What is Yin?
Yin Yoga is a counterpart and contrast to the forms of yoga more commonly practised in the UK. Where those 'yang' styles of yoga stretch, extend and work the muscle groups through active 'poses', Yin works on the joints and connective tissues to gently and persistently increase flexibility, mobility and strength.
Providing a counterbalance to the fast pace of modern living, each pose in yin yoga is held for several minutes, usually between 3 and 5. This is a lot longer than most types of yang style postures where poses are usually only held for a few breaths. The yin theory is that by relaxing into a posture over a prolonged period of time, you gain deeper access to the body, therefore unlocking mobility in the joints by softening the muscles and moving closer to the bone.
People often confuse yin yoga and restorative yoga. They have different purposes, however: You need to be in good health to practise yin yoga and it can be a challenging style of yoga. Yin yoga teacher 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 this practise will come from staying in this zone of discomfort, despite the mind's urgent pleas to leave.’
Yin yoga is a deep, meditative and reflective practise. It works deep into the connective tissues, fascia, joints and bones which are not often explored in other forms of yoga and exercise. Through yin yoga practise we can allow ourselves the space and time to travel inwards.