The Chinese concept of yin and yang involves two opposing forces.
However, between the two opposing forces like balance, connectivity, and interdependence.
While yang represents movement, activity, heat, dynamism, and “doing,” yin is the exact opposite.
Yin represents passivity, femininity, coolness, resting, and “being.”
Any form of movement, including yoga variations can be divided into yin or yang, depending on the inherent qualities they possess.
For instance, Ashtanga yoga is considered yang yoga as it focuses on stamina, strength, and dynamic movement.
Yin yoga on the other hand is the exact opposite.
Unlike Ashtanga, it focuses primarily on surrender and mindfulness as opposed to perfect form or strength.
Taking into account its many benefits, many consider yin yoga to be nothing short of transformative.
Here, we have listed down some of the reasons to give yin yoga a try:
It is the perfect antidote to today’s fast-paced life.
No pain, no gain.
Hustle like there’s no tomorrow.
Work hard. Play harder.
These are just some of the typical catch cries of today’s modern generation.
While these quintessential mantras can definitely help motivate us to do better, it has also made us forget about the flip-side—just be, surrender, let go, take it easy, and slow down.
Nowadays, the unbalanced outlook many people have has been credited for the epidemic of exhaustion, burn out, depression, and other stress-related illnesses.
In today’s modern world, it is safe to assume that it has become a “yang” based culture that promotes and values rushing, competing, and chasing after outcomes that are external.
In line with this, there is a need to deliberately integrate the yin element in order to counterbalance this unhealthy addiction to doing.
And one effective way to do this would be to incorporate yin yoga in one’s day-to-day life.
It will help you effectively shift from the “doing” mode to the “being” mode.
At first glance, it would seem like holding yoga poses for so long might not do much.
This can be unnerving especially if you are not used to just being still.
However, if you will choose to shift gear and just surrender totally, you will be rewarded with a truly deep relaxation state.
In addition, once you get the hang of noticing the breath and the sensations that goes on in your body, you will easily achieve both meditation and mindfulness.
This is especially beneficial if you are someone who gets bored during formal meditation styles that require sitting upright for long periods.
It can serve as the ideal counterbalance to your other workout regimen.
If you work out at a gym or run, incorporating yin yoga in the mix would be ideal so you can have the perfect counterbalance to those yang based exercises.
Yang based exercises are often forceful, intense, and repetitive and will not only result in tightness in certain parts of the body but also wear and tear of the joints.
Fortunately, with yin yoga, you are not required to push yourself or your body beyond your limits.
The deep stretching incorporated in the practice can help keep injuries at bay while the mindful attention needed in the practice will help you develop more acceptance and awareness of your body’s limitations.
It can help release any of the body’s built-up tension.
If you sweat a river doing vigorous, dynamic, and yang based yoga variations like Bikram, Ashtanga, or Vinyasa, you will discover yin yoga to be a welcome change.
Rather than performing strength-building poses that are designed to work on your muscles, yin yoga’s long-held and deep poses focuses on the release of built up tension in the connective tissue or the fascia.
It can also effectively transform your life off the mat as well.
Undoubtedly, one of the most amazing benefits of a dedicated yin yoga practice is the transformation you will experience off the mat.
As you stretch deeply and deliberately, you will also learn to be more compassionate, patient, and accepting of both your body and its limitations.
The intangible insights you will learn from practicing yin yoga will definitely become evident in your life as you go along.
Case in point, if you are used to working long hours without even taking any breaks in between, you will notice that you no longer want to do that.
If you used to want to scream at a clerk who is unbelievably slow, you will notice that you will choose to just breathe and surrender instead.
Are you being unkind to yourself because you were not able to get everything done on your unrealistic to-do list?
As you practice yin yoga, you will become more forgiving not just to others but more importantly, to yourself.
Have you tried yin yoga?
How has the practice changed your life?
Let us know in the comments below!