The Principles of Yin Yoga - Philosophy & Practice of Yin Yoga
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What is Yin Yoga? Yin yoga is often called the Yoga of the joints because unlike other styles of yoga, the emphasis is not on the muscles but on the deep connective tissue. Connective tissue is made up of fascia, ligaments and tendons which surround and form your joints. Yin yoga improves the range of motion in your joints and also strengthens them. The results and benefits are more flexibility and greater range of motion and also more stability within your joints. Although your muscles will also be stretched, that is not the focus of the practice. It is best to practice yin yoga while your muscles are cold and NOT warmed up, even if that sounds counter intuitive. The reason we do this is so that we can send the "stress" and the "Stretch" to the connective tissues. If the muscles are warm they will steal the focus away from the joints.
There are 3 principles of Yin Yoga.
1. Find your edge
2. Be still
3. Hold the pose
Find your edge means respecting your body's limits and not pushing too far and risking injury. Pull back a little bit and as you hold the pose you will be able to go deeper into it without pushing too far or hurting yourself.
Being still means that once you are in the pose it is important to completely relax your muscles so the benefits can get into the connective tissues and joints. Try not to fidget or move or distract yourself, this is a meditative practice. Breathe deeply in and out through the nose.
Holding the pose means that in Yin Yoga a pose can be held for 1-10 minutes depending on the pose performed and on the comfort level of the student. I usually teach poses held for around 4-5 minutes. Learn to surrender and keep a timer close by if needed.
Use as many props as needed in Yin Yoga! Blocks, bolsters and straps are all great ways to support your body to make sure you are respecting your edge and not going too far.
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