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YIN YOGA

YIN YOGA 

​​YIN YOGA 

​​Every Friday evening at 7.15pm


Yin yoga is a way of working our deep tissues and keeping our joints healthy. It is also a deeply meditative practice as the poses are each held for a few minutes fully supported by props to take away any strain.

This can be a challenging form of yoga as it can be a struggle to still our body and mind but once this challenge is overcome, there is a wonderful feeling of stillness and peace. The practice allows us to connect with our bodies, being aware of tightness and limitations so that we can work with them rather than against them. It is also a fantastic opportunity for self reflection.

Yoga Nidra has the potential to completely relax the body and takes our mind to the same state as when we are in a deep dreamless sleep but still with a level of awareness. As well as a form of complete rest for the body and mind, it is also a deeply spiritual practice.

Yin Yoga, is increasing in popularity in the west, but is an approach that some may have never even heard of.
One that in my experience, takes many a few times to really warm up to and even understand. 

Yin Yoga postures are more passive postures, mainly on the floor and the majority of postures equal only about three dozen or so, much less than the more popular yang like practices.

Yin Yoga is unique in that you are asked to relax in the posture, soften the muscle and move closer to the bone. While yang-like yoga practices are more superficial, Yin offers a much deeper access to the body. It is not uncommon to see postures held for three to five minutes, even 20 minutes at a time. The time spent in these postures is much like time spent in meditation, and I often leave students to develop the postures as if they were trying to meditate.

While in a Yin class you might notice similar postures to a yang class except they are called something else, on a basic level this is to help the students mind shift form yang to yin, active to passive.

This concept of Yin yoga has been around for thousands of years and some of the older text, such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika notes only sixteen postures in its text, which is far less than the millions of postures practiced in today’s yoga. 

So what exactly is Yin yoga? It is a more meditative approach with a physical focus much deeper than Yang like practices. Here the practitioner is trying to access the deeper tissues such as the connective tissue and fascia and many of the postures focus on areas that encompass a joint (hips, sacrum, spine). As one ages flexibility in the joints decreases and Yin yoga is a wonderful way to maintain that flexibility, something that for many don’t seem to be too concerned about until they notice it is gone.

This intimate practice of yoga requires students to be ready to get intimate with the self, with feelings, sensations, and emotions, something of which I have noticed can be easy to avoid in a fast paced yoga practice.

Yin yoga is often used in programs that deal with addictions, eating disorders, anxiety and deep pain or trauma. For me my first experience with yoga was when I was knee deep in an eating disorder. Not familiar with the difference in practices I did notice that yoga helped me, and I often equate my practice to saving my life. Now that being said, several years later I stumbled across Yin yoga and found that the recovery process I had been going through apparently needed some more work and WOW did Yin point that out to me. I often struggled with being alone, sitting with feelings and sensations (something addicts struggle with) and found it challenging to face myself and the rawness of what I was doing and who I was in that moment. This concept in practice, allowed me a greater mental stability something much of which is a benefit of meditation, basically “learning to sit still.”

Now if you’ve never practiced Yin yoga you might not quite understand how this is so different, but for me Yin has dug deeper than I could have ever gotten otherwise. For my students I often tell them when they are about to try a Yin class that they need to try it three or four times to really make a decision about the practice. Many find immediate benefits like more open hips, a more relaxed body and centered mind. To me, I don’t think one practice is better than the other, but what I would see as beneficial is for the practitioner to see the benefit in each and that there is a need for both. Possibly one benefiting more than the other at times in your life, but a need none-the-less.

Some of the benefits of Yin yoga are:
Calming and balancing to the mind and body
Regulates energy in the body
Increases mobility in the body, especially the joints and hips
Lowering of stress levels (no one needs that)
Greater stamina
Better lubrication and protection of joints
More flexibility in joints & connective tissue
Release of fascia throughout the body
Help with TMJ and migraines
Deeper Relaxation
A great coping for anxiety and stress
Better ability to sit for meditation
Ultimately you will have a better Yang practice


I really do believe that if you incorporate a little of both will create a more well-rounded practice as well as a better-rounded version of the awesome you!
If you take a peek at a Yin-Yang symbol, it is suggesting that no matter what, we should take a “tiny bit” and put it in the heart of its opposite. Knowing both practices, and having struggled with a wide variety of eating disorders, addiction, depression and anxiety, I get that too much of something is simply too much. Yin yoga as taught me to truly be still, to really come face to face with myself, even more than my past practice has; and because of this I am now able to bring what Yin has taught me into my more Yang like practices and ultimately my life as a whole. 

Yin yoga teaches you how to really listen, you don’t get the opportunity to go in and out, jump around and find a distracted version of stillness within your practice. Yin is such a great compliment to other styles and your own personal life, because it brings long periods of time in an uncomfortable position, which then asks you to learn to “be” to “accept what is” in that given moment. Something we can all benefit from daily. For me, I did not know how to be in my own company, I did not like to feel or be or anything that required me to have an emotion. There is something so deep about Yin that will tap into a part of you in a way only unique to Yin. And for me a healthy Yin practice has poured over into a healthier Yang practice and a healthier life as a whole. And I wish that for everyone.

5 REASONS TO PRACTISE YIN YOGA

1. It’s an antidote to modern-day life.
Hustle. Lean in. No pain, no gain. Work hard, play hard. These could be the quintessential catch-cries of our Western culture, and certainly these mottos have inspired many of us to strive for and achieve our goals.
The trouble is, we have forgotten all about the flip-side: slow down, let go, surrender, take it easy and just be. Too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing, and our unbalanced approach to life is causing an epidemic of burn-out, exhaustion, depression and stress-related diseases.
2. It will release built-up tension in your body.
If you’ve practically sweat a river in more dynamic, vigorous, "yang-like" forms of yoga such as Vinyasa, Bikram, or Ashtanga, you’ll find yin yoga to be a refreshing change. Instead of moving quickly through strength-building standing poses that work on your muscles, the deep, long-held poses of yin yoga focus on releasing built-up tension in the fascia or connective tissue.(Have no idea what fascia is? You know when you feel like the hunchback of Notre Dame after sitting at your computer all day? That’s your fascia giving you grief).
3. It will shift you from "doing" mode into "being" mode.
The long-held poses also mean that, well, you aren't really doing a whole lot. This can be disconcerting at first if you are not used to being still, but if you can shift gears and just surrender, you will find that both your mind and body can enter into a deep state of relaxation. With the focus on noticing the breath and the sensations occurring in your body, it is also an excellent segue into mindfulness and meditation, particularly for thoseType A personalities that feel like they’ll go nuts just sitting upright in more formal styles of meditation.
4. It will act as a good counter-balance to your other workouts.
Practicing yin yoga is also a good counterbalance to other more yang styles of exercise, such as running or working out at the gym. These more repetitive, forceful types of exercise can not only lead to joint wear and tear, but habitual tightness in certain areas of the body. The deep stretching and releasing of the fascia in yin yoga can prevent the risk of injury and the mindful attention required by the practice helps to cultivate awareness and acceptance of your body’s natural limitations so that you are less likely to push yourself too far with other types of exercise.
5. It will transform your life off the mat as well.
Perhaps the most profound benefits of a regular yin yoga practice however, is the way it can start to transform your life off the mat as well. As you learn to be more patient, accepting and compassionate with your body and mind in a deeply intense stretch, you’ll find that these qualities are transferable to other areas of your life as well. Been working for 6 hours straight without taking a break? You won’t want to do that anymore. Feel like you want to scream at the painfully slow clerk at the post office – you’ll remember to surrender to the situation and just breathe. Feeling like a loser because you didn’t get everything done on your epic to do-list? You’ll remember that it’s not such a big deal and that is in fact ok to just be.

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JoeGa Shala
Ashford
karmaconnection1
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07803 907 912
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​​    1st SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH 

YOGA NIDRA inc as part of your candlelight experience
Stressed? Anxious? Tired? Tense? Insomniac? Or do you just want more in your life? Then YOGA NIDRA is for you. 
 
Yoga nidra or "yogic sleep" is a state experienced during meditation.
It is said that 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to four hours of deep sleep. In today's busy world, it is more essential than ever to give the thinking mind some time out and allow the body and mind time to rest.
Yoga Nidra is a beautiful practice that is very accessible and promotes a deep sense of relaxation inn the body and mind. In Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, Yoga Nidra falls under the fifth limb “Pratyahara” or “Withdrawal of Consciousness”. During Yoga Nidra, we slowly calm the brain activity down from our awake alert Beta state, down through Alpha state (where creativity and inspiration lies) and into Theta state. Theta state is often referred to as deep meditation but can also be described as the feeling we get just before we fall to sleep. Hearing is the last of the five physical senses to shut down and our aim during Yoga Nidra is to allow the other four senses to shut down but remain alert enough to retain our hearing. eventually we reach a point where it feels like we are in a dream state, not really asleep but not really awake. The sense of hearing will still be present but the other senses shut down leading to a vastly reduced number of messages and chemical signals being fed back to the brain. The physical body and mind are therefore able to fully relax and restore energy back into the body.
This is an essential tool for anyone who suffers from stress, anxiety, insomnia or struggles to quieten that chattering mind, especially last thing in the evening. 
So why not join me for a YOGA NIDRA session? And see how it can benefit you. 
​ 
£10pp max 7 places. Investment required to secure your space

Other dates are available on request if you have a group of upto 7 people.