What is YIN Yoga?
A Yin Yoga combines Yoga principals, Chinese medicine (Taoism )(action without intention) and mindfulness* practice as well as Science.
Purpose of YIN Yoga
- to help improve the flow of energy (Chi or QI) and nutrients into our vital organs to bring about healing of any imbalances within;
- to release long held tension in our deep connective tissues [which surrounds every muscle, ligament, bone, tendon, cell, nerve and organ] known as fascia; and
- to calm the nervous system.
The YIN approach
Unlike in other Yoga practices where we practice with intention, here we practice without intention. There is no set agenda for achieving a particular a goal except to just be and see what happens. Your body becomes your greatest teacher.
When we are able to remain muscularly soft without any aggression or agenda it helps us tap deep in to the deepest layers of our physical body as well as our psyche.
Fascia and Myo-fascial release
Fascia is said to be a connective tissue that is woven around each muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein as well as our vital internal organs including the heart, lungs, brains and spinal cord. It re-hydrates and allow the flow of chi. Some researchers are even claiming that the meridians in fact run through the Fascia!
Chi and the Meridians
This Chi is described as an invisible force or, also referred to as life force, is said to run through invisible pathways. The pathways are known as Meridians.
These pathways or Meridians are described as ‘a network that interconnects and encapsulates the tissues and organs in the human body..(SarahLO).
It is thought to flow through all our tissues, bones and various vital organs like the kidneys, liver, lungs and heart and more.
In a YIN practice we work with 12 major meridians. These meridians are associated with our vital organs and emotions!
The cause of Imbalances
The cause of illnesses and/or mental suffering
The strength and flow of this Chi is paramount to a harmonious body and mind. When this flow is disrupted our bodies become weak and consequently, we experience ill-health and/or disharmony.
The Yin practice involves balancing the flow of vital energy or life force within our bodies so that the body could heal and function to its optimum well-being!
This Yin chi is considered deficient if there is under-activity and disharmony in the flow of chi. When the chi is stagnant, it is considered as Yang chi. It is compared to water that collects and putrefies in a pond. The stagnant chi is the cause of many illnesses and ailments.
Organ Health and our Emotions
In Chinese medicine, emotions “are an expression of chi and are not considered good or bad. However, every prolonged disturbing emotion affects our organ health and meridians.” [Sarah Powers, Insight Yoga]
Through yin yoga practice, we stimulate the flow of stagnant chi from different organs to help bring the body back to homeostasis. [Homeostasis is when a quality of chi can nourish and balance the chi of all the organs synchronistically through its strong flow.]
What to expect
You can expect to feel some discomfort (but not tension) in holding poses for long periods of time in order to release the Fascia. (These are known to be deep connective tissues.) By doing this, we are facilitating re-hydration of tissues, muscles and ligaments.
“During these longer holds, you may experience a mental or a physical release. A sudden rush of a strong emotion, it can be anything from joy, happiness, fear, anger or sadness to a physical release where the body then feels freer and more open. “
You will be encouraged to use as many props as you need to find a position in a pose that would allow you to hold the pose for a period of time without any agitation or restlessness.
What are the Benefits
Here we mention just a few of the benefits of a YIN Yoga practice:
- Unblocking energy and long held muscular and emotional tensions (by cooling of the limbic system) through fascial* release.
- Nourishing and healing our vital organs like kidneys lungs liver pancreas etc.
- Improved flexibility
- Healthy joints through re-hydration of connective tissues
- Deep relaxation and improved sleep patterns
- Improved mood and overall emotional balance
- a focused and a calmer mind
Who can do this class?
From a beginner to an Athlete, all will benefit from a Yin Yoga practice, including those recovering from injuries. A Yin practice is also especially beneficial for those who have undergone traumas of any kind.
Please note that results may vary from person to person and you must always consult your medical practitioner/specialist for guidance.
*Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
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