Or… yoga you’re not likely to find at a gym. Why? Because most people won’t find it “hard enough”. But if you understand it, it’s really intense. And it’s really beneficial for both body and mind.
If you’re not a yogi, when you think “yoga”, you think “stretch”. If you’ve only taken a gym yoga class, you might think of a fast-paced series of poses. The former is more accurate for yin… let me explain…
Of the different styles of yoga, this may be the most relaxing. Many styles of exercise–or even vinyasa yoga (where you’re constantly moving between poses with the breath) involve “yang”, or a lot of movement. The theory is that we must balance yin and yang for proper health… most of us, who never stretch or meditate, only focus on the “yang” aspect. Hence, imbalance.
Yin yoga is different in that stretches can be held for 3-5 minutes. Your body relaxes or melts into them, sometimes even adjusting more deeply into the position, ending up stretching more deeply.
The benefits for flexibility are obvious. But there are other benefits. Holding a pose for a few minutes, breathing slowly, is meditative and calming for the entire body. Also, as some of these stretches can be intense (don’t think of a yin class as “easy” by any means), we learn persistence–breathing through mild discomfort (not pain, of course!) and knowing that, if we just focus on our breath, we can make it through. 🙂
I’ve been taking some yin classes at a local studio… and have had such great experiences that I might consider a certification at some point. (But just like I think Pilates is great for everyone, here I go… getting all preachy that yin yoga benefits everyone! Ha!)
Anyone else have a great experience with yin? If you haven’t tried it, do!
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Tags: exercise, flexibility exercise, yin yoga, yoga
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