This May we will be adding a 75 min Yin Yoga class to our weekly schedule. If Yin Yoga is new to you, hopefully this interview below with instructor Jessie Chalmers will help answer some of your questions.
What is yin yoga?
Yin yoga has many of the same objectives and benefits as a traditional yoga (yang) practice yet the focus is to move postures deeper, beyond the superficial layers of muscle and into the ligaments, connective tissue, and bones. It is a soft and passive practice but with deep stretching and long holds. Postures are primarily focused on cranky areas in the body like the hips, hamstrings, and low back and allow for a wonderful release of tension and a freedom that is equivalent to feeling like you just received a massage. Yin yoga also works with the meridians of the body, similar to Chinese medicine, so it is great for health, vitality, and immunity. This is a really unique style of yoga and a wonderful complement to a more vigorous yoga practice or for cross training.
Who can benefit?
This is a great practice for almost anyone and is a wonderful way to keep the joints in good shape as we age. Most every posture can be modified for limitations and most of the poses are practiced on the ground. This style of yoga is wonderful for managing stress, so really anyone of us can benefit from that!
Due to the long holds and deep stretching nature it is contraindicated for pregnant women and in the postpartum period, also for those who have had recent joint replacement surgery.
A typical yin class will begin with gathering various yoga props to use and moving into a short centering with focus on the breath. Very few poses, maybe 5 or 6 at the most, poses will be practiced yet they will be held for a longer time-holds can be anywhere from 3 minutes to 10 minutes. Expect to feel a lot as you work deeply to unwind chronic tension or stiffness in the body. You will also work with the meditative aspect of yoga with lots of time for stillness and quiet as you hold poses.
-We all age and this is one of the best ways to keep the joints safe, healthy and flexibile as well as increase bone density.
-The longer quiet holds give the student time to cultivate a calmer and more peaceful state of mind.
-Long periods of time spent opening tight areas of the body and dealing with the ensuing discomfort help the student build confidence and equanimity to face bigger challenges off the mat.
-Increased self-awareness of the deeper aspects of self
-Improving flow of energy through the meridians–specific postures target the health and vitality of different organs
-To leave your mat feeling at peace and calm, as though you could float through the rest of your day!