Yoga is an incredibly diverse form of exercise, with lots of styles and types to choose from. And one of the things that makes it so accessible is that it suits all fitness levels and goals.

Whether you’re looking to build core strength, increase flexibility, or compliment other forms of exercise with a restorative practise, there’s a style of yoga for you.

There are some styles, however, that are generally more popular than others. And some that fall under the radar. Yin could be seen as one of the latter, but it’s an excellent practise with some amazing benefits.

So this week we’ll be talking all about yin yoga: what makes it a great practise, and why you should consider incorporating it into your exercise routine.

What is yin yoga?

Yin is a quiet and passive style of yoga that targets our deep connective tissues. Typically it focuses on the lower body (hips, pelvis, thighs, spine), and consists of a series of long-held poses that can each last upwards of five minutes.

It offers a more introspective practise than many other types of yoga, helping us cultivate patience and stillness, whilst subtly improving our flexibility and mobility.

Yin yoga can be particularly beneficial for people who are overactive and busy. If you lead a relatively stressful life, or if you engage in regular and intense exercise, yin could be the perfect counterbalancing practise.

But don’t be fooled by its reflective and passive nature, yin yoga is just as challenging as any other discipline. The primary difficulty of yin is in holding uncomfortable poses for such unnatural periods of time. In general, most of us aren’t accustomed to staying still for long. But staying still for long stretches of time, in an often uncomfortable position, can feel incredibly unusual and disagreeable. And this is where many of the challenges, and benefits, unique to this style are found.

Why practise yin?

Yin yoga really is for anyone, but it can be especially beneficial for those of us who are over-stimulated, under-energised, and tired.

If you have a restless mind and body, and struggle to sit still, yin yoga may offer the perfect remedy. The same goes for people who are in constant search of stimulation. Checking our phones every minute, shifting our attention from this to that to this to that, are habits that can be subdued by a yin yoga practise. Yin is all about calming the mind and developing our patience.

Some benefits of yin yoga

Poor posture, daily wear and tear, and ageing, all contribute to the increased tightness of our connective tissues. Yin yoga helps to alleviate this build up of tension and stiffness by gently lengthening muscles and fascia.

It’s a practise that increases range of motion by gently stressing our joints and connective tissues. And in this way yin yoga can act as a very practical and functional form of exercise, especially as we get older.

Though it’s by no means a quick fix, there are many benefits that a long-term yin yoga practise can yield, which include:

Reduced stress.

Increased circulation.

Improved mobility and flexibility.

Reduced tension.

Try something new

For many people, yin yoga may at first sound unappealing. The idea of sitting still, in uncomfortable postures, for long periods of time, doesn’t sound entirely exciting to everyone. But that’s exactly why you should consider giving it a go.

Chances are, if yin yoga doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, it’s because of the pace and stillness it entails. But those characteristics of the practise will more than likely turn out to be the reasons why you love it.

For lots of people, yin yoga may act as their only opportunity to be still and quiet, to slow down and reflect. And it’s in creating that quiet space that yin allows that we can discover new avenues to wellbeing. After all, cardio and strength training aren’t the only paths to a healthy life.

If you’re curious about trying yin yoga, why not come along to a session at Jesmond Pool? We now offer classes every Monday from 1-2pm, £5 per session.