Yin Yoga: Deep Stretching Of The Body’s Connective Tissues

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is a less-popular form of yoga which is performed to stretch the connective tissues of the body. Primary connective tissues include the hips, thighs and lower spinal area. These types of tissues do not stretch the muscles (as in the yang form of yoga) but they stretch and exercise the bone and joints areas of the body. This type of asana practice is beneficial to a wide variety of people.

Yin yoga is a perfect match for yang yoga, and provides a deeper stretch. Although yin yoga is not as intense as other yang forms of yoga, its long duration can be difficult to maintain. The duration of some posture positions may last up to 20 minutes at a time. Yin yoga is sometimes offered at eating disorder treatment clinics, inpatient drug treatment centers, or even for those seeking pain treatment and trauma recovery.

Yin and Yang Yoga

Most people familiar with yoga, are familiar with yang yoga, as this tends to be more common in Western culture. Yang yoga stimulates the muscles in the body, encouraging strength and great physical health. Over time however, if yin yoga is not practiced, the body will weaken and the joints of the body will become susceptible to injury. As one ages, a lack of flexible joints in the body increases the risk of pain.

Yin yoga also increases one’s ability to perform yang yoga. By having lubricated, flexible joints, yang practices will seem easier. Perhaps the main difference in yin and yang yoga is each practices affect on the mind. Yin yoga creates a balance and peace in the mind. In its earlier years of existence, yin yoga was used in order to improve meditation practices. Yin and yang yoga may both be helpful in treating those in need of alcohol rehab and drug treatment as each provides physical health as well as mental stability.

Practice of Yin Yoga

During the practice of yin yoga, asanas (a variety of positions) are performed. Yang yoga however, has many more asanas than yin yoga. No more than 3 dozen asanas are used for yin yoga. This is due to the fact that in yin yoga, various positions are held for a long time (minutes at a time) compared to the short duration of yang postures.

10 Different Yin Yoga Asanas

  1. Butterfly
  2. Happy baby
  3. Swan
  4. Caterpillar
  5. Lying twists
  6. Deer
  7. Sphinx and seal
  8. Dragonfly
  9. Toe squat
  10. Frog

Another definition uses in yin yoga is something called a flow. A flow is a set of asanas designed to be practiced in a certain pattern, the pattern differs according to each specific flow. Yin yoga is practiced as a part of a larger yoga form called Taoist Yoga. The practice of yin yoga is performed to regulate the flow of energy in the body. This energy is called “chi” and when its flow in the body is strong, a person is healthy.

Benefits of Yin Yoga

Yin yoga improves the body in a variety of ways. These may include:

  • Feeling calm and balanced
  • Regulated energy levels (chi)
  • Greater strength
  • Improved health
  • Stress levels lowered
  • Greater stamina
  • Flexibility of the body’s connective tissues and joints
  • Slowed signs of aging
  • Improved meditation
  • Deeper relaxation
  • Improved practice of yang yoga

This type of yoga may be beneficial to a variety of people. These people may be experienced or beginners of yoga. Anyone attending drug rehab, eating disorder treatment, or seeking pain and trauma recovery may find this yoga form useful in treating their condition. In fact, professionals at drug and alcohol rehab centers, pain and trauma treatment centers or at eating disorder residential centers will often offer classes for yin yoga.