What is Yin Yoga

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Practicing yin yoga is a popular and effective way to increase flexibility and achieve internal harmony in your yoga practice.

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is a slower approach to traditional yoga, in which asanas or poses are held by the practitioner for longer periods of time. Instead of achieving a continuous flow, this yoga style focuses more on inner silence and the movement of energy through the body. Long-held poses in yin yoga may last for five minutes or more, rather than the 20-30 seconds commonly practiced in other yoga disciplines. The purpose of yin yoga is to increase the strength of connective tissues and boost flexibility while finding a balance between yin and yang – the opposing aspects of nature. [1] [2]

Group of young people practicing yoga

Yin Yoga Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Yin Yoga Poses

The main poses associated with yin yoga include meditation seat, seal pose, child’s pose, and banana pose, among others.

  • Meditation Seat: For 6 minutes, ground yourself into a comfortable seat with a straight spine.
  • Melting Heart: Keeping your hips above your knees, lean forward on your forearms and clasp your hands for 3-4 minutes.
  • Seal Pose: On your belly, prop yourself up with your arms straight for 3-4 minutes.
  • Child’s Pose: Kneeling with your buttocks on your feet, stretch your arms out and place your forehead on the ground for 5-6 minutes.
  • Banana Pose or Bananasana: On your back, push your feet to one side of the mat, and your upper arms and shoulders to the same side. Form a crescent moon with your body and hold for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Butterfly Pose: Draw your feet in from a seated position and lean forward slowly over your feet for 3-4 minutes.

Other poses include:

  • Savasana
  • Legs to chest transition
  • Dragonfly pose

Yin Yoga Benefits

There are many benefits to the regular practice of yin yoga, that include the following:

  • Relief from symptoms of anxiety and chronic stress [3] [4]
  • Increase in flexibility
  • Proper circulation to extremities of the body
  • Boost to metabolism and core strength
  • Detoxification of the body
  • Strengthen the internal organs
  • Encourages self-love and communication with your own body
  • Boost to fortitude and stamina, both mentally and physically
  • Improve joint mobility
  • Release fascia
  • Improve perseverance
  • Promote afterglow

There is an almost meditative quality to this yoga style that is unique among many other popular types of yogic practices.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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