Yin is a slow, soothing, and meditative style of yoga that targets the deep connective tissues, bones, joints, fascia, and ligaments in the body. It also focuses on stretching and stimulating different acupressure points from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In Yin Yoga, we hold mostly passive poses for about two to five minutes to work into our connective tissues.
The more we work our fascial system and deep tissues, the less dense and tight our bodies become as we age. Movement and stretching hydrate fascia and literally help slow the aging process.
Lengthening extremely tight tissues can be an uncomfortable practice, but using this time to focus on breathing is a large part of Yin Yoga and also one of the many Yin Yoga benefits. Typically when we experience discomfort, our bodies naturally become tense and we use our fight-or-flight response. Yin Yoga teaches us to reroute the mind and slow the heart rate when we experience discomfort.
A leading teacher in Yin Yoga, Bernie Clark says: “Yin Yoga is not meant to be comfortable; it will take you well outside your comfort zone. Much of the benefit of the practice will come from staying in this zone of discomfort, despite the mind’s urgent pleas to leave.”
Eventually, your mind will remain relaxed throughout your entire practice and you will be able to release the tension and more easily stretch your connective tissues.
"You need to experience this to really know what Yin Yoga is all about. After you have experienced it, even just once, you will realize that you have been doing only half of the asana practice."