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Anyone who knows me, knows that I love yoga and am constantly on a journey to try new styles of yoga, as well as explore the greater world of yoga, which goes beyond asanas. My latest exploration is into the realms of Yin Yoga, thanks to a chance meeting with Jo Arthur, who invited me down to Paola’s Body Barre in Fulham to try a class.
Until recently, I was not familiar with the concept of Yin Yoga. I had seen it on lots of yoga studio timetables and always skimmed past it onto the ashtanga and vinyasa flow classes. However, when Jo explained what Yin Yoga was to me, I was quickly keen to know more and try it out for myself – it sounded exactly like the style of yoga I’ve been dreaming of for a while.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a slow, simple style of yoga that is just as effective at calming the mind and stretching the body as other types of yoga. Yin Yoga targets the deep connective tissues of the body (vs. the superficial tissues) and the fascia that covers the body, which helps regulate the flow of energy in the body.
The term ‘Yin Yoga’ comes from the Taoist tradition. Yang relates to movement, often repetitive movement, creating heat in the body. Yin is about finding stillness and cooling the body. And, the theory goes, we need both to come into balance to stay in optimum condition. Running and cycling are yang activities. Even some vigorous forms of yoga, such as ashtanga vinyasa and Bikram yoga are yang. But if you focus only on the yang, your body can suffer from fatigue and burnout.
Yin Yoga is practised sitting or lying on the floor. There are no planks, no warriors, no core work. No dynamic sun salutations. No standing poses. The pace is slow and you are asked to relax in each position, which is typically held for about five minutes.
Yin Yoga with Jo Arthur at Paola’s Body Barre
Jo’s class was just what the doctor ordered! The studio at Paola’s Body Barre was light and sunny, perfect for a morning yoga class. In practice, Yin Yoga feels so healing & nourishing. I really enjoyed the prolonged stretches because I could sink into each position, without having to think about the next. By the end of the class, I felt incredibly grounded, calm and revitalised.
The benefits attributed to yoga – increased flexibility and strength, more energy and better posture – should be enough to get anyone on the mat. However, if that doesn’t entice you, here are more benefits of working Yin Yoga into your health and fitness routine:
Yin Yoga is perfect for those who just want to relax, or anyone who wants the benefits of stretching without exhausting themselves.