This is a continuation of the discussion on Yin Yoga, how it can help improve the Fascia and the science behind the practice. For Part 1, please read this blog first.
How Yin Yoga Can Benefit Us
In order to access the connective tissues and stimulate the fibroblasts, the muscle fibers must relax and not contract. This is where Yin Yoga can benefit. During the practice, we rest our bodies with ease and stay within 50-70% of our stretching capacity for about 2 to 10 minutes. We just need to “tug” at the fascia, which tends to occur before the sensation of a full-on stretch. This allows us to work within the boundaries of our nervous system. When we respect its current limitations, it can protect us from the potential harm that can happen from passively hanging out at the end range of motion (ROM) without actively being able to control it.
Because it takes some time for the sensory cells underneath our skin to decide it’s ok for the tissues to relax, many people find their bodies eventually progressing into a deeper stretch than the position they started in. So, props can be strategically placed to support these parts of our bodies that can begin softening while compressing the tissues and stimulating the fibroblasts.
Is Yin Yoga something we could do before engaging in sports, strength training or any other strenuous activity? Unless you’re a professional or avid athlete, you could probably enjoy a session beforehand. Just make sure to give yourself a few hours of rest so your tissues return back to a level of stiffness that’s required of the situation.
Is Yin Yoga something we could do in the morning? Again, it depends on what you intend to do afterwards. I personally love doing them in the morning on my non-workout days and weekends. Either way, time-blocking for Yin Yoga at the opposite end of a Yang activity could be a good idea. For example, setting aside time before bed would be a nice way to slow things down before the slumber.
Yin Yoga for Hyperflexible and Non-Flexible Students
Can you practice Yin Yoga whether you’re “inflexible” or “hyperflexible”? Absolutely. Just like the other styles of yoga, you can tailor the asana to stay within the boundaries of your nervous system and physical structure. As Yin Yoga is a very introspective practice, there is little to no emphasis on the aesthetic of the posture. This is especially the case knowing that every body has varying lengths of bones and shapes of joints (which leads to individual requirements to achieve a given intention).
Another important note is that while Yin Yoga poses can be beneficial for increasing tension at the tendons, it doesn’t
Exercise Science PSA: Whether you are hyper-flexible or non-flexible, and as with any type of yoga asana practice, it’s important to progressively load (strength train) the various parts of your body with various angles and movements. Whether you’re doing it during the asana practice itself and/or during other forms of exercises, those are the times your body can benefit from the positive stress.
So, I would recommend you utilize Yin Yoga as a part of your wellness regimen. To refer back to the Yin-Yang duality, a lot of something is a lot of something. Balance the various aspects of your existence as best as you can.
Props for Yin Yoga
I will share accessible variations of yin poses using props you can buy or find at home. Whether you’d like to use everyday objects from home or have a nice set of long-lasting props, you can practice Yin Yoga with the following:
-Yoga Bolster (or couch cushions, long body pillows, or normal pillows)
-Yoga Strap (or big bath towel)
-Yoga Blanket (or the same big bath towel)
-Yoga Blocks (or a stack of books)
-Soft Massage Balls (or a folded sheet/blankie to place over lacrosse balls)
This foray into Yin Yoga and Meditation was inspired by my dear friend Mimi who is fighting breast cancer. I wanted to send several short yin yoga videos to help her take gentle breaks from work, encourage lymphatic system flow to detox and replenish her energy.
You’ll be seeing short snippets of the 30-minute videos on my IG feed so you can reference the poses to tailor to your own practice preference this season. If you haven’t seen my new account, follow me @rogueyogi.life
If you have any questions and/or feedback, I’m all ears. I’d love to get a sense of what’s serving you on this website so feel free to contact me with your sentiments!
To watch my 40-Minute Yin Yoga and Somatic-Inspired Movement (with Guided Meditation), continue onto the video now.