People Who Practice This Yoga Style Are Chill AF
Pinterest is a funny place. For every delicious festival braid and best-selling beauty product, there's a recipe for zoats (that's zucchini cooked with oats) and directions on how to crochet a naked Matthew McConaughey. In short, it's a mixed bag. Which is why when I first learned that yin yoga was trending on the site (search and save is up 50 percent on last year), I didn't know what to think. Despite practicing yoga weekly for over twelve months I had never come across the practice before. I wasn't even quite sure what it was. As I've since found out, that's not particularly surprising. The little-known practice has only been around since the '70s, and hasn't been as publicly celebrated as active (think: vinyasa or hatha) yoga. I can only speculate that its sudden spike in popularity is due to our ever-growing need to chill out. That, and the subtle shift that's been taking place between what exercise and working out really means. As someone with a chronically busy mind and anxiety issues, I was keen to learn more. I'm not good at meditation (too much still) so the idea of some movement appealed to me. Turns out, this obscure yoga style could be a game changer.
For everything you need to know about yin yoga, keep scrolling.
WHAT IS YIN YOGA?
According to Brett Larkin of Yogi Times, yin yoga differs from active yoga in several important ways. First off, yin yoga is intended to be passive and restorative, as opposed to strong and sweaty. Because of this, most poses are done lying on the ground, and sometimes using bolsters and cushions. If that makes it all sound a bit easy, consider that poses are held for three to five minutes. Also, a big part of regular yoga is resisting gravity, however, in yin yoga, practitioners use gravity to allow their bodies to sink into the ground. The whole point of practice is to gently stretch tight connective tissues, primarily in the lower back and hips. Larkin says benefits include; increased range of movement, decompression of the back, and an increase in synovial fluid (a substance that reduces friction) in the spine and joints. Yin yoga is quite literally the yin to active yoga's yang.
WHO SHOULD PRACTICE?
It is said yin yoga can be practiced by everyone from beginners to the advanced, however, the ideal candidate must be both grounded and somewhat flexible. Because each pose is held for a relatively long time, an ability to stay present for extended periods—and through uncomfortableness—is key. In fact, that's part of the challenge. Some practitioners believe prior yoga experience is helpful in that regular yogis are better able to recognise when a pose has become potentially injurious as opposed to "strong". Ultimately the choice is yours, however, we recommend seeking out a qualified instructor as opposed to hitting up YouTube for guidance if you're inexperienced. You can do some serious damage to some very delicate parts of your body, if you don't know what you're doing.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Aside from the aforementioned increase in mobility, yin yoga is said to; balance both mind and body, lower stress and anxiety, improve stamina, lubricate and protect joints, promote flexibility, provide fascia release, help relieve pain and tightness from TMJ (a jaw joint disorder) and migraines, and improve the practice of both active yoga and meditation. Devotee say yin yoga can also help to remove roadblocks for people who struggle with acknowledging their emotions, and those who have trouble simply sitting still.
Keep scrolling to shop some yin yoga essentials.