Yin for Beginners

Welcome to Yin for Beginners

As you probably know, inspiration from yin-style classes propelled me to start this blog.  I discovered Yin several years into my yoga journey.  Yin is a quiet, reflective, meditative practice.  Such practices can be super overwhelming for beginners, so I created a "pure Yin" home practice.  For the beginner sequence, poses are not held quite as long as in a traditional yin class, but long enough that you will understand what Yin is like, how it affects your body, and how it affects your spirit!  

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is a asana (posture) practice where poses are held passively for an average of 3-5 minutes.  [For the beginner sequence, holds are about 2 minutes].  It is a quiet, reflective practice, and, in my opinion, is more like meditation than "yoga."  The benefits and challenges are more similar to meditation as well.  Read in detail about Yin and Yin Yoga in my Yin Primer

This chart captures how I think about yoga styles:  It's not a perfect representation...but hopefully helpful, particularly to those new to yoga and/or unfamiliar with yin yoga.  

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Note that Yin Yoga does not have much physical exertion, but does have mental effort.  The "effort" involves ignoring your ego/mind when it says, "let's move, let's fidget, let's build a grocery list, let's not prioritize sitting here while we could be drinking wine" etc etc.  It's kind of like taking a mental shower, but with a slight physical distraction to help keep things focused.  

Also note the difference between Yin and Restorative.  Restorative requires little mentally and physically, similar to a bubble bath or massage.  Sometimes that is what you need - immediate, pleasurable activities that require nothing of us.  (And yes, I'll post a restorative class someday soon.). But as you can imagine, the effects are short term.  You can make all the grocery lists and plan out your week during a massage.  Or, as my fellow parents can attest, the benefits of an adult-only vacation seem to disappear within minutes of relieving the babysitter.  Ironically, I feel more mentally refreshed after a Yin class than other restorative options because I  put in the mental effort to create clarity and peace.

Choose Yin Yoga when you...

  • Want to pamper yourself with stillness and quiet
  • Feel stuck in a cycle of busy-ness and "go-go-go"
  • Are ready to "go deeper" - into yourself/your yoga practice/your life journey/etc
  • Want to move your body but don't want to exert effort (such as after illness)
  • Feel like your joints need nourishment
  • Need to think deeply but are having a hard time concentrating
  • Crave space for reflection and centering

Perhaps choose something different if you...

  • Want to burn a lot of calories
  • Absolutely, positively are not in the mood to be still
  • Have potential interruptions nearby (children, emails, etc) 
  • Are not in the mood for something new today
  • Feel like a bubble bath may be a better option right now (see "restorative" yoga in chart above)

Enjoy this beginner Yin Yoga class!

And please let me know what you think!  Did your mind wander?  Did emotions come up?  Or maybe it was easy breezy?  Super relaxing?  Whatever your experience, I hope you feel a little bit more Balance, Perspective, & Peace through this practice.  Namaste :)

Sometimes you just have to turn off the lights, sit in the dark, and see what happens.
— Adam Oakley