What is yin yoga?

A ‘Yin’ practice is the perfect way to balance the hotter, energetic styles of yoga. Most styles of yoga practiced in the West are ‘Yang’, involving active contracting and relaxing of the muscles. ‘Yin’ tissues, those deeper in the body such as connective tissue, bones, ligaments and the fascia are cooler and less mobile – it is only when the muscles become quiet and more relaxed can we focus on strengthening those areas as well.

Rather than active, muscular stretching poses (think triangle pose, warrior III, or handstand), Yin practices are passive in nature – you allow the muscles to relax and yield, working instead into the restriction and tightness of connective tissue instead (specifically fascia).

When we have restriction in our bodies, our fascia becomes dehydrated, stiff, weak, and stuck. Along with hydration and other healthy lifestyle choices, yoga (especially slow yoga like Yin) can change our connective tissue. Students are encouraged to find their own working edge, come to stillness and resolve to be still for periods of 3 minutes or more.

One writer identifies two general types of practitioner – the terminally stiff, inflexible Tinman and the opposite of the spectrum, uber-flexible Gumby. It’s the Gumbys who will most likely be attracted to the Yin style of practice, while Tinmen might shy away – after all, we love doing what we’re good at and try avoid the difficult stuff.

If you think you can relate to either one of these categories, read the full article here to find out how yin yoga can help you bring more balance to your body. Still not convinced? Here’s some further reading for you to consider.

New Yin Yoga classes, Thursdays 8-9pm with Claire Corfield, starting 30 November 2017. BOOK NOW!