Yoga For The Joints – Yin Yoga
Article by Keira Benson
Hatha, Ashtanga and Sivananda are some of the more well-known yoga forms that can be used in the pursuit of mental and physical fitness.
Set apart from those systems is the unusual practice of Yin Yoga.
Combining traditional Hatha postures, Taoist philosophy and meridian theory, Yin Yoga is a beautiful form of yogic practice.
It works well as a counter-balance to the harder yang forms of exercise e.g. power yoga, Ashtanga yoga, running, swimming, etc., or the stressful, fast pace of a modern lifestyle, making it a perfect addition to your usual exercise routine.
Yin Yoga’s three main tenets are:
(1) come to the appropriate depth of the pose, the place where the body naturally stops, where you begin to feel sensation and unfolding in the body, free from any muscular tension and pain, where your breath remains natural soft and gentle;
(2) achieve stillness, permitting passivity within the tissues around the targeted area as the body surrenders into the shape;
(3) hold the posture for a long period of time. Normally each pose would be maintained for about five minutes.
Yin Yoga focuses on strengthening and lengthening the connective tissue (ligaments, tendons, and fascia), reaching down and stimulating the flow of chi through the energy conduits of the body.
Connective tissue responds best to long passive holds, rather than rhythmic movement, which is better suited to the muscles. This is why it is often referred to as yoga for the joints.
Yin Yoga brings yoga back to its internal meditative roots and has profound physical, emotional and energetic benefits:
Physically, Yin Yoga helps maintain the agility and mobility of the joints below the navel and above the knee, finding more comfort in the body in stillness and more grace in movement.
Energetically, Yin Yoga is essentially needle-less acupuncture, enabling your energy system to find its own natural equilibrium, balance and harmony.
Emotionally, Yin creates a space to breathe, to remain still and simply observe in a non-attached way the array of emotions that ebb and flow, cultivating acceptance of what is, breeding an emotional resilience and maturity.
Psychologically, this practice can help develop the capacity to concentrate, to focus our attention, to cultivate awareness of what is arising within.
If you’re looking to expand your yoga repertoire, accessing the body’s inherent wisdom in a way not normally reached in other forms of yoga, the beautiful and unique practice of Yin Yoga is an ideal direction to consider.
About the Author
Keira Benson enjoys the benefits of the soft passive holds of Yin Yoga which can be incorporated into regular yoga practice.
Liz Smith is the only Yin Yoga teacher in Essex. For more information about Yin Yoga in Southend-on-Sea, visit: http://www.shambhalastudios.com http://www.yinyogainessex.co.uk or email: [email protected]
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