What is Yin Yoga?

Unfortunately, we often give up things we love to do because our joints give out, get stiff, and get creaky. Yin yoga focuses on maintaining healthy joints—primarily of the hips and spine. Yin practice creates flexibility, fluidity, and deep energy flow within the body. In Yin practice, we traction the joints of the hips and the spine, softening the overlying tissue, and allow the element of time to open the core joints and stretch and lengthen the tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue. We don’t force the body into contortions; we relax the muscles and teach ourselves to ease into the poses.

Like our muscles, like our mind, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues of the joints are living, always shrinking and contracting. Age naturally pulls into a state of less mobility; we counteract the contracture of joints through Yin yoga practice. We keep the joints juicy, maintain mobility, and keep the energy flowing through the body. By methodically moving the spine, we inflate and release disks, keeping the disks fluid as well. In addition to joint health, the practice of Yin yoga cultivates the qualities of patience, persistence, gratitude, depth, and contentment. As we go deeper into the poses, we use time to release from habituated places. We learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. We practice being in our expansive, deep space. We sense the unwinding of tension as it successively dissipates along the tissues. Waves of release move through the body as we settle into and tune into the inner environment. We cultivate awareness by focusing on the breath and the physical sensations within the body.

Allowing one breath to flow into the next, our Yin breathing brings us into the present moment, out of our incessant stories and internal dialogue. In Yin practice, we are aware without trying to be somewhere else, focus into our own being, and teach ourselves to find and cultivate quietness, a peaceful place our joints and minds can call ‘home.’

Lorie Valentino