Yin Yoga’s Just A Restorative Class, Right?

Oh, it’s far more than that.

Yin yoga is a practice of long-hold postures that carefully loads the body’s connective tissues along their inherent lines of tension, ultimately stimulating fascia, ligaments, and joints. At first, the idea of exercising joints, ligaments, and fascia might seem counterintuitive. Dangerous even. But it’s healthful. Rejuvenating, actually!

Practicing Yin yoga promotes full, free, and youthful ranges of motion in the hips and low back.

The rhythm and repetition of the usual athletic endeavors, oft within a narrow range of motion, or the relative immobility typical of much of daily life conspire to restrict mobility. Tight, stiff hips and low backs leave even the young looking and feeling old and infirm. Yin yoga selectively stimulates areas normally overloaded or overlooked, slowly, quietly, and inconspicuously.

You won’t sweat, but it’s not easy. Since Yin yoga resides a bit farther up the intensity spectrum than its Restorative counterpart, its therapeutic effects come from the body’s favorable adaptation to the applied stresses. Again, Yin postures direct their stress into the joints and surrounding tissues of the hips and the low back — where it counts — ultimately freeing up an individual’s full, natural range of motion. After a while, the resulting mobility is seen and felt as renewed youthfulness regardless of age. And, these static Yin postures by definition complement the rhythmic, repetitive nature of ubiquitous Yang sports and activities precisely because of their stillness. It’s this dynamics of training that makes Yin yoga the real yoga for athletes. And it goes further.

Taiji symbol
The Taiji

At risk of sounding a bit esoteric, what ultimately emerges is a Tao of exercise, a balance between Yin & Yang. The middle path. The Way. Natural cycles abide by the Tao, depicted as the eternal waltz of the black & white paisleys of the Taiji. And, it’s really not so mystical. Just concrete, day-to-day stuff. Inhale, exhale. Wakefulness, sleep. Work, rest. Properly understood: the dance of life. Join in … consciously.

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