YIN TO YOUR YANG
Yin to your Yang
by Cathy Addis, Yoga Teacher
There are many different styles of yoga today but primarily what we are practicing here in the West is what we would call a ‘yang’ style of practice. Yang yoga is a term used to describe a more dynamic and active form of yoga such as astanga, hatha or vinyasa flow practices.
Yang yoga or vinyasa yoga as you all know it, is quick, flowing, powerful, strong, strengthening and hot which muscles need to release. Yin yoga on the other hand is the perfect complement to this as it’s slow, steady, softening, releasing and a cooling form of practice as connective tissues respond better to longer holds.
So what’s different in a yin yoga practice?
Yin yoga targets the ligaments and joints within the body versus yang yoga which targets the muscles. In Yin yoga, poses are held for a much longer period of time compared to a yang practice– sometimes you could hold the pose for up to 20 minutes – depending on your level of practice but usually it would be 3-5 minutes each side. So be mindful that even though this style of practice may be seen to be a slower/easier practice, it’s not really the case! The longer hold stretches and strengthens the connective tissues that are much deeper then the superficial or muscular tissues. Yin yoga focusses on the connections in the pelvis, hips and even lower spine. Yang postures as you know, involve a lot of standing poses (which you would not want to hold for 20minutes!) however in a yin practice the postures involve lying or sitting down so that the muscles can release be fore getting into the joint and ligaments. Sometimes props such as block, bolsters and blankets are also used to aid poses.
Why practice yin yoga?
It is believed that we should all be incorporating a yin style of practice to our yang yoga practice as a yang practice is really only one half of the asana practice. Both styles are needed to achieve balance for the mind body and spirit. It is a beautifully delicious practice that helps heal both our heart and mind. It allows us time to sit within ourselves, to just be still, and to notice what the body and mind are telling us.
So if you want to increase your flexibility, foster self love, melt stress away, build perseverance and add a more meditative practice to your life then give yin yoga a try and while you may not build up an intense sweat you should leave with a wonderful dreamy afterglow of a clearer mind, open heart and lighter body.
Cathy will soon be teaching Yin Yoga classes in Studio72, as a complement to her Vinyasa Yoga classes. Keep an eye on the website or Facebook page 'studio72killester' for more details and start dates. You can also contact Cathy on 086 2070350 for more information or to book into any of ther classes or workshops.