least for the mind! As such, one of the key values cultivated in the practice of yin yoga is patience.
Yin Yoga is a very effective way to relieve stress, quiet the mind, to open up your hips, hamstring and lower spine, as well as to improve health and well-being.
Read article from Paul Grilley on Yin Yoga and click here for Yin Yoga poses.