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Yoga for Everyone


“Yoga is not a work-out, it’s a work-in”

-       Rolf Gates

 

This week we want to share a very practical way of achieving the self-awareness that is vital for our overall wellbeing and resilience. When we look within and recognise that we can positively influence our responses, and so our experience, we are truly powerful. The full quote from Rolf Gates is as follows:

“Yoga is not a work-out it’s a work-in – and this is the point of spiritual practice, to make us teachable; to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are”

 

Yoga, as many of you know, is an ancient practice. The first documentation of it is seen in the Rig Veda texts of Northern India, and it is one of the 6 schools of Hinduism. Yoga is also associated with the Buddhist practice of meditation. Over the centuries many different Masters have added their own interpretation and practice, and now in modern times there are many different yoga styles and practices with specific associated benefits.

 

People can sometimes be put off from trying yoga because they think you have to be physically fit, a certain body type, young or have lots of time. This is a story that we are telling ourselves that is not true. Anyone can have a go at yoga, in a class, at home as a family or on your own as part of your self-care routine.

 

This week we want to examine Yin Yoga as a brilliant place to start your yoga journey.

 

Yin, from Chinese philosophy, represents the feminine, earth, shade and passivity.

 

Yin Yoga was originally developed by Paulie Zink, a martial arts instructor. He blended Hatha and Taoist Yoga practices with a flowing cycle of Yin (passive) and Yang (active) postures and stretches.

 

His student, Sarah Powers, incorporated Buddhist principles of mindfulness into her practice to encourage an enlightening of both mind and body

 

Now most, if not all, yoga disciplines encourage inner clam with a focus on breathing and posture. None of them are speedy, but comparatively speaking, Yin Yoga is really slow. It is performed at an unhurried pace with deliberate poses that are held for much longer than other forms of yoga.

 

These poses are designed to put stress on the tendons, ligaments and joints. This stress increases blood flow to those tissues which brings with it oxygen, nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. This in turn improves the flexibility of those parts of the body.

 

Yin Yoga poses are similar traditional poses but they are passive, more a settling into the pose, and props can be used to help maintain the posture. Yin Yoga is a quiet, contemplative exercise that is about embracing silence and connecting us to the universe. It is very relaxing and is not over-strenuous.

 

The different Yin poses work mainly on the lower half of the body and have varying affects. We like Squat pose which is good for period pain, Sphinx pose which helps with bulging vertebral discs, Dragon pose which can help with sciatica and, Shoelace pose which opens up the back.

 

Yin yoga is well researched with articles showing reductions in anxiety and insomnia after only a short period of practice[1][2][3][4].  

 


Try this:


The Yin Yoga website lists 24 Yin poses with the associated benefits, contraindications, and instructions on how to get into them. Take a look and have a go.

 

In addition, our favourite yoga teacher Adrienne has a lovely 30-minute introduction to Yin Yoga at home that is deeply relaxing. Try it today

 

 

For other tools and techniques that foster self-awareness and conscious responses have a look at the other articles on the website and try our book:



[1] Winroth, Denise & Hassmén, Peter & Stevens, Christopher. (2021). Acute Effects of Yin Yoga and Aerobic Exercise on Anxiety. Alternative & Integrative Medicine. 8. 278.

[2] Suzanne E Parkman, Jill Olausson, A PILOT STUDY OF YIN YOGA AND THE EFFECTS ON BURDEN AND SELF-COMPASSION IN CAREGIVERS OF PERSONS WITH DEMENTIA, Innovation in Aging, Volume 7, Issue Supplement_1, December 2023, Pages 924–925

[3] Somere K, Munkevics M, Krams R, Rača G, Luoto S, Krams I. The effect of yin yoga intervention on state and trait anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Front Psychiatry. 2024 Mar 14;15:1345455.

[4] Sari, O., Purnawati, S., & Wahyuni, N. (2022). Yin yoga improves sleep quality more than Vinyasa yoga on female office workers with mild to moderate insomnia during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences10(9), 1815–1822.

 

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1 Comment


therabbi
therabbi
Jun 08

Happy Saturday ladies. I began my chair Yoga practice around 6 - 9 months ago as part of a class which meets weekly for an hour (I'm 76 years old). To say that this an important part of my weekly self-care regimen is a gross understatement. It is simply "who I am!"

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