What’s this yin yoga thing anyway?

I talk about yin yoga a lot, but I don’t know that I’ve ever actually described what it is. Here’s a link to a yoga journal article that does a good job explaining it. If you don’t feel like linking over for some reason (like you’re on your very ancient work computer that barely has enough RAM to open a web browser), here’s a quick summary: Yin Yoga is a very passive style of yoga, focused on the lower body, that stretches the tendons and ligaments instead of just the muscles. In yin yoga, you hold a pose a lot longer (sometimes 3 minutes or more) and don’t actively try to stretch. Instead of keep a flat back in forward folds, you might round your shoulders and relax a little. Yin Yoga uses a lot of props, like blankets and blocks, to make you comfortable and relaxed.

Because of all this, yin is difficult for me. Vinyasana yoga (which is a LOT more active) keep me focuses because there’s almost constant movement. In yin, you’re basically just sitting there, stretching, and *gasp* meditating. I think that’s one of the reasons I really like it. It’s hard, but I feel so good afterward that I can’t hate it.

Yin yoga gets its name from it’s passive nature. It’s directly derived from the idea of yin and yang. And it’s perfect for winter, since yin is associated with these attributes: Dark, Cold, Passive, Inside, Solid, Slow.
I don’t think I really need to explain why those are fitting for winter.

If you don’t have a yoga studio near you that does yin yoga classes, check out yoga journal’s website—just search yin yoga and some great articles will pop up. Or you can get this set from amazon.com. Or you can google yin yoga videos or go to yogatoday.com and check out their yin classes. Whichever you do, read this article before you try it at home; it’s a yoga journal article that explains the four basic tenants of yin yoga and how to replicate them at home.

Bottom line: yin is great, but it’s not for everyone. So give it a try and find out if it’s for you!

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