Sara Smith

 

Starting a yoga practice is intimidating, and it’s hard to know what style of class to take. Yin style yoga provides a great starting point for any beginner. This style offers a gentle way to tap into the body and mind. In Yin yoga, there are fewer postures in a sequence held for a longer time. A posture in yin is held anywhere from three to five minutes. Many poses have the element of being done sitting or laying down allowing gravity to support the posture as result. Additionally, props like blocks and yoga bolsters provide extra support and focus on supporting the body reduces the risk of injury. The supportive approach of yin yoga helps target deep connective tissue. This occurs through relaxing the muscles instead of stretching and lengthening. This is in contrast to other styles that require muscle engagement to perform faster dynamic movements. 

 

 

 

 

This gentle practice offers many benefits for the joints. Through supported poses tissues surrounding the large joints of the body including the hips, spine, and shoulders are able to relax. Joints are better lubricated and blood circulation in improved in surrounding areas because of this deeper level relaxation. Additionally, holding poses for longer builds strength to support the joints. With many poses preformed on the ground yin can improve flexibility without being weight bearing on the joints. Proper body alignment is essential for joint health. A slower and less intense practice like yin brings focus to making adjustments in body alignment. Practicing proper alignment on the mat helps promote easy and mindful movement in daily life.

 

This slower pace of practice also provides great mental benefits. More time in each posture creates a series of mini-meditations. Enhanced mind-body connection occurs through being in stillness and feeling changes in the body throughout the time in a pose. In addition this slowing down allows for time to focus on breathing. Deep conscious breathing provides stress reduction and aids building focus.