Summer feels like a distant memory, Autumn has flown by. Before you start feeling blue about the incoming winter, now is the perfect time to realign your energy and embrace the balancing benefits of Yin Yoga. Winter is made for us to rest and revitalize our minds and bodies. While the shorter days and colder temperatures obligate a more indoor lifestyle, they also provide us with the opportunity to look inwards and harmonize any imbalances within ourselves. It can be tempting to make like the hibernating animals and hide under the duvet until the sun comes out but using the winter season to focus on yourself can have year-round benefits.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga fuses the fundamental ideas behind Chinese medicine with the more traditional yoga postures or asanas. Yin Yoga is a slower meditative practice that aims to stimulate circulation and improve flexibility. Asanas are held for between 3 - 5 minutes, with the main intent to achieve inner silence by using a specific sequence of poses to vitalize the meridians. According to Chinese medicine, the meridians are the channels through which the life energy referred to as “qi” flows. Hatha yoga uses a corresponding concept with the nadi channels. Both the meridians and nadis represent the subtle body or our energetic body within the physical form referring to our emotions, mind, intellect, and ego.
Where does Yin Yoga fit into my practice?
As the name suggests yin yoga is rooted in the concept of yin and yang. The idea of duality, opposites which are both necessary to interconnect and achieve balance. This is why the practice consists of a combination of both passive and dynamic poses. Yin yoga is intended not so much as a complete practice but more of an addition to your existing wellness routine to promote health and longevity. If you struggle with meditation and find it difficult to concentrate and stop your mind racing, Yin yoga can be a great way to start your journey into inner reflection. As the practice still involves light movement it can be less intense and easier to navigate for students who aren’t used to sitting still. It can also be a great counterbalance for anyone who does contact sports or intense cardio workouts.
What I can expect from classes?
Classes can vary from a focus on the entire body or concentrate on a specific area. The teacher gives “Dharma talks” during the hold times of the different postures to help explain what the asana is for and the energy being shifted. More than just the physical benefits, the deeper purpose of yin yoga is to “open the heart and invoke the primal self”. Because the practice involves lengthening the connective tissue and improving flexibility props are often used to support the bones in order for the muscles to fully release. Most classes will involve using blocks, bolsters, and blankets to aid the bod
Yin yoga is just one of the reasons to look forward to winter this year along with nights in by the fire, luxury cashmere sweaters, soup and hot cacao. Embracing Yin Yoga is the ultimate way to end the year on a positive note.
Light some scented candles, put on a cashmere jumper and roll out your yoga mat. A yin yoga class whether at a studio or cozy in your own home will balance and re energize you for the coming year.