ave you found yourself living a life full of stress and anxiety, in turn causing you to feel unhappy and unfulfilled? If so, are you looking for a way to reduce your stress levels or get rid of those things altogether? Giving Yin Yoga a try might be your ticket to living a more calm and enlightened life. Practicing this style of yoga offers many more benefits than just stress relief.
There are five main benefits that come from practicing Yin Yoga regularly. These include increased levels of flexibility and circulation, reduced stress and anxiety levels, feelings of calm and balance with the mind and body, improved joint mobility, and improved flow of Chi within one’s body.
The art of practicing yoga has been around for thousands of years and the benefits of yoga for millions of people is irrefutable. The benefits are both physical and mental and vary in levels of intensity, depending upon the type of yoga you practice. Some styles of yoga focus on comfortability, while others push physical boundaries. Continue reading to explore the direct benefits you will experience by practicing Yin Yoga.
(If you aren’t sure what yin yoga is, we’ve got you covered with that article!)
Does Yoga Really Improve Our Health?
This question has been raised many times by individuals who believe that only traditional forms of exercise and medicine yield results. Oftentimes, people (mostly men) are hesitant to embrace something new that claims to improve both mental and physical health. And though it may seem scary to work on establishing a deep connection with your inner self, you will not regret it or be able to deny the benefits. (check out why yoga is effective for men here!)
Your body will thank you in many ways for practicing yoga on a regular basis. Getting into a routine may be tough at first, especially since you may not be used to getting in uncomfortable positions. However, once you become more familiar with the poses, you will start to see an improvement in your flexibility. Yoga can also improve joint mobility and increase your overall awareness of your body.
Another benefit you will notice from practicing yoga regularly is an increase in mental focus and clarity. You will find that by learning how to center your body and control your breathing, you are also rewiring your brain to be calm and subsequently, reduce your level of stress at the same time.
There are many other health improvements that stem from practicing yoga, as well. These include:
- An increase in physical strength and overall muscle tone
- A reduction in feelings of anxiety and depression related to stress
- An increased level of concentration and focus
- A boost in metabolic rate and increased fat loss
- Improved overall bone health and wellness
Now that you know some of the ways that practicing yoga can improve your health, it is time to explore how Yin Yoga differs from the other many types of yoga that are out there.
How Is Yin Yoga Different From Other Yoga Practices?
There are many different styles of yoga practiced around the world each day. Each style offers a different level of intensity and skill, therefore yielding different benefits and results.
The major difference identified between practicing Yin Yoga, as opposed to other types of yoga, is the focus Yin Yoga places on working deeply into the body’s connective tissues to further strengthen an already healthy body.
More specifically, Yin Yoga focuses mainly on stretching connective tissues such as fascia, which literally surrounds and supports every part of our bodies. Practicing yoga in this manner helps to make these tissues stronger and lengthens them as well. So, you are not only strengthening the outside of your body but the inside as well. Doing this can help repair past damage, improve flexibility, posture, and joint mobility.
Here are some other facts unique to Yin Yoga:
- Yin Yoga was established by a martial artist named Paulie Zink in the late 1970s, making it a fairly ‘new’ style of yoga
- Yin Yoga targets the body’s deep connective tissues through poses intended mostly to work lower extremities such as the hips, lower spine, pelvis, etc., directly improving flexibility and mobility of joints
- Most poses are held for at least one to three minutes, but sometimes longer than five minutes to aChieve maximum benefits
- Yin Yoga is known to increase levels of energy and Chi within the body
Those are some of the many ways that Yin Yoga differs from other types of yoga, such as Restorative or Yang Yoga. Now it is time to explore the five main benefits of practicing Yin Yoga.
Doing all of this stretching and movement in one motion or a continued motion is called a sequence. You can learn all about yin yoga sequences in that article!
5 Benefits of Yin Yoga
Throughout this article, the overall health benefits of practicing yoga and the differences between Yin Yoga and other styles have been discussed. Yin Yoga was developed with the intention of strengthening the connective tissues of the body. This style of yoga was not made to make you comfortable. In fact, a certain level of discomfort while practicing Yin Yoga is a good sign.
The five main benefits of practicing Yin Yoga include the following:
- Increased flexibility and circulation
- Reduction of stress and anxiety
- Ability to achieve a calm and balanced mind and body
- Improved joint mobility
- Improved Chi
Now, it is time to discuss each benefit in further detail and explore what practicing this style of yoga can do for you and your body. After all, each different style of yoga focuses on different areas and yields different results.
Increased Flexibility and Circulation
One of the biggest benefits of practicing Yin Yoga is the changes it makes to your body’s level of flexibility, as well as the improvement you will experience in your circulation. While most forms of yoga help you to become more flexible in general, Yin Yoga consists of poses intended to increase one’s outward and inward flexibility.
Most poses used in Yin Yoga are developed to concentrate on stretChing and lengthening the fascia, or the deep connective tissues, that surround your organs, bones, nerve fibers, and muscles. Holding these poses for one to three minutes, and sometimes up to five minutes at a time improves your flexibility and strengthens your body from the inside out.
Reduction of Stress and Anxiety
Doing Yin Yoga requires that you hold most poses for at least three to five minutes before moving on to the next pose. So, while you are holding your body in a pose for five minutes, what happens to your mind?
Of course, your first instinct would be to let your mind wander over certain things that you have to do or maybe even things that have been stressing you out. This is the perfect time to release these stresses and anxieties.
While you are focusing on holding your pose and breathing in and out, you should also take the time to assess things that have been bothering you or causing you stress. It is almost like you are meditating through your issues while also doing yoga. Giving yourself the time to work through these issues while also working on building your physical strength, will help to reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
Achieve a Calm, Balanced Mind and Body
As mentioned in the last section, allowing yourself to address things that have been worrying you while holding your Yin Yoga poses can have many positive effects on your mental health. While you are breathing deeper into your poses, you will also be taking a deeper look at the things that are giving you the most pause. Allowing yourself to use this free mental time to work through your problems will help create a sense of calm.
Once you have learned to embrace the mental and physical discomfort that sometimes accompanies Yin Yoga, you will begin to aChieve a higher sense of calm within your mind and body, resulting in a more balanced mental and physical connection.
Improve Joint Mobility
Another benefit of holding poses for up to five minutes while practicing Yin Yoga is an improvement in joint mobility. Most poses focus on strengthening and stretChing the fascia that surrounds your muscles and organs. By intentionally strengthening the inner lining of your body, you will also increase the support that your fascia provides for your joints, organs, muscles, and more.
This is the perfect example of a mutual relationship, or rather, things that go hand-in-hand. By simply focusing your mind on one task at a time, or in this case, one pose at a time, you are also essentially reaping the benefits in so many other ways. By practicing Yin Yoga, you will increase your body’s level of mobility and be able to enjoy a more active style of life.
Finally, by practicing Yin Yoga on a regular basis, you will experience all of the benefits listed above, as well as an improved sense of Chi within and around your body. While Chi might not seem that important to a layman who is unfamiliar with the concept, obtaining and maintaining a healthy Chi is highly regarded in the yoga community. It is also highly revered in Chinese culture.
- In Chinese philosophy, Chi is described as the circulating force, both good and bad, found to be in all things.
- Ones who have found and maintained a good balance between both good and bad Chi are said to live the most enlightened lives.
By holding Yin Yoga poses for up to five minutes at a time and concentrating on your flow of breath, you will improve your overall flow of energy within your body. This will also improve your overall Chi that flows within and around your body. Being intentional with your time yields intentional results, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual.
If teaching all of these things is something you are passionate about, you should check out yin yoga teacher training online!
There is no shortage of evidence for the benefits of practicing yoga. Yoga is one of many forms of physical exercise that helps to strengthen the connection between the mind and body. Sure, there are other options out there that may not require as much dedication and concentration. However, if you are looking to improve your overall health and improve your mental focus at the same time, Yin Yoga may be for you.
You now know all of the major benefits that stem from practicing Yin Yoga on a regular basis. It is up to you to decide if this style of yoga is right for you and your current lifestyle. If you are seeking to strengthen your body from the inside out, while also fortifying your mental health, give Yin Yoga a try. You have nothing to lose besides a few extra pounds, and everything to gain, figuratively speaking.