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One of the best ways to answer this question is to invite students new to yin to a class. Most of the classes held at Metro Power Yoga are active, moving, athletic in nature. These are “yang” yoga classes. Yin is a softer – quiet – style of yoga. It’s just as intense as yang but in a still, meditative way. If you are an active go-getter like many type “A” people, a yin class is exactly what you need on a regular basis!
Yin yoga as a style of yoga is one where poses, mostly seated, are held from 3 to 5 minutes at a time. While at first glance this may seem easy, trust in the fact that it is not. Our bodies are certainly capable of being still for much longer, but our minds play tricks on us and ask us to move and think about what’s for dinner, what else needs to be done before tomorrow, who needs to be called or texted now?
The poses of Yin may be practiced either with “cold” or warmed up muscles. How you choose to practice yin will dictate where you see the change in your body. Your mind will benefit regardless, but if you are trying to activate the deeper connective tissues of the body (tendon, ligament, fascia) you should practice Yin with “cold” muscles. If you want to add more target to your muscles then practice Yin with warm muscles and they will derive most of the benefit. With that said, there are many chronic injuries which mere muscles stretching never tends to resolve. If the tendons, holding the muscles to the bones; or the ligaments, connecting bone to bone, are scarred and damaged, you WANT to practice Yin with cold muscles in order to systematically target these deeper tissues.
Yin, through a system of stressing connective tissues, allows our own bodies to send new fluids like hyaluronic acid into those tissues to help them rebuild.
As this is a gentle style of yoga, it can be practiced by almost anyone in any condition. Yin is a powerful style of yoga that is surprisingly hard for many. Try it on. You might like what you feel.