Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is one of many styles of yoga. Each is different, to suit every body and personality, helping to achieve a better physical and mental health as well as spiritual if you are so inclined.

Yin Yoga is a quiet, simple, nurturing and more passive yoga practice aiming at regaining movement, increasing energy flow, boosting body’s natural healing mechanisms, centring and balancing the neural system and promoting a calm and content mind.

The postures are held for longer, improving sensory awareness and being in the present moment.

The Science Behind Yin Yoga

Fascia is the largest sensory organ in the body. It is the web of the connective tissues every system in your body rely upon to function efficiently, circulatory, digestive, musculo-skeletal… down to cellular levels. The cells rely on it for oxygen, nutrients and waste transportation.

Fascia is responsible for chronic misalignments not muscles. When constantly holding a posture, fascia hardens around the joints to maintain the position so muscles don’t waste energy on holding the pose.

Fascia is a sponge like material that expands, contracts and is electrically conductive.

It needs to be hydrated to keep its elasticity and fluidity to perform effectively. A dry sponge doesn’t absorb fluids as well as a wet one. So the more hydrated the tissues are, the more conductive and elastic the fascia is, the better it performs.

The nervous system relies on its fluid state for proper communication, especially sensory nerves which play a crucial role in movement and proprioception.

Drinking water helps hydration only if fascia is fluid enough to absorb it.

Exercise, good diet, surgery or pills will not address fascia dehydration.

As we get older the connective tissues dry out and tighten. The joints get stiffer so our range of movement decreases. Classical stretching is effective for bringing the muscles back to their original length but not so effective with the connective tissue, because connective tissue doesn’t respond well to rhythmic stresses the way muscles do. It resists brief stresses but gives in to moderate changes held for few minutes.

To lengthen the connective tissue around a joint, muscles must be relaxed. Tense muscles won’t allow the connective tissues to stretch. When relaxed, muscles let the connective tissues stretch to open the joints. The more passive, the more effective the release. Being rather than doing is key to success.

Time is key here not the effort. Holding the body quietly in a comfortable position -props are available for support- for few minutes allow the release of connective tissue around the joints and allow energy flow. Keeping the mind focussed on sensations reinforce stillness and awareness.

Yin yoga postures are held comfortably for 5 minutes or more, allowing relaxation and time to address the fascia lines.

The body is designed for short bursts of stress and long periods of relaxation.

When on constant low level stress, the neural system is on sympathetic mode -heart rate goes up, cortisol is released affecting healthy hormones, more adrenaline and more excitatory neurotransmitters are pumped in the body, that increase inflammation.

When the body is relaxed -as in not holding any unnecessary tension- the neural system is on parasympathetic mode, its regulating and healing mode. So you are in an ideal place to let go and get rid of nervous energy.

Observing the breath will switch your body and mind to parasympathetic mode, the mind is quieter and clearer. The practice becomes cleansing, healing, relaxing and energising.

An excellent complement to a busy active lifestyle!

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