If you know me, you know that yoga is not my forte! But I truly understand and appreciate the value of it which is why I’ve made a concerted effort to make it a part of my life. If you read my 30 Days of Yoga blog, you may have gone through that journey with me! I have primarily stuck with vinyasa and flow based yoga as I enjoy the pacing of it. But my interest was piqued recently when I came upon an article about Yin Yoga. Piqued enough for me to actually follow through and give it a whirl. What was so interesting? Well, I (along with many friends and family members), having sailed my thirties, am beginning to experience the dreaded aches and pains that sometimes accompany middle age. Sore knees, aching feet (Really, plantar fasciitis? Did you have to show up now?!), dull pain in the back and a nagging “oh, oh” in the hamstring. And so, I was all ears when I read that there is a type of yoga that might have something to offer these types of issues.
Can’t hurt to look at what science has to say about it, right? And so, I did. This is some of what I read:
Yin yoga is not fast yoga and it is not hot yoga.
It is yoga that means holding positions for a loooooooooong time – up to five minutes and beyond! (Although as a beginner, 45 seconds may be a good place to start).
Yin Yoga pays particular attention to the body’s connective tissues.
In other words, your fascia. ligaments and tendons get some much needed attention from this type of yoga. And that’s a good thing because connective tissues that aren’t as flexible and stretchy as they were when you were 20, just might have something to do with the “normal” soreness and stiffness that can come with age. (Although, maybe it’s not “normal” but more about too many hours spent sitting and a life that’s far too sedentary).
Yin yoga is not about exerting yourself or experiencing significant discomfort while you hold a position.
Instead this type of yoga takes a gentler approach to slowly increasing flexibility. That was a welcome bit of information because life can be tough enough without adding a workout that hurts!
And what about the potential benefits? Well, consider these points:
* In one study combining Yin yoga with mindfulness, the participants experienced a reduction in stress and worry. And who wouldn’t want that?
* Based on the number of YouTube videos on the topic, I’m thinking that yin yoga has something to offer all you runners, cyclists and walkers out there.
* It’s also be suggested that yin yoga might help with sleep.
Just remember to get the green light from your physician before embarking upon a new exercise regime. Who needs a yoga-related injury to add to their list of things to manage, right? And also remember that it will take more than a session or two to make up for all those years of connective tissue neglect.
But if you’re still interested and ready to make a long(er) term commitment to increasing your flexibility and maybe, just maybe, take the edge off some of your aches and pains, then Yin yoga is worth considering. And if you want to see Yin yoga in action before taking a class, here’s a YouTube video that I liked (both the exercises and the setting!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pL1RWA_Qavs