What is yin yoga? You have heard the phrase “yin and yang” or you could say feminine or masculine. If not, I believe the words originated in China. They describe the polar opposites like feminine and masculine or negative and positive. Yang is considered masculine and yin feminine. Yang is hot and yin is cool. Yang practices are strong and active, while yin practices are soft and passive. Both are equally potent and both should be used according to one’s needs. If your energy is low or you’re feeling weak or if you are dealing with an illness, you may desire a physical exercise that’s more gentle or passive, something that requires less physical effort and energy. Sounds like you are in the mood for a yin practice.
Some people, in a general sense, might simply resonate more with one of these types of practices yet there may still be times when the other is appropriate. For example, as stated above, if your energy is low or you are feeling weak or dealing with something that is limiting you even if you traditionally are drawn to something more active, you may need something more passive like a yin yoga sequence.
Both feminine and masculine offer similar and also unique benefits. Both will stretch and release muscles and tension, both will get the blood flowing and both can give a very relaxing effect. Yet, where yang yoga will give you a definite endorphin high, yin benefits will give you a deep and sedated effect. Where yang will help with strength and stamina, yin’s deep release of muscles and connective tissue is second to none. This is a simple and straightforward yin practice definition.
When I was younger, what I liked to do is mix things up where I practice yang style most of the time and added a yin style practice now and then. Yet as I age, what I like to do is have a yang and yin yoga class within the same class. In other words, I may slow it down for some time within my practice and then at one point within the same practice I may start to amp things up to some degree and then within the same practice still I may again slow things down.
In other words, you can mix and match and within a yin yoga flow you can have some yang moments so to speak, or vice versa. After all, your energy may be low and you may feel a little weak yet at one point pithing your yin practice you may feel inspired to do a little more. What I’ve noticed for myself is that I’m a slow starter. My body loves the slow, soft gentle beginning and then I like to amp things up at some point or another.
This is how my body likes to work, yet I’ve noticed there is not a lot of gentle yoga online that offer classes that have a little yang as well. So if I’m following a yin yoga flow online, I may have to hit the pause button and add a little yang myself.
What is most common about all feminine yoga classes is not only the type of pose which is a more passive less heat producing movement, but also the length of time one spends within the pose. I’ve heard a yin pose needs to be at least two minutes long as that’s the amount of time it takes for the facia to be accessed within a stretch. So plan on spending at least two minutes in each pose and sometimes much longer than that. Even if it’s a yin yoga for beginners class.
This type of class is not so egotistically gratifying as you will not be burning calories or developing your muscles but it is deeply satiating and healing and I highly recommend it. We offer a class on our online streaming platform called “Long, Slow and Deep.” If your experience is like so many others, you will have never left a yoga class more stoned!