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Health & Fitness

Tales from the Mat: Yin Yoga

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Yin Yoga is a beautiful, slow, meditative style of yoga which calms the mind and stretches the body. It targets the deeper, connective tissues in a way which other forms of yoga cannot so easily reach. The name ‘yin’ reflects the quieter, slower and stillness qualities of the practice and its ability to balance and counteract the busy, fast-paced ‘yang’ demands on everyday lives. I talked to some regular yin yoga devotees and here’s what they said.

“Yin Yoga is an interesting thing. The movements are slow, the holds are long and time flies. It's a relaxing challenge and it feels wholesome. There is a dozy-wasp moment immediately afterwards, like waking from a deep sleep. This is followed by a lovely suppleness for the rest of the day. What joy.” - Clare

“I really love yin yoga. It helps slow my mind down and I come away feeling deeply relaxed. It took a little while to get used to, but now I feel like I'm becoming much more in tune with my body. I can now feel where I'm holding tension and learning to let go of that feels a profound benefit.” - Tracey

“Yin Yoga is for everyone. It is such a gentle practice where one feels so at peace with oneself at the world. Especially when guided by yoga whisperer Joy.” - Emeline

“I particularly love yin yoga for days when I am tired as I get the benefits of yoga without a high level of exertion which is great after a long day.” - Victoria

“I experience Yin Yoga as a powerful, deep, holistic practice. It affirms my knowledge about myself as a mind/body. It sustains my understanding and appreciation of the relationship between my proprioceptive and interoceptive awareness and informs my behaviour in relation to others and to our environment. It gives me a place, space and time to examine my resistance, resilience and fragility without judgement.” - Erica

Most yin yoga poses are simple and close to the ground. The main difference from other classes is that each pose is held for many minutes, while the practitioner focuses on sensations in the body. While simple, the practice is not easy. It’s important that the tension in the tissues is felt and maintained throughout the duration of the pose. The other big challenge of the practice is being still – both for the mind and the body.

Details of these and my other yoga classes in Oxford can be found at yogidup.com

Our Tales from the Mat come from the wonderful Joy Le Fevre, yoga teacher and founder of  yogidup.com

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