Do you know how to nourish your body holistically? Do you know what your body needs and how to give it to yourself? In this post, I talk about the importance of balancing our Yin & Yang energy and yoga practices so we can learn how to take care of our bodies holistically.
Many of us first come to yoga to improve our posture, flexibility, balance, coordination, and strength. Maybe your first class was Vinyasa, Hatha Yoga, Power Yoga, Ashtanga, or any other form of yoga where movement and breath are involved. These practices are very powerful practices and tools to get stronger and more flexible in our bodies. Even though these physical benefits are a by-product of yoga, there is not the ultimate goal of yoga.
So then, what is the goal of Yoga?
“Yogas Citta Vrtti Nirodhah” means “Yoga is the slowing down of the fluctuations of the mind”. This is one of the first and most important yoga sutras (1.2 Sutra). Yoga helps us slow down our crazy monkey mind, helping us to cultivate mindfulness into our bodies and promoting HERE & NOW experiences. Even though all styles of yoga will help us to cultivate a state of presence and peace from within, Yin Yoga is my favorite practice for that. But why? For many reasons, but especially because Yin Yoga is slow-paced & therapeutic practice where we have time and space to feel our bodies in each position.
So what is the difference between Yin & Yang Yoga?
Let’s take a look into these different practices and what is the main difference between them. “Yang Yoga” is a vigorous and fast-paced practice like vinyasa, power yoga, hot yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga. “Yin yoga” is a slow-paced practice where you’re holding poses for a more extended period between 2 to 5 minutes or even more.
“Yang Yoga” involves the Yang tissues like muscles that are more fluid-filled and elastic, while “Yin Yoga” Involves yin tissues like connective tissue ligaments, tendons, and fascia. When we hold Yin Yoga poses for an extended period of time, it affects your deep connective tissues, such as your fascia, ligaments, joints, and bones. Yin Yoga helps you stretch and lengthen the deeper tissue so it can become stronger and healthier.
When is the best time to practice Yin Yoga?
You can practice Yin Yoga any time of the day. Morning is a great time to practice Yin Yoga, as it set the tone for the rest of your day. Some people prefer to practice Yin in the afternoon, as it helps them let go of the day, slow down and prepare the body and the mind to rest at night. Whenever you decide to dedicate time for your yin & mindfulness practice, you feel significant shifts and changes after the practice. Yin Yoga plays an important role in providing a deep sense of relaxation and peace within you. Helping us create space within our bodies while promoting a great sense of balance and well-being between our minds and our hearts.
So then, how often should I practice Yin Yoga?
You can practice Yin Yoga every single day. There is no right or wrong here. There is a simple fact, the more you practice, the more connected and Intune with your body you will feel. In this way, you can know when you need to practice Yin Yoga, or meditation, or maybe something else, like a strong and vigorous vinyasa practice. If you listen to your body, you will know what you need for your day.
When you practice Yin Yoga regularly, you will start feeling the benefits in your overall life; your body becomes more flexible and open, gaining clarity and focus. Your relationship with others may change and become more peaceful. These are just a few examples, as the benefits are unlimited. You will never go wrong with yin yoga, so let’s give it a try!
Before we practice Yin Yoga, we need to get familiar with the three main principles of Yin Yoga. We can also name these principles as:
“The Three Tattvas of Yin Yoga Practice”
- Find your edge: It’s essential to practice mindfully, with attention and intention. Get into the pose slowly and find the first resistance in your body, where you feel the stretch, but it’s not too much. Work with the edges of your body, always listening to your body without forcing it or pushing yourself into the poses. Allow your body and breath to be your guide and best teacher.
- Cultivating stillness: After you find your edge, commit to stillness. This is one of the beautiful aspects of Yin Yoga; we let go of any effort or trying and surrender into the pose.
- Hold Poses for a long time: Yin yoga practice involves 2-5 minute holds in each position. It’s crucial to listen to our body to find the appropriate length of time for you. If you are new to the yin yoga practice, 1-3 minutes could be enough for you, while more advanced practitioners may aim for 5 minutes or more — even up to 10 minutes!
Remember, If you are feeling the target area of that pose, you are practicing it appropriately. You can use this as your mantra for the practice: “If you are feeling it, you are doing it.” There is no right or wrong in Yin Yoga, so find your edge, commit to stillness and hold the pose for a while. Enjoy your sweet rebound afterward.
Are you ready to practice Yin Yoga? If yes, you can start with this 45 minutes sequence designed to release tension in our bodies and restore a sense of inner peace.
“Release Tension & Restore Inner Peace”
- Make yourself comfortable on a cushion with both legs straight out in front of you. Fold forward over the legs, and allow your back round. Keep the knees bend if your hamstrings are tight. Use props to support your body.
- Benefits: Stresses the tissue that is along the back of the spine
- Stimulate the kidneys.
- Massages the heart
- Hold the pose for 3-5 minutes
- From a comfortable seated position, bring the soles of your feet together. Then slide them away from your body, allowing your back to round, fold forward, lightly resting your hands on your feet, on blocks, or the floor. Support your head with a block or cushion, so it’s more comfortable.
- Benefits: Helpful to keep the kidney and people with urinary problems.
- Great hip opener & releases tension in the lower back.
- Hold the pose for 3-5 minutes.
Anahatasana Pose (Melting Heart)
- Move your hands forward on your hands and knees, allowing your chest to drop down toward the floor. Keep your hips right above your knees. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart. Please modify the pose if this variation is not available for you.
- Benefits: A nice backbend for the middle and upper back of the body.
- Helps to open arms, shoulder, and chest area.
- Very good to open our heart center.
- Hold the pose for 3-4 minutes.
Sleeping Swan Pose
- You can come into a sleeping swan pose either from Down Dog or Cat pose, whichever is more comfortable for you. Next, slide your right knee between your hands, incline a bit to the right, and check in with how your right knee feels.
- If the knee is OK (not stressed), bring the right foot forward until you feel the first edge in your right hip. If the knee doesn’t feel good, get the foot closer toward your pelvis.
- Now, centralized yourself, so your weight is distributed. Use a cushion or a blanket under your right hip if you need some support. You can also use a pillow under your chest to relax deeper into the pose.
- Benefits: This pose is beneficial for stretching the hips and the ITB.
- Make sure you do both sides (right and left leg)
- Good to practice during the moon cycle.
- Hold the pose for 3-5 minutes.
After your Yin Yoga practice, you can take a few minutes in a comfortable sitting position so you can integrate the benefits of your practice. Check in how you feel after the Yin Yoga session and the changes and shifts you may feel after the class. You know that you can always come back to this place of deep connection & peace from your heart.
What are the main benefits of Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga has a therapeutical effect on your body & mind.
- On the physical level: it improves blood pressure-related problems and lowers heart rate, increases flexibility, increases your blood circulation, and improves our immune system’s health, to name a few of them.
- The emotional level: helps us reduce stress levels, release anxiety, bring clarity of the mind, and balance our mind & body connection.
This was a short introduction to the Yin Yoga Practice. There is so much more I would like to share with you, so if you would like more guidance and learn and practice Yin Yoga with me, you can join my Yin Yoga Teacher Training Online. This course is On-Demand, which means you can start and finish at your pace from home. Yin Yoga changed my life, and I am sure you can benefit from it too!
Learn more about the Yin Yoga Teacher Training Online. Click here:https://yogaliciacasillas.com/courses/online-yin-yoga-teacher-training/
And if you would like just to practice Yin Yoga with me, you can enroll in the Yin Yoga & Mindfulness Course where there are full Yin Yoga sessions ready for you to begin your Yin Yoga Journey. Click here: https://yogaliciacasillas.com/courses/yin-healing-series/