Yin Yoga: A calming and relaxing practice
Apart from the more common dynamic yoga options for better balance, there’s “Yin Yoga,” a calming and relaxing practice that targets deep connective tissues.
The term was coined by Sarah Powers, who will be visiting the country next year.
The Yin Yoga style provides yogis and other practitioners with more flexibility and freedom of movement.
“We’re talking about the ligaments, the tendons, areas of the body we don’t target as much and as effectively when we extend the muscle,” said Dona Tumacder-Esteban, a certified Yin Yoga instructor.
“Yang targets the muscle tissues so we can strengthen it, Yin targets the connective tissues… that targets the flexibility,” she added.
In Yin Yoga, practitioners yield to each pose with relaxed muscles, allowing time and gravity to take us to the fullness of the pose.
“Take a breath in, exhale and release the muscles,” Tumacder-Esteban explained. “On your next exhale, fold from the hip creases and round the back… In Yin, we hold the pose for three minutes, then slowly roll up.”
“Come on all fours, step your right foot in between your hands,” she added. “Sort of drag your foot back and relax, and just drape your body over your right.”
Tumacder-Esteban also showed the Dragon, one of the most active of yoga poses, which is said to be helpful to athletes.
“The key here is to fully relax the hips,” she said. “You can get out of the pose slowly and come into child’s pose to decompress and slowly roll up.”
A yoga practitioner for 13 years, Tumacder-Esteban has been doing Yin Yoga for a few days each week for the last two years to exercise her joints.
She swears by Yin Yoga’s benefits.
“According to research, the flexibility of the body is not because of muscle flexibility alone. It’s because of the connective tissues. And with greater flexibility, you can have a better range of motion,” she said.
“I have some practitioners over 60, it helps them age gracefully,” she added. “Yin Yoga allows us to study the contents of our minds and cultivate that awareness of our selves, our patterns, habits. And it’s a great tool for stress management.”
Find out more about Yin Yoga at www.igobeyondyoga.com. – Paolo Abrera for the ABS-CBN News Channel
Dateline Philippines, ANC, April 19, 2012