Yin Yoga, what is that?

You probably all know the type of yoga that is flowy, strengthens your muscles and where you move a lot. Styles like Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hatha, Power, Bikram and so forth, all falling under the Yang Yoga category. Did you know that there is an entirely different world of Yoga out there, called Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga, the other side of Yoga

But what exactly is Yin Yoga and how is it different from more dynamic yoga stiles?

Well, let me answer that in this blogpost.

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga are long-held stretching postures, around three to five minutes, without muscle tension.

We are mainly sitting or lying in different postures and trying to relax into the posture bit by bit, letting go of the tension in our muscles more and more.

Three to five minutes because the physical effect of Yin Yoga only occurs after three minutes and after five minutes, there is not much more difference.

That means, it is static and when our muscles are relaxed, we are able to stretch and get into deeper tissue, like the fascia tissue.

The most important part of Yin Yoga

Most importantly though is that our muscles are relaxed in order to work with our joints. We want to get to our original joint mobility and flexibility. Like that, we are pain-free even when we are 90 years old and dancing in the kitchen. Which, if you watch my Instagram stories, I do a lot.

As soon as we tighten our muscles, our joints are held by our muscles. Which, is extremely important and protects them during dynamic movement. However, when we are in a static pose, we let go of the muscles. In that case, the joints are held by connective tissue. When we stimulate this connective tissue, we improve the mobility and health of our joints.

The impact of our modern lifestyle

The way we mostly live nowadays has a bad influence on our joints and their health. We are sitting most of the day, always having the same position for our joints. Once our joints are just used one-sided, they become stiff.

Yin yoga counteracts this one-sided use of our joints. We move our joints into all directions and make sure, we use our own maximum joint mobility. Otherwise, if we don't use our entire range of motion, the way we can move our joints will become worse and worse.

For example, many people, when they become older get stiff shoulders and can't stretch their arm vertically into the air. They stopped doing this movement at some point. As a result, the tissue around the shoulder joint degenerates and our joints become stiff and we cannot use it like we used to.

This is just the physical effect of Yin Yoga, but there is also a great mental effect of Yin Yoga.

The mental effect of Yin Yoga

Sitting or lying in postures for this long and trying to focus and feel the stimulation of the tissue, really calms you.

When you are asked to relax your muscles and let go of this basic tension we are all carrying around, you get calmer and more relaxed in general.

Additionally, many postures are done folding forward, which has a calming effect on our nervous system.

If you are struggling to calm down and are stressed out a lot, then Yin Yoga is a great option to help you calm down.

Balancing Yin & Yang

Many of us lead a very stressful and packed life, even if we are sitting a lot, life generally is very stressful. That means, we have loads of Yang energy in our life but almost no Yin energy, the calm energy.

Often however, when we get out of the office, we think we have to move and sweat. We add even more Yang onto the balance instead of doing something that would calm us and help us relax.

On top of that, while we need to work and build muscle strength, it has to be balanced with some stretching and working on mobility and flexibility, which is what Yin Yoga does.

So, why not adding a little more Yin to your life? Try a Yin Yoga class, check out Youtube for some videos.

I hope I explained what Yin Yoga is, even if you have never tried it or heard from it before? If you have any doubts or questions about Yin Yoga, feel free to reach out and I'll be happy to answer your questions.

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