A truly dedicated yogi may use Yin to balance out the "Yang" of their vinyasa practice. Yin is all about getting into the connective tissues, increasing the range of motion and flexibility in the body. Though you stay on the floor the entire time, a Yin practice can be quite intense both physically and mentally.
Meaning of word "Yin":
Most of us have seen the Chinese symbol of the Yin Yang, representing the balance inherent in all life. The Yin side of this balance is feminine, gentle, still and grounding. A Yin yoga practice, also having its roots in China, therefore invites these elements onto the yoga mat. The long-held shapes in Yin Yoga are meant to increase flexibility in the body and circulation in the joints -- gently promoting vitality.
3 Rules of Yin Yoga:
Find your "edge": The edge is place where your body actively resists the stretch - you should never go past your edge or injuries may occur
Resolve to Stillness: this practice is mentally challenging as the student tries to remain completely still during the posture
Hold for a period of time: New students may hold the shape for 1-2 minutes, while seasoned practitioners may hold a shape for 5 minutes. Some postures allow for even longer hold times of 15-20 minutes, though that's usually only ever done in a personal practice at home
This is a tricky one to gauge in terms of intensity. If you were observing a class, you wouldn't find the practice to look intense at all. In fact, the students don't even get off of the floor until they are ready to stand and leave the room. however, it is mentally challenging to remain at your edge in stillness for the few minutes that the postures require. All of that being said, Yin has its own form of intensity but is accessible to most people, allowing a large population to enjoy its many benefits.
Because the respiratory system is linked with the nervous system, a slow, steady breath is crucial to a Yin practice. The stretches in Yin are intense, sometimes causes the brain to have a "freak out" moment where it wants to escape the shape. A slow steady breath, however, tells the brain everything is okay -- allowing the nervous system to remain calm and the body to surrender to the posture.
60 - 90 minutes
There are many benefits to yoga, especially as new reports emerge each day observing the impact of yoga on the mind and body. Here is a brief overview specifically for Yin:
Increases circulation in the joins
Promotes vitality and flexibility within the connective tissues
Significantly reduces stress and stress hormones, such as cortisol, within the body
Fosters self-love and self-awareness
Cultivates mental stamina and perseverance
Still have more questions? Contact Courtney on Instagram @Couryoga