What is Yin Yoga – by Laura Green | Yin Yoga Southampton
As human beings we are hard wired to instinctively seek out equilibrium; through either the involuntary responses of the body or voluntary actions of the mind. You feel too hot – your body’s involuntary response is perspiration whilst the voluntary action of the mind tells you to open a window; you feel too cold – your body shivers and your mind tells you to get a jumper. This is an essential necessity for survival. Yet we are finding more ways to override this wisdom of the body for temporary gain with little regard for the long term consequences. Read on to learn more about how yin yoga can help or attend a yin yoga in Southampton with Laura.
Example: you’re working long hours under the pressure of deadlines, you feel very tired, involuntarily the sleeping centre of the brain kicks in, your eye lids get heavy, your reactions slow down, your concentration dwindles etc; the voluntary mind should make you go to bed and sleep but instead you get a strong cup of coffee. The caffeine kicks in and overpowers the body’s involuntary response. Short term result – we bravely soldier on and complete the task. This becomes a rinse and repeat cycle of always wanting, doing and achieving more – this is the yang cycle.
Yang without Yin leads stress, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, burnout, heart attacks, fertility issues, digestive issues etc. Equally Yin without Yang leads to lethargy, depression, isolation, weight gain etc.
Yoga teaches that equilibrium comes from balancing opposites. Yet we live in a world with preferences, likes and dislikes and have lost any sense of equanimity. So time and again we are drawn to the things we like, prioritise, or value highly and disregard the rest, taking us further out of balance. Generally speaking, both society and we as individuals value the Yang over the Yin, the Active over the Passive and the Masculine over the Feminine. Whereas we need to balance these opposites, we need both the Yin and the Yang. It is the practise of embracing equanimity in search of equilibrium.
How Yin Yoga Works to Balance the Body
‘Yin Yoga’ is slow-paced with postures that are held for long periods of time. These long held postures are done when the body is cold and not warmed up.
At first this can seem very unusual but it serves the intention which is to focus less on stretching the muscles and more on working into the joints, ligaments, tendons and fascia of the body. It is less about ‘stretching’ these tissues as they don’t have the same elasticity as muscles, but more about ‘stressing’ them through holding them under tension for longer periods which overtime will improve the length, strength and thickness of the tissues.
Just like Thai Yoga Massage there is a focus on stimulating the movement of prana along the Meridian lines and a close connection to Tradition Chinese Medicine. The golden rule of Yin Yoga through the eyes of Patanjali is sthira sukham asanam – the postures must be steady and comfortable. Yin Yoga also draws inspiration from Daoism and applies one of its key philosophies ‘Live in harmony with the way and you will benefit. Struggle against the way things are and you will suffer’.
Yin Yoga generally targets the lower body with only around 26 official postures, but the principles can be applied to a variety of postures. It is a deeply healing practise both mentally and physically.
Why not try a Yin Yoga class to experience full balancing effects for yourself?
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