cultivate calm podcast

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Yin yoga is a deeply relaxing and calming style of yoga that has loads of benefits for everyone, from beginners to elite athletes. Today I’m going deeper into the principles of yin yoga to explore why it’s so good for the physical body, nervous system, emotions, and the mind.

During Yin yoga, we focus on slow, long-held poses that primarily target the fascia or connective tissue rather than the muscles. Unlike other forms of yoga, yin yoga is practiced sitting down or lying down, without breaking a sweat. The emphasis is finding your edge in each posture, feeling a gentle stretch, not pain. Although Yin yoga can be challenging, it’s still very accessible to beginners, elderly people and those with injuries.

In this episode, I explain the three fundamental principles of Yin yoga:

1. Find Your Edge: It’s crucial to come into each pose at an appropriate depth, neither too strong nor too soft. Feeling some discomfort is normal, but pain should be avoided. The breath is an excellent guide; if you can’t breathe deeply or have to hold your breath, you’re pushing too hard.

2. Remain Still: Staying still in a pose allows the muscles to soften and the stretch to sink deeper into the joints and connective tissue. This stillness helps access and release chronic tension and stress stored in the fascia, leading to a more profound relaxation of both the body and mind.

3. Hold the Pose: Yin tissue, which includes the fascia, responds best to slow, gentle, and sustained stretching. Holding the poses for three to five minutes allows for a deeper release and stimulation of the meridians, the energetic pathways in the body.

Today I also help you understand the meridians and how targeting specific meridians in yin yoga can increase the flow of energy, which can lead to emotional releases. I discuss the five main yin and yang meridian pairs and share which emotions these link to.

I also talk about the profound effect that Yin yoga has on the nervous system, helping to activate the parasympathetic state which is associated with calm and relaxation. I explain proprioception, nociception and interoception and how these help to build resilience and capacity in our nervous systems.

Yin yoga offers a wealth of benefits for both the body and mind. Whether you’re looking to reduce stress, increase flexibility, or explore your emotions, yin yoga provides a gentle and accessible path. Regardless of age, flexibility, or experience, anyone can benefit from this practice.

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