We all need a little time to unwind.
In fact, in our modern society with our ‘can do’ & ‘more is better’ attitude, we rarely find the time to slow down. The busy days filled to the brim with to-do lists and tasks can be overwhelming at time. Not to mention our media, constant emails, and Facebook connections tapping us constantly on the shoulder asking us to keep up. It is ever more important to take the time to stop the ‘doing’ and rest into the peaceful quiet of ‘being’. Yin yoga is the perfect antidote for the current epidemic of the stress filled the world.
So what is Yin Yoga? Yin and yang are Taoist principles. Yang is the energy mentioned above – that of doing, active, masculinity, and assertive energy. Obviously, this energy is important and needed … but it all comes back to balance. Yin is the opposite and complementary energy – that of rest, relaxation, femininity, and receptive energy. Again, it is vital that both of these energies are in balance in relation to one another to create harmony and health in our lives.
Yin yoga is perfect for beginners to a yoga practice and also wonderful for those more advanced practitioners seeking, again more balance in their lives. Yin yoga offers a silent reprieve to go inside, let go of tension in the body, and cultivate silence and peace of mind. We hold simple floor poses from anywhere to 2-5 minutes to allow the body to unravel and the mind to slow down. We also use the assistance of blankets, pillows, bolsters, and blocks to rest in the poses for this longer period of time.
Yin yoga works on a deeper layer. Instead of opening up the muscles of the body we begin to open the deeper connective tissue including ligaments, tendons, and fascia. By holding the poses, we allow time and gravity to do the work for us. In addition to opening up the connective tissue, we also open and balance the meridians (or energy lines) of the body to restore on a holistic level. Through simple rest, we allow deeper tension and holding patterns to unravel. This can start out as a physical release but has the potential to move energy emotionally, mentally, and spiritually if you listen.
So what do you need to know to start a Yin yoga home practice? Read on for tips and tools you can use to get you started ...
What you will need:
- a quiet space
- a yoga mat
- 2-3 yoga blocks
- a blanket
- a timer/clock
- relaxing music*
- a meditation cushion *
- bolsters* (*optional)
- Allow yourself anywhere between 30-60 minutes for your quiet yin yoga practice.
- Turn your phone on silent and limit any possible distractions.
- Make a commitment to yourself to stay and give yourself space to truly drop in.
- Start in a seated position and take the first few moments to arrive and become still.
- Watch your breath for a few minutes.
- Silently set an intention for your practice.
- Find your first position and relax into the posture.
- Use your props (pillows, cushions, bolsters, blankets) to assure that you can rest into the posture.
- You can place the props under your elbows, forehead, etc. to make sure you can stay and relax.
- Stay in the poses for the desired length of time and use your breath to anchor you in the moment.
- Use your timer/clock to let you know when it is time to move out of the posture.
- After you are complete with one pose return back to a neutral position (laying on your back) to give your body an opportunity to assimilate the opening.
- Watch and build awareness to how the poses affect you on all levels. (physically, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually)
Other important things to remember:
- When you fold forward into the posture move into your edge with out pushing beyond.
- Find a yin way to meet where you are at and then soften and round your spine.
- If you are hyper flexible be conscious not to hold too deep for too long.
- If you have any sensitivity in your neck area and letting your head and spine round is painful don’t do it or place a block under your forehead to support the neck.
-Always speak to a qualified yoga instructor if you have any questions or worries.
-You can also contact me with any and all questions by posting comments below.
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Thank you for your support and happy yinning to you all!