10 tips for getting the best out of Yin Yoga

People often mistake the “Yin” style of yoga for restorative yoga. Well, it’s far from it.

Restorative is all about being comfortable and slowing down your nervous system. Allowing gravity to hold you and gently unwind tension.

Yin, on the other hand, puts both our bodies and minds through their paces. Holding the Yin posture for some time, the body has to endure a period where all those aches and tensions start to release, and it can be mildly uncomfortable when that build up starts to let go. Both in your body and your mind.

Believe me, when I say, your mind will start to bring up sensations of wanting to get out of the pose. And when you do, you will feel momentarily stuck. Before you stretch it out and allow all the unwinding to make essential space in your body.

It will also bring up emotions. This intimate practice of yoga requires students to be ready to get intimate with the self, with feelings, sensations, and emotions, can be easy to avoid in a fast-paced yoga practice.

But why would you want to put your body and through that? Well hands down, it is the best way to get into all the tightly packed connective tissue that can often get stuck with years of bad posture and stress-related tension.

And the stillness and time spent in the posture help with calming your mind. This concept in practice allows you greater mental stability, something much of which is a benefit of meditation, basically “learning to sit still.”

Here’s how to get the best out of your Yin:

  1. Observe the physical sensations that come up but don’t let your mind meander into the stories of how those areas got stuck in the first place
  2. When you get to the edge of the stretch, be really mindful not to push past it
  3. Keep in the pose as long as you can, the temptation to come out may reduce the benefits
  4. Never go into painful sensations
  5. Once you have arrived in the pose, let your breath be the only movement in your body
  6. Notice how both sides of your body may differ
  7. Use your breath as your queue to work through the edge and surrender
  8. Use this time to help your brain slow down by practising meditation techniques within each pose
  9. Come out of the pose slowly
  10. And then mobilise the area of focus with nourishing small movements to increase the circulation there

See you on the mat! 

Join Anna Olsson this weekend for her Candlelight Yin & Yoga Nidra evening on Friday the 17th!


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