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2 Part series Yoga Flow vs Yin Yoga

Thinking about starting a Yoga practice?

Over the course of my Yoga practice (this is Kathy by the way!), I have been asked several times “what is the difference between Yin Yoga and Yoga Flow”. I spent time doing my training with Crystal May in 2019 and if you’re looking for an instructor I highly recommend her!

Let’s chat about the similarities first; Yin Yoga and Yoga Flow are both slow-paced and stress-relieving practices, but they are very different.

What is Yin Yoga?

This style of yoga provides INSTANT results. It helps calm the mind, nurse an injury and focus on meditation. It’s perfect for opening your heart, calming your nervous system (bye bye anxiety!) and creating space for your body to go into relaxation mode.

There is a strong level of surrender needed to practice yin yoga so there often is some resistance when people are new to the world of yoga.

Four things to remember when practicing Yin Yoga:

  1. How a pose FEELS is more important than how it looks (this is not for the ‘gram!)

  2. Use the poses to get into the body - not the BODY to get into the pose.

  3. Surrender more than effort

  4. Use props - don’t be afraid to have a pillow nearly, or some extra cushions - this is YOUR practice.

Starting your Yin Yoga practice:

  1. Come to YOUR edge of the pose. Be aware of what you are feeling. Are you feeling any pain or discomfort in the pose? Discomfort is ok, pain is NOT. If you feel pain (sharp feeling in a joint as an example) the pose is likely not serving you. Ask your yoga teacher for a pose that can serve you better. Our bodies respond well to stress and pressure (especially the fascia). Find your “Goldie locks” of each pose. Not too much, not too little, just right. When we say find your edge, this is NOT your PEAK. Your peak means you could not go deeper into the pose, if you tried. The edge of your pose can be found by going to your peak, and then backing off 10-20%. Your edge can change from day to day, be sure to listen to your body. Come to a place of resistance in the pose. Resistance in your mind, body, or both. Allow your body to open, by letting go.

  1. Stillness. Stillness in your body, mind, and breathe. Stillness in the body; avoid fidgeting, consciously create stillness and surrender. Avoid unnecessary movement. What is necessary is up to you. If a pose is not serving you, movement may be necessary (if you’re experiencing numbness or pain). Stillness of the mind. Allow Yin to be more meditative. Get to know yourself. Awareness deepens with stillness and silence. If it helps, find a mantra. Mantra is anything repeated. One I go to fairly regularly lately is “I am loved.” Lastly is Stillness of breath. This does NOT mean hold your breath. Instead think steadiness vs stillness. Deep slow breathes send your mind and body a different message, then short shallow breaths do. Body, Mind, Breath, don’t let one carry the other 2 away. It is all connected.

  2. Hold. Time in a posture can be anywhere from 1-20 minutes, depending on the pose. In my classes 5-6 minutes are usually my longest holds. The reason behind long holds, is because of the fascia. Fascia responds like plastic; it needs pressure and time to change. If doing a yin practice on your own, start with shorter length holds and build up, as you get to know your body.

We love a good tagline - so to remember why you should be practicing yoga, tag this when you do your next pose #yinisinwithshift. And if you want to find more details about me, you can check it out here.

If you have any questions, comments or want some more guidance - please reach out to us & make sure to watch Kathy’s Yoga video right here: Instagram.

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