An Introduction to Yin Yoga with Denise Marlow
If you are new to a yin yoga practice it can be challenging, the lack of movement and the stillness. However, when we understand more about the practice and adapt to this energetic shift it becomes a deeply relaxing form of yoga. Therefore, it helps to know how we can encourage the body to relax and let go, especially in the early days of coming to this practice.
To begin with, each time we come to a pose in our practice we want to start quite far back, a relaxed starting position and then from there we can begin to unravel and release. I often explain to students we want to be at an edge in the pose but have room to explore, we don’t want to be holding with stress and tension in the body. Then when we start each pose in this way it encourages the body to move deeper into relaxing and letting go.
Physically in a yin yoga practice we are not working our muscles to hold a pose but creating a shape to then allow the deep layers of the body to expand and lengthen. Yin yoga helps improve our flexibility and creates more range of movement within the joints in our body. When we approach with patience our practice keeps evolving and we continue to become more mobile, less stressed and relaxed.
Yin yoga is a practice that can help us detoxify, release stress, learn mindfulness and over the many years of teaching this style of yoga have seen it’s also a hugely anti inflammatory practice. It allows us time to reset, to bring balance to our energy levels and to be able to create/connect with the ability to pause and relax simply on our breath.
In yin yoga we have an effect on the myofascial meridians in the body because we create shapes (our yin yoga poses), passively and over longer holds. This helps to elongate and expand into the myofascial layers of the body which helps improve overall health and well being. For further information on myofascial meridians a good starting place is: www.anatomytrains.com
Another positive of yin yoga is we have an impact on the the meridian lines of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We put pressure on twelve of the meridian lines in yin yoga, just as you would in acupressure and acupuncture. So again as we make shapes, we hold the pose to put positive pressure on the meridian line. This helps to bring balance to our energy levels but also our internal organs. We are activating the energy flows through the body in these invisible meridian lines, the pathways/network that connects with muscles and tissues in the body. In TCM, it’s described as chi.
There are fourteen major Meridian lines, twelve of which can be positively affected by doing yin yoga. These are: liver and gallbladder, heart and small intestine, spleen and stomach, lungs and large intestine, kidneys and urinary bladder, the pericardium ( the sac around the heart) and the triple heater. The two other meridians not linked to organs are the Governor Vessel and the Conception Vessel.
As we will explore yin yoga has a positive effect on our emotional, mental, energetic and physical well-being. The more we practise it, the more balance will come to our body and mind.
Interested in taking your Yin practice further? Find out when the next Yin Yoga class with Denise is happening HERE.