Everyday we are rushing around, work to do, groceries to pick up, children to look after, friends to see, we all live a busy 'yang' life style without taking time out for ourselves. To create balance in our lives sometimes we just totally need to slow down and just do nothing - enter yin yoga !
Yin yoga is a gentle yet challenging practice that helps us heal both our heart and our mind. It allows us time to sit within ourselves, drop into our own body ,just be still, bring our awareness inwards , and to notice what the body and mind are telling us.It forces us to be present with everything and anything that comes up both mentally and physically. It differs enormously from Vinyasa (a yang style of practice )yet is the perfect complement! Yin is a seated, grounding practice, within which poses are held for 3-5 minutes in order to bring mobility to the joints and ligaments and peace to the mind..
By having a Yin and a Yang yoga practice (a yang practice is any vigourous style of yoga eg, power, vinyasa...), you are creating a beautiful balance within your life and a unique sense of calmness you will feel both physically and mentally. By practicing this style of yoga we are able to work deep into the facias and to transform the way the body moves and unblock energy channels to let prana flow freely around the body.
The time spent in these postures can be compared to time spent in guided meditation as your teacher will gently tell you where to draw your attention, how to calm your mind to let go of negative thoughts and how to use your breathe.Whilst working with the body by breaking through connective tissue and facias, students will find themselves breaking through old emotional patterns and coming out of class stronger. Not only in the body, but in the mind as well.
Below are 3 simple Yin poses to start your yin practice. To begin you may want to hold the poses for a minimum of 1 minute and gradually build up so that you hold each pose for at least 3 minutes.
Begin in either Downward Facing Dog or table top. Extend the right leg back behind you. Bring the right knee to the right wrist and the right foot to the left wrist. The shin can be perpendicular to the front edge of your mat (90 degrees), or in towards the groin (45 degrees).
This depends on the flexibility of the hips and the shape of your skeleton. Begin to settle in, adjusting the leg to avoid excess pressure on the knee joint and bring the pelvis to center.
Root down through your front leg and balance your weight evenly between your right and left hips. Avoid having one hip higher than the other, or one hip in front of the other. Adjust the back leg so it is long and extended on the mat, top of the foot pressing down.Fold forward from the waist, bringing your chest towards the knee and shin, coming down to the forearms. Eventually the arms will extend long in front of you and the forehead will rest on the mat.
Lie on your back, draw your knees into your chest, and softly roll to your right side as though you were going to sleep. Slowly lift your left arm and take it to your left side, allowing the upper left shoulder to rest toward the ground. You can keep your left hand on your left waist for a while, and then gradually reach your left arm farther to the left to increase the twist. Stay 1 for a minimum then switch sides.
Lie down on your belly. Clasp your elbows with the opposite hands and move the elbows just ahead of your shoulders, propping yourself up. Notice how this feels in your lower back. If the sensations are too strong, move your elbows further ahead, lowering your chest closer to the floor. If you like, you can place your palms flat on the floor in front of you like a sphinx.