How Yin Yoga Can Benefit & Improve Your Mental Health
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a unique yoga style that is heavily influenced by Taoist principles. Particularly the Taoist principle of the balance of opposites, commonly known as yin and yang.
Yin Yoga is the yin or meditative practice that aims to balance out the yang energy in our lives.
Although Yin Yoga uses many of the same poses as Hatha or Vinyasa yoga, the names are often different. The poses focus on the connective tissues of the body, such as fascia, tendons, and ligaments, rather than the muscles. Yin Yoga also heavily incorporates the use of props, such as blocks, bolsters, and straps, to help support the body during the practice and encourage relaxation of the muscles.
The 3 Principles
There are 3 primary principles of Yin Yoga. The first principle is to find your edge in your practice and respect it. You should never cross your body’s limits, and the use of props helps to prevent that from happening. Secondly, practitioners should try to be still in a pose, relax their muscles, and avoid fidgeting their body. Focusing on the breath can greatly help with this. Finally, the third key principle of Yin Yoga is to hold the pose for periods of time ranging from 1 to 10 minutes, depending on the level of the student and the intensity of the pose.
Mental Health Benefits
Although Yin Yoga has many physical benefits, such as increased flexibility, range of motion and digestion, the mental benefits of Yin Yoga are not to be overlooked.
Yin Yoga provides practitioners with the opportunity to reduce their attachment to their deep-rooted emotions that often emerge when the body and mind are still and quiet. As your body stretches and relaxes deeper into the postures, your mind quiets down and these emotions often begin to release.
Yin Yoga also helps to calm the nervous system and reduce stress or anxiety. This can help you during the process of emotional release and to increase overall peace and joy in your life. Our bodies and minds are programmed to avoid discomfort, but through the practice of Yin Yoga you are challenged to overcome this aversion and learn to accept discomfort as a part of life.
Our bodies and minds are programmed to avoid discomfort, but through the practice of Yin Yoga you are challenged to overcome this aversion and learn to accept discomfort as a part of life.
Just like the principles of yin and yang, there cannot be peace without facing discomfort, pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin. Rather than getting attached to the enjoyment or discomfort of the practice, Yin Yoga focuses on reducing attachment to these sensations so that they can slowly dissolve, which increases your internal peace. You cannot change the ups and downs of life, you can only change your ability to withstand them, and the practice of Yin Yoga helps you to do exactly that.
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