If you are an ardent Power Flow yoga practitioner and have not yet explored the challenge and beauty of a Yin class you may like to know a little more about the practice, as well as consider getting yourself to a Yin class in the near future. Yin is the perfect Power Flow partner.
Yin yoga is a balancing practice: physically, mentally and emotionally. Yin yoga is the complement to the more yang style yoga practice of Power Flow or Vinyasa. Where these yang styles of yoga are dynamic, active, heating, strengthening to the muscular aspect of the body and often goal directed; yin yoga is a quiet, still practice, with long holds in a posture promoting mobility of the joints. Where a yang practice cultivates the inner fire necessary for change and tones the muscular system; the contemplative yin practice provides the opportunity to develop insight to the deeper aspects of our self that has the potential for change whilst stimulating and affecting the deep connective tissues of the body.
On a physical level, the purpose of Yin Yoga is to restore mobility and increase resiliency of the joints. Yin yoga releases areas of tension in the myofascial web, and it supports the free flow of nutrition and chemistry into the deeper connective tissues. Most Yin postures target the joint areas between the knees and the navel; in particular the hip joints and the spine. Postures are typically held for 2 – 5 minutes creating either traction or compression at a joint site so that the connective tissues such as the fascia, ligaments and bones are stressed. It is the stress that stimulates growth and repair at the joint site. Yin Yoga also serves to rebalance the nervous system and counteract compromised cellular function associated with chronic low grade stress.
Energetically a Yin style practice stimulates the energetic channels of the Nadis and the Meridians with a similar effect to Chinese Medicine Acupuncture. The meridians run through the cellular matrix of the fascia and so as we stimulate the connective tissue at a joint site, so too do we affect the energetic channels; mobilising the natural flow of energy/chi; to promote both physical and emotional health and optimising vitality.
Yin Yoga is very much a healing practice. As emotional, thinking, human creatures, all that we think, all that we feel, registers in the tissues of our bodies. Yin Yoga provides the means to attend to our bodies, listening to where these emotions and thoughts have become lodged in our systems and then with the stimulation across the meridian channels in our long held yin postures a recalibration and restoring of harmony to the energetic channels occurs.
If you think you might be tempted to come along to one of the many Yin Classes on the Kozen Yoga schedule you may like to know the 3 key principles of a Yin practice. In moving into any posture, you find your first edge, commit to stillness and then to spend time in the posture usually 2 – 5 minutes. Students are encouraged to pause where they first feel sensation and to spend time becoming familiar with how the sensation manifests. As the body relaxes and the mind settles you will find your body opens and allows you to go into a deeper expression that is afforded only by the time and the purposeful quietening of the mind.
A word of warning though, Yin can be profoundly challenging especially for those who like to ‘go go go’ ……..making it the perfect antidote to those who are constantly on the treadmill of full and busy lives. If you haven’t tried Yin, it’s the perfect partner to Power Flow.
By Catherine Martin