In a world like the one we are living in, it can be a challenge to remain grounded and fully present in the here and now. For those that struggle to live mindfully in today, you may want to consider giving yin yoga a trial run to reconnect to the “now.”
Yin offers a much slower approach than other styles of yoga. A typical yin class will offer half the asana’s or yoga postures than other styles of yoga. It is said to be a passive practice rather than an active one. Less asana’s to endeavour through and slower movements means a greater opportunity to practice stillness and connect to the mind, body and soul.
Why Yin Yoga…
First, Yin calls you to come into an appropriate depth in a pose… just enough to feel an edge but not to go over the edge. That being said, coming into a pose and being asked not to force or shape shift, allows the practicing yogi to accept oneself in the now.
Second, it mindfully asks you to become still inside the pose, allowing for time to create space and depth. Sitting still is not an easy task to achieve for most people as we typically push ourselves from one function to the next. Granting intervals of time to meditate into each pose during our yin practice nurtures and strengthens our desire to become more tranquil and still off the mat.
Third, it gently challenges you to hold the pose for two to five minutes in length and sometimes longer. When we hold for time, we allow the body to open up naturally. During this juncture we may focus on our breath and use it to move through the body into the areas that feel tense. The breath is a wonderful tool to quiet the mind but also to lessen the sensations one might be experiencing while moving through each pose.
All of these components combined activate the energetic, meditative and physiological qualities of the body which in turn produces many positive effects.
Still the body, Still the mind…
Practicing 20 to 60 minutes of yin yoga daily allows you to go from an active state to its counter opposite–a passive state. The movements are much more thoughtful and observant in nature thereby generating stillness in the mind. Whatever type of yoga practice you choose, it all comes down to you and what your body is needing in each moment.
This practice is about coming home to yourself. It’s about inviting in acceptance, letting go of judgment, expectations and the need to compete with others. When we can “practice” these concepts on the mat, the intention is that we will bring the practice off the mat and into our daily life.
A book that may be helpful in understanding this style of yoga more in-depth is Bernie Clark’s, “The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga.” Bernie is one of the leading authorities on the subject and has numerous youtube videos that are easy to follow especially if you are a beginner. Let me know your thoughts below. All the best with your yoga practice friends.