The Benefits Of Yin Yoga For Emotional Health

Welcome back to my corner of the internet! Today I wanted to explore how yin yoga can help improve your emotional health. For those who don’t know who I am my name is Hannah, I am a certified mindfulness, yoga, and meditation instructor. I specialize in stress management, emotional wellbeing, and trauma healing. Now let’s take a deep dive into the benefits of yin yoga for emotional health.

What is yin yoga?

What is yin yoga? Yin yoga is different from other asana practices. It is a slow paced flow where we hold certain poses and postures for an extended about of time to reach beyond the larger muscles and into the connective tissues. Yin Yoga has many physical benefits included increase of flexibility, generating the increase of synovial fluid to the joints. However, today I want to focus on the mindset of Yin as well as the emotional side.

Maybe you have heard of the phrase “Yin and Yang”. Yang is high energy, a moving pace, heat, motivation, just like the world we will in today. We are constantly on the move, and we rarely take a moment to be present with ourselves . Yin is the opposite of Yang; it is slower, cooler, feminine energy, night. The most important notion about yin and yang is that one is not better than the other. Because neither would exist without the other.

Emotional benefits of deep stretching and mindfulness

There are 26 poses in yin yoga all with a specific purpose. As I stated above when we hold postures for an extended period of time we are getting down into the deep connective tissues. What most people don’t know is that we hold a lot of energy within those deep tissues. When we practice yin we often find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation because we are sitting or laying in a stretch.

Our mind starts to “rehearse”, we often think of our to do list, or think about how uncomfortable we are, turn around go back, resist… This is where the practice of mindfulness comes in, when we bring our attention back to the breath we find that our bodies often soften or cultivate ease. When we allow our body to soften, we fall a little bit deeper into those tissues and energy is able to be released.

I have numerous clients in my Flow & Release classes that cry during our yin sessions because they are letting go of something. Energy is moving out of their bodies and they are able to release.

Real-life stories of emotional transformation through yin yoga

I wanted to share with you a moment that I had with a client who experienced this release of energy. This client came to me because she was extremely stressed and overwhelmed with life. Our first session we established a home base of breath for her, as I do with all my clients. Her second session was when she had her emotional release. We were in sphinx pose (a heart opener) and she started to cry on the mat.

As we rounded out her session with a guided meditation we did a check-in of what arose for her during this experience. She continued to cry and shared with me that she doesn’t feel like she is good enough. For herself or her husband because she wasn’t perfect. This client worked with me for a season (every week for 2 months). We explored past memories, reflected over this idea of “perfectionism” and “people- pleasing” and she practiced everyday checkin on herself. By the end of her season she was starting to prioritize herself. She was setting boundaries with family members and making time for herself. She also learned about tapping into the qualities of compassion, thoughtfulness, and kindness that make up all the dynamics of people pleasing, but without crossing over into people pleasing because of her boundaries.

Tips for beginners to start practicing yin yoga

So lets take a moment to go over some tips for practicing. Yin is a wonderful and hard practice, it takes time like anything else but the most important thing to remember is there is no goal. There is no where to get too, no end point. Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment with what is there without judgement. Yin yoga provides many emotional benefits as we learn about ourselves as we practice.

Here are a few tips if you are wanting to start practicing yin yoga:

  1. Explore around for instructors that inspire you, not just physically but emotionally.
  2. Be patient with yourself and the practice
  3. Come back to your breath every time the mind wanders, which it will a lot
  4. I highly recommend if you are practicing at home to get two yoga blocks, a mat, and a blanket
  5. Bring an open mind and an open heart

Yin Yoga and Mindfulness are a wonderful practice and way of life. I myself, will always be a student to this practice and what it continues to teach me every single day. If you are wanting to dip your toe or in need of wanting a little something different for your life. I would be honored to hold that space for you. I offer one on one zoom Flow & Release classes, or you can join my online community wellness studio over on Patreon!

In gratitude, Han

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