Yin Yoga is a unique style of yoga that emphasizes relaxation while promoting optimal mind-body functioning. The emphasis is on holding poses for long periods of time while relaxing the muscles of the body.
Up until recently, doctors believed that it was not wise to put pressure or to exercise the joints, believing joints would only wear out. Yin is comprised of weight bearing postures placed on the joints. This opens the deep connective tissue and strengthens our joints. Yin Yoga postures work the deepest layers of tension often located from the top of the knee to base of rib cage. Movement in upper back or head can be kept relaxed and at ease.
Although traditional western medicine has been skeptical about the existence of energy pathways, according to Chinese medicine there has been a great deal of research proving the beneficial flow of ‘chi‘ or energy throughout our meridians.
The connective tissue of our body throughout our body act as a conduit for the flow of energy through the meridians. By activating the connective tissues it may be possible to directly stimulate the meridians and this can profoundly affect health in a positive way.
Yin Yoga is very similar to acupuncture and works with the meridians or energy lines of our body. Additionally, placing our body into particular postures sends electrical currents back to the internal organs which in turn help to promote overall long term health and healing.
For the self-aware practitioner, this can provide another aspect of practice where by specific postures are selected to support the health of particular organs or to even rebalance disruptive emotional states. For example in traditional Chinese medicine, the health of the liver and gallbladder is associated with emotions such as anger and frustration. By practicing yin yoga poses such as swan and dragonfly the flow of energy through the liver and gallbladder meridians can be enhanced and the practitioner may find relief from these imbalances.
Yin Yoga can also challenge yoga practitioners in a unique way whereby the long hold times can often produce a sense of ease with what is uncomfortable. Yin Yoga can foster an increased awareness of the deeper aspects of our selves as they rise to the surface to be confronted.
Yin Yoga allows us to draw our attention towards the internal phenomenon within us so that we are able to come closer to maintaining awareness of the subtle flow of energy. We may become awakened to the way we store tensions within the body and as we release the physical pressure, we allow and let go of the cellular memories and can gain access to an enhanced sense of clarity.
This facet of the yin practice, is especially useful for those who sit all day at their desk. In addition to the sense of quietude that can be experienced during a Yin Yoga session, these wonderful postures can also result in quite intense and illuminating occurrences that are invaluable for those seeking personal and spiritual growth.
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