What is Yin Yoga and Why Practice?
Yin Yoga : What and Why
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a deep, yielding, meditative and reflective practice that allows us to target the deeper tissues in the body, our connective tissues - deep fascial networks, ligaments, joints, bones - rather than the muscles. The postures include a variety of seated or supine poses that target the deeper connective tissues that run throughout the hips, legs and spine. The poses are held from 3-5 minutes to allow appropriate time for the connective tissues to be stimulated through slow, sustained, appropriate stress. With dedicated practice we can experience increased range of motion, flexibility, circulation and strength.Yin Yoga is a very nourishing practice with profound physical, emotional and energetic benefits, bringing balance to our dynamic, constant on-the-go lifestyles!
Energetic and Meditative Benefits of Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga not only works the physical tissues of the body, but also stimulates energy pathways (meridians) that run up and down our body that move our Chi (energy). The practice of Yin helps to stimulate and open these energetic pathways that can become blocked by the stressors of daily life. With our Chi energy flowing freely we can balance the bodies internal organs and systems, creating more harmony and balance in our lives.Yin Yoga can also become a meditative and deeply reflective practice. As we hold the poses for time, we have the opportunity to move our attention in-ward, developing an attitude of mindfulness. Learning to sit with ourselves as we are without judgement or self-criticism. Learning to sit still gives us a chance to do an "inner inventory" and develop an honest relationship with our feelings and emotions without having to act upon them or add the story. Ultimately, Yin can help us learn to cultivate kindness and compassion for ourselves.
Physical Benefits of Yin Yoga
- Improved ROM (range of motion), circulation, flexibility and strength
- Reduction of stress and anxiety
- Mindfulness practice
- Calms and balances the body and mind
- Improved flow of Chi (energy) through the meridians, increasing our vital energy levels
Practice Tonight: Butterfly Pose
If you have only 5 minutes in your day to do one Yin pose, Butterfly pose would be it! Butterfly is an all-over opener for the body- stressing the connective tissues of the hips, low back and legs. From a seated position, bring soles of feet together creating a nice wide diamond shape with your legs. Allowing your back to round, fold forward and pause when you start to feel significant sensation. Remember to release any extra effort and muscular engagement, letting time and gravity develop the pose. Lightly resting your hands on your feet or the floor. Head hangs heavy or resting your forehead on a block or bolster. Once you have found your significant sensation, start to draw your awareness inward, using the breath to carry you to the sensation of your body in this pose. Open and yield to the pose for 3-5 minutes. To come out of the pose, taking a couple breaths, slowly uncurl the spine back to neutral. Lean back into your hands and place soles of feet on mat, windshield wiper knees side-to-side for counter pose.
About Kristen Barfield
Kristen Barfield knew even before attending her first yoga class that there was something special about the practice. It was something that kept calling to her as she raised her family and worked nights as a Labor and Delivery nurse. Kristen kept thinking that there had to be something more than the traditional fitness paradigm. After attending her first Hatha class Kristen knew she was home. Kristen’s yoga journey has carried her through the mental and physical highs and lows of her life. Yoga truly meets you where you are at everyday. Kristen comes to her mat with gratitude and a sense of wonder of how her practice of yoga continues to teach her about her true self on and off the mat. Community, practice and mindfulness are what Kristen hopes to share.