What is Yin Yoga?

This common question is usually answered with statements such as: “It is the balancing practice for your yang style of yoga” or “It is yoga for the joints and fascia, not the muscles”. And those answers are correct, but they also come up short. That’s because Yin yoga is multi layered. To understand it fully, you need to get to know it’s background and experience the practice for yourself.  

The goals and objectives of Yin Yoga are the same as any other school of yoga, but instead of stimulating the superficial or muscular tissues (yang tissues). Yin Yoga targets our connective tissues - ligaments, bones, and even joints that are normally not exercised in an active (yang) asana practice.
This style of yoga is for everyone, suitable for yogis of all levels, it is the perfect complement to the dynamic, muscular (yang) styles of yoga that emphasize internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of our muscles. yinyoga_copy1

“I started practicing hot yoga for a challenging workout. I have this ego problem where I constantly want to be pushing my body to do the next difficult thing - almost to prove to myself that it won’t break. I started running and training for marathons and eventually triathlons. My body, knowing better, would often slow me down. I would become sick or get injured. Sometimes so dramatically that I would need surgery. It was not until I added Yin Yoga into my practice that I understood the need for balance. The balance and release Yin provided to my body actually added strength to my yang yoga practice as well as to my other athletic endeavors.” -Mary E. 

Yin Yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine, with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. A more meditative approach to yoga, yin aims at cultivating awareness of inner silence, and bringing to light a universal, interconnecting quality.

While this style of yoga can seem boring, passive, or soft, in truth the yin practice, when done correctly is quite challenging. It is a common misconception that yin is  a restorative practice, but rather it is very much a working practice with incredible results that far surpass the simple physical layer of one’s body.

“It's hard to explain, but once you experience it in your body you will feel the strength that Yin Yoga makes space for. For me personally, after taking the Yin Yoga Teacher Training and making Yin classes a priority in my cross-training schedule, I shaved 13 minutes off my half marathon time! That's 1 minute per mile faster than I'd ever run before! Needless to say, I haven't reverted. Now when I am training hard I make it a point to get into Yin at least 3 times a week. I've just started getting ready for my first Ironman race and there is no way I'll be able to do it without the balance that Yin brings to my life.” -Mary E.

Hot 8 Yoga offers Hot Yin Yoga classes at all of our studios. Yin is a great class to take after one of your favorite more cardio-based classes like Yoga Barre, Sculpt or Power. Or unwind at the end of the day in the candlelit room so you can get better sleep, have less pain and less mental clutter. We also offer Sound Baths during special Hot Yin classes once a month (or more) at all studios. Check the schedule to sign up!