Yin yoga is a deeply restorative and meditative practice, designed to release and open the body.
This nurturing practice encourages inward focus, whilst deepening mental and physical strength, and is perfect for stressed and fatigued mamas.
Yoga is the practice of being close to yourself, no matter what is happening within or around you. ~ Elena Brower
Yin is characterised by its feminine energy or qualities ~ intuitive, creative, passionate, emotional, empathetic, receptive, nurturing, collaborative, ‘go with the flow’. All the qualities that, as mothers, we hope to embody.
This is not to suggest that Yin is a practice reserved for women, it is just as important for men. Every person, whether male or female, has a mix of feminine and masculine qualities, yin and yang. In fact, ideally you have a balance of both. Unfortunately in today’s society it’s easier to weigh on the side of yang.
So, how can a yin practice benefit mothers?
Surely for those of us who struggle to get out of the house, who are tied to our children’s every need, would prefer a dynamic practice that gets us moving and feeling fit? Well, perhaps, but often stress and anxiety are coupled with the daily challenges of motherhood and this is Yin’s specialty!
A yin practice can be just as strengthening as it is calming, equally challenging as it is relaxing.
The slower movement and sustained holds in a pose cause us to go deeper and focus inwards. It is this awareness of ourselves and what’s truly happening within our bodies that allows us to find that elusive inner balance. It is only when we create inner balance that we can hope to find outer balance.
Yoga is an internal practice. The rest is just a circus. ~ Sri Pattabhi Jois
A meditative approach to yoga is the yin way, taking you deeper into poses to access and strengthen connective tissue. For mamas experiencing tightness and tension this can mean a deeper release and opening in the body, strengthening and finding more freedom around the joints (particularly hips, sacrum & spine) and an easier connection to the breath. For those with an already chaotic lifestyle, it affords a pace conducive to finding peace and calm.
If balance is the lock then yin is the key.
For your yin practice, resolve to stay in the pose for 3-5 minutes. Don’t start at your edge, but rather find the point of first resistance and allow your body to slowly release deeper into the pose, using your exhale to relax.
Explore the difference between pain and discomfort. If you experience sharp or jabbing feelings then stop, but intense sensations are a part of the journey and if it becomes too much then ease back. The key is to move mindfully, slowly and with control. You are working with deep connective tissue, to strengthen and release, so this takes time.
This week explore our BONUS yoga pose sheet to help get you started on your yin journey. Feel free to use whatever props (bolsters, blocks, blankets, cushions) you need to support you in the poses.
Is it safe during pregnancy or postpartum?
Yin is not recommended for pregnancy or the initial stages of recovery post partum ~ the relaxin hormone that flows through the body during these stages mean that there is a higher risk of allowing you to go too deep and cause injury. Be mindful practicing yin when you’re still breastfeeding as relaxin can still remain in the body, never take a stretch to your edge.
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