What Is Yin Yoga?

Aug 18, 2021

 by Sarina Mizutani

If you haven’t yet tried our yin yoga classes, you may have some questions about what yin yoga is, how it differs from other styles, and what the benefits are. This article will give you a quick run down of this meditative, slow-moving practice and inspire you to come out to the studio and try it for yourself!

What Is Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is a type of yoga where each posture is held for a long period of time, usually 2 - 5 minutes. As such, the postures are more restorative in nature and mostly performed on the floor. It would be tricky to hold a balancing pose like standing bow pulling pose for 3 whole minutes! Luckily, many of the postures in yin are in a seated or reclined position, making it more accessible to hold them for longer periods. The goal in holding these postures is to find a state of calm and stillness in the body and mind, learning to sit in each posture even through mild discomfort, rather than fidgeting and readjusting every few seconds. Yin yoga makes frequent use of props like blocks and straps to help support the body during the long holds of each posture.


How Is It Different From Other Yoga?

Yin yoga targets connective tissue in the body including fascia, ligaments and joints. Longer holds (2+ minutes) of each posture allow for the connective tissue to loosen up more thoroughly, which cannot be achieved moving through postures at a quicker pace. Connective tissues respond more to long, steady holds, which you don’t find in other styles of yoga, which is why this practice affects those connective tissues uniquely.

As well, the long holds of postures in a yin yoga class help release energy blockages in the body, allowing energy to flow more freely all throughout the body after class.

Yin yoga is also a great mental exercise, as part of the practice is holding mildly uncomfortable stretches for long periods of time, which allows you to learn how to sit through discomfort and quiet your thoughts. Yin allows us to just be with our bodies in a space without the constant stimulus of modern life, allowing us to notice what is really going on in the mind and body.


What Are the Benefits?

The benefits of yin yoga include:

  • Lengthening of connective tissue, helping to reduce stiffness and muscle imbalances
  • Benefits to your flexibility
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased mindfulness
  • Increased ciculation


Who Can Do Yin Yoga?

Yin classes are good for every level of yogi, whether you are a new to yoga and simply looking for a gentle yoga class to work on your mobility; or you are a seasoned Bikram practitioner. In fact, yin is especially beneficial for those who are already highly active, as it provides a great medium for connecting with your body and moving, but at a much slower pace, helping to bring balance to the mind and body.  It is also very beneficial for anyone recovering from an injury as the poses are highly modifiable and the practice is restorative in nature.


If you are interested in trying out a yin yoga class, we offer it twice a week here at MYKW. Check out yin on Wednesdays at 7:45pm with Brett, or Sundays at 6:15pm with Christine!