Contrary to its name, the slow movement train is gathering serious pace. More of us, it seems, are resisting the rat race and harking back to the good old days of slow… slow food, slow travel, slow parenting. Heck, even slow movement is getting slower. Enter Yin Yoga…
Yin is a restorative style of yoga that’s all about finding stillness, whereas yang styles of yoga, like hot yoga and Bikram, are about repetitive movement and creating heat. There are a limited number of Yin Yoga poses – typically none of which are standing or inverted – held for longer periods of time (usually three to five minutes).
Masha Gorodilova, yoga teacher and founding partner of Happy Melon Studios in Melbourne, sheds some light on the trend:
We believe Yin is gaining popularity due to its restorative and meditative approach. Finally, it has become more socially acceptable to slow down.
People inherently want to slow down, yet we have been conditioned to work harder and faster than ever before. It is really refreshing to see a shift towards meditation, Yin and slow Yoga. We believe this is due to people realising that their mind and body are in fact connected.
“Once someone who lives at a fast pace takes a slower style class such as Yin, they feel the mental and physical benefits immediately and want to come back for more. We are seeing clients who used to only do high intensity exercise, now include meditation, Yin and slow Yoga as part of their weekly routine and say they have never felt happier or healthier.
“Our Yin teachers include special elements such as live music, candles and singing and share tips on how clients can take this mindful approach to movement off the mat and into day-to-day life.”
I’ve eased off the high intensity exercise I used to crave in favour of Yin and other slower forms of movement since the opening of Happy Melon Studios and reaped profound benefits.
Not yet convinced? Here are seven very good reasons you should try Yin yoga too…
1. Disconnect with the world and re-connect with number one (yep, that’s you).
In a world of constant distraction and over communication, it has never been more important to schedule time out to find stillness and calm.
2. Discover the power in being still
There’s something powerful that happens when we stop rushing from place to place, from one distraction to the next, and let things sit; the clarity that comes when we create time and space to tap into our inner wisdom – the voice that’s always there but quietened when we’re rushing through life.
3. Reap the benefits of the power of the breath
The simple act of breathing properly has profound benefits on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Funnily enough though, improper breathing is the norm these days and it’s linked to all sorts of health conditions. Our breath is what anchors us to the present moment and Yin is the perfect practice for bringing awareness to our breath.
4. Improve your energy
Yin Yoga is healing and nourishing. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our ‘rest’ and ‘digest’ response, which lowers heart rate and blood pressure, improves digestion and enables our bodies to restore its energy supplies.
5. Flex your mindfulness muscle
Yin yoga may be slow, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy or comfortable experience. It challenges the body and mind as it encourages you to find comfort in poses that are uncomfortable (this is called ‘finding your edge’) and sit with thoughts and feelings that arise, as well as the mind’s desire to leave. It’s a practice you can take from the mat and apply to daily life.
6. Improve your flexibility
The poses in Yin Yoga strengthen and stretch your deeper connective tissue.
7. Tap into your inner child
Self-kindness isn’t something that comes naturally to us all, is it? There’s something about the softly spoken words of wisdom and kindness that are whispered throughout Yin Yoga that brings out my inner child and always has me floating back into the world in a state of bliss with an attitude of being kind to myself, just as I would a child. We can all benefit from a little more of that, right?