I have recently discovered Yin Yoga and I love it, to the extent I have qualified as a Yin Yoga Teacher in order to share the benefits of this practise with my clients.
As someone who has tried most forms of yoga, and as much as I have respected the practise I have not really fully connected with it and at times for risk of sounding ignorant have found it dull, its ironic that the passive, soft practice of Yin Yoga has benefited me greatly.
I am a former Ballerina, and during my fitness journey have enjoyed everything from Distance Running, Crossfit, Circuit Training, Kettle Bells to Weight Lifting. All these types of exercise are highly active and as such could be considered “Yang” styles.
I initially became interested in Yin Yoga from a biomechanical viewpoint – I am interested in how we move as individuals and how with correct movement patterns this allow us to gain the maximum from our other workouts. Over the summer I started to develop a lower back pain on my right hand side, there was no pinpoint to why it was happening, it was just a niggling pain that I couldn’t seem to get rid of.
I am an advocate of mobility drills at the beginning of a workout and time spent stretching at the end of a fitness sessions. If you want your body to move biomechanically correctly then you need to treat it with respect. As we mature, we naturally start to lose our flexibility and mobility and so stretching becomes even more important. If you are not moving biomechanically correctly then your risk of injury is higher, issues such as lower back pain starts to creep in and we start to create compensatory movement patterns. Whether you are deconditioned or a highly active athlete then the impact will be negative.
Yin Yoga directs the stimulation deeper than the superficial or muscular tissues Yin Yoga targets the fascia, connective tissues, such as the ligaments, tendons and joints, that normally are not exercised very much in a more active style of exercise.
Yin Yoga poses are seated or lying down and so initially my reaction to the first pose/asana was “Well this is easy” I was eating my words after holding the pose for 5-7 minutes, during the static process of creating stress on the deep tissues by holding the asana for extended periods of time then you can start to feel a sense of discomfort that rises and falls during the asana. The challenge is to stay with this discomfort, stay still and avoid wriggling away from it, learning to observe and bring your awareness to your body. By bring your awareness to your body and staying still then you are allowing the deeper tissues of the fascia, ligaments , tendons and joints to be exercised. By exercising or placing stress on these deeper tissues then you are promoting flexibility and mobility within your body and by promoting flexibility and mobility you inevitably move better.
I have been practising Yin Yoga for 6 months and it compliments my strength training that I also do and have been doing the entire time I have been getting to the root problem with back. I have no doubt that Yin Yoga has helped with my back issue and in simplistic terms, “I am moving better.” The benefits of this are that I am getting better results with my strength training, I am recovering from workouts better and I am progressing even more.
If you’d like to try Yin Yoga and experience the benefits get in touch for a chat.
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Check out next weeks blog: The Benefits of Yin Yoga to the body and mind at 40+ - Part 2