Yin Yoga is very different from the more vigorous/energetic styles of yoga often seen today.  However the practice, consisting mostly of seated postures and looonnnng holds, is rapidly becoming very popular across the whole world.   I love Yin yoga for its introspective qualities – how slowing down really encourages you to look within, as well as to help you relax loads.  The poses are passively held for at least 5 minutes, which gives you time to get deep into the pose without forcing it.   I teach Yin Yang yoga at Easter Bush Campus, and begin with a few gentle flows to warm the body, before slowing it right down.

The importance of slowing down

While yoga appears to be evolving from a traditional spiritual practice to a one-armed-handstand party on the beach (at least if you look on Instagram!), there is clearly more and more demand for slower styles.  It’s impossible to deny the amount of stress everyone is under in modern-day society, and our social media addiction, which keeps us constantly switched on, isn’t going anywhere.  I definitely can’t keep track of how many times I unlock my phone every day – can you?! That reflex alone is a big stress response, let alone all of the career/life/relationship/financial/need-I-go-on problems everybody faces, every day.

What makes Yin yoga so different from Vinyasa and other styles? Not only the length of posture holds, but also the promotion of passiveness in the practice.  You don’t have to grab for your toes in forward bends if this is too active a stretch! You don’t need to push your body to its 110% limit…ever! Quite honestly, just sitting still with no distraction for 5 minutes per pose is a challenge enough 😉

Leave your ego at the door, and prepare to begin your journey of introspection and humility.

Yoga is great for allowing us to tune in to our bodies and minds, and to provide us the space to cultivate change in our lives.  By focusing on the breath, we can start to go within.  Yin yoga, considering its young age, is fast establishing itself as one of the best styles to achieve this relaxation and transformation.

sphinx

Is Yin Yoga really that new? {Yoga geek-out alert!}

Yin Yang is a classic Daoist / Far Eastern symbol, so how has it established itself as a style of yoga – which is an ancient Indian tradition?! Yin Yoga branched off from Daoist yoga, the latter of which has only been a defined term since the 1970s!

Arguably, the concept of holding poses for a long time is classic yoga – it was through Krishnamacharya (the forefather of modern day yoga and the guru of Pattabhi Jois and Iyengar and other prominent 20th century yogis who brought yoga to the West) that yoga began to evolve into this dynamic style of movement.  Without going too far back in history, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (written in 14th or 15th century C.E.) only mentions 15 poses – most of which are seated.  The number of asanas seem to increase exponentially from that, up until Krishnamachyara who said he knew 3000 asanas and his guru 8000!

The 20th century was when yoga really shifted to the ‘yang’ side of the spectrum, so perhaps Yin Yoga is simply a return to tradition.

Are you still with me?

Good good!

savas

What to expect in a Yin Yang class?

Not much Sanskrit – all Yin yoga poses are called names like Shoelace and Caterpillar instead of gomukhasana and paschimottanasana.  Expect lots of props, and to be comfortably uncomfortable.  Emotions and frustrations will make themselves known as you remain completely still.  Don’t be surprised if you fall asleep during the final relaxation and, above all else, to come out of class feeling like a new person.

 

I would love to hear from you if you have been to a Yin Yang (or Yin!) class before! What was your experience like?

 

Tali xxx

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