What is yin yoga?
Most people think yoga classes have lots of movement. Although common, it’s not always the case. Yin yoga classes have very little movement. They are about stillness. Yin is the opposite of yang. Yang is movement.
Your focus is not about breaking a sweat. The goal is to relax during the pose. Therefore, yin encourages deep fascia stretching.
What is fascia?
Fascia is a network of fibers made of collagen. This connective tissue is found throughout the body. Fascia separates, attaches, stabilizes, and surrounds muscles and internal organs. Further, you must hold poses longer to effectively target fascia.
Muscles get the best stretch after 30 seconds. However, fascia requires at least 5 minutes. So, you have to hold a pose for at least this long. Finally, doing so effectively targets, activates, and releases fascia. Because of this, yin classes are typically one hour or 90 minutes. Finally, there are only 7 or so poses per class.
Because you hold a pose for a minimum of 5 minutes it is passive. You are not required to tense then hold muscles in a contracted state. Rather, you are put into a pose that requires no muscle tension. As a result, you are encouraged to close your eyes, breathe, and relax each muscle.
Example yin yoga poses
Examples of yin poses are:
- Balasana, or child’s.
- Mandukasana, aka frog.
- Supta virasana, meaning reclining hero.
- Setu bandha sarvangasana, or supported bridge.
- Matsyasana, aka fish.
- Ananda balasana, meaning happy baby.
- Viparita karani, which has two meanings. One is legs-up-the-wall pose. The second is supported shoulder stand.
- Supta baddha konasana, or is reclining bound angle.
- and of course, savasana. This pose translates to corpose pose in English. Many say this is the most difficult asana in yoga.
Yin yoga in practice
Are you looking to deepen your understanding of yoga? Do you want to give yin a try? Learn more about yin at a Shanti Yoga Teacher Training here.