September 2 2015

Yin Yoga—Why it Could Be Just What the Doctor Ordered

Yin Yoga—Why it Could Be Just What the Doctor Ordered

Written by Marion Werner, RevUp Health Coach

What is Yoga?

Yoga means “to yoke” or “to unite”. The platform for all yoga practice indicates a balance of the yin with the yang. Yoga’s many benefits—from reducing obesity, hypertension, chronic back pain, asthma, heart disease and arthritis; as well as being an effective treatment for cancer (in reducing discomfort and stress), menopause and depression—make it a smart addition to your daily exercise.

Busy people tend to have a lot of “yang” in their lives. Yangis a Chinese medicine term for heat, fire, and high-energy states of being. You may crave this high-energy in your workouts like boot camps, high intensity spin classes and the kind of yoga that makes you sweat! 

Many people, however, are calling for more balance and to temper that high intensity “yang” energy with it’s subdued opposite “yin”. Yin represents rest, subtleness, and coolness. Yin Yoga could very well answer this calling. 

Combat Stress and Improve Circulation with Yin Yoga

Unlike many other types of yoga, Yin Yoga poses are held for longer periods of time, usually around five minutes. The poses rely on gravity to deepen the stretch. On a physical level, Yin Yoga’s goal is to target the deep connective tissue known as the fascia. Fascia is a type of connective tissue existing around and inside everything, which forms under skin and attaches and separates muscles.

As we age, our connective tissue stiffens, limiting circulation, which in turn affects the mind and the brain. Yin Yoga offers us a way to unwind, to loosen up, and increase circulation.

The Practice:
Holding On and Letting Go 

1. Find Your Edge

Choose a pose that you feel comfortable getting into and staying in for a few minutes. If you’re a beginner, start with butterfly pose. For a more advanced pose, try the camel pose.

  • Move into the pose slowly and gently
  • Support yourself with props if necessary (blankets, bolsters, blocks)  
  • Listen to your body, waiting for a response before stretching deeper
  • Find your limit (without pushing yourself

2. Stay Awhile

Hold the pose for 3-5 minutes. Remember to keep breathing slowly. 

Let Go

Physically, it’s about relaxing the muscles, while mentally, it’s about calming the mind and the heart. 

Yin Yoga techniques, such as breathing and keeping still, increase blood flow, sending it to the tip of your limbs and relaxing your muscles. Balanced circulation can result in a healthier body and improved immune system.

Making yourself stay put and let go is sometimes easier said then done. It could be maddening even at first, to linger quietly in one position for minutes; yet, this could be something you desperately need! The Yin style of yoga is all about quieting things down. It helps with relieving tension, plus it has a positive effect on your nervous system and your brain.

Fans of sweating don’t need to abandon their intense cardio sessions—the whole point is harmony and creating more balance. Yin Yoga can be a supplement for anyone looking for more emotional and mental balance. In other words, Yin Yoga can be a supplement for us all.

In honor of National Yoga Month and in honor of your health, September is a perfect time to preserve the relaxation you gained from summer and find more balance going into fall. Add more yin to your yang and experience a more centered lifestyle!

Log your yoga session in RevUp and use the "Other" tag for type of activity. Share your experience with your RevUp Health Coach and talk to them about new yoga poses or techniques or ask them any questions you may have.

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