Three Tattvas – Principles – of Yin Yoga
First: Come into a pose to an appropriate edge
Finding your edge means that you are not pushing yourself into any specific shape. Compare to other yoga styles it might take time to respect that. When it comes to finding the own edge think about an insensitive scale form 1 to 10, where 1 is absolutely no sensation and 10 is where you feel pain. Yin Yoga is around a 5 on the scale. If you once reached an edge, pause an go inside and notice how it feels. Even if you feel you could go further to a 8 or 9, the intention in Yin Yoga is to beg off. It might sounds contraproductiv at the beginning, but after a while you’ll understand that begging off brings you as well much further in your flexibility. Yoga is a dance, not a wrestling match. The essence of yin is yielding. Harmony of balance in life comes form the wisdom, which must be earned and learned through our own experience and to find your own edge is a great opportunity to gain this wisdom.
Second: Resolve to remain still
Once you have set yourself up in the posture you don’t move anymore. This is the difference to the yang yoga style like the vinyasa flow. Because you’re in a position for an extend time, probs like blogs, straps or blankets are highly recommended. They allow you to be still in the pose. Stillness in the body means an inactivation of the muscles. Only if we keep the muscles quite we allow the body to sink deeper into the connective tissues. It’s might be challenging at the beginning to hold the pose in stillness, but gravity will do the work for you. Be passioned with yourself. Try to make an commitment by sitting still without moving like if you want to seek the stillness of the deep blue of the sky or picture your body like a majestic mountain.
Third: Hold each pose for a period of time
Yin yoga poses are generally held at least for a minute up to twenty minutes. Sarah Powers – one of the founders of yin yoga – recommends starting out with 1 to 3 minutes for each pose as a beginner, but with more experience postures can hold up to 10 minutes. A pose is feeling really different from one minute to the next. Always keep in mind to honor yourself with the pose, what means that you have to decide by yourself how long you have to hold the pose to enjoy the benefits of it. If there is any sensation or the felling of to much movements and adjustments, beg off the pose. The reason of holding asanas for a longer time in Yin yoga ( from a physical point of view) is because of affecting the joins, ligaments and the deeper fascia. This is how you improve flexibility for example in your lower back or hips but there is much more benefits, like the stillness of the body, the stillness of the mind just controlled by the rhythm of breath. Sometimes, this is the real goal for you body and your life. When life is stressful and fast-moving, bring a little bit yin in your fast yang life. Let the body be rest on the mat, let your thoughts come and go like clouds on a windy day, let gravity do the work for you and just follow your own rhythm of breath. If a tear is running over your face, that’s totally fine.
Balance in life comes from having the wisdom to know the difference. – B.K.S Iyengar
I highly recommend to try a yin yoga class, if you haven’t had one before. Leave me a comment about your experience!