Yin Yoga: effects and exercises of the intensive yoga style

Yin Yoga is a calm and passive form of yoga where you get to rest and stretch intensively. The exercises are usually practiced while sitting or lying down and held for several minutes.

This is less about dynamism and more about surrendering to the exercises and completely relaxing into them.

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga is not about muscle building or endurance training, but about passively letting yourself fall into the asanas and completely relax. The breath must flow freely, and the yogi must find himself and his inner peace.

As a rule, only four to six exercises are done in a yoga class of 75 to 90 minutes, but these are held for up to ten minutes.

Staying in one position for a long time gives the yogi time to let go completely. This is the only way to reach the fascial tissue, bones and joints.

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Yin Yoga is not about performing every asana perfectly.

There is no competition, neither better nor worse. In Yin Yoga, much attention is paid to the fact that each body is different and has different movement possibilities.

Dynamic yoga styles are usually very yang-heavy. “Yang” describes the male energy in yoga, stands for dynamism and strength. “Yin”, on the other hand, stands for female energy, for calm and for harmony in the body.

The meditative positions should enable the so-called “Chi” to flow freely through the body.

Effects of Yin Yoga on body and mind

Due to its passive and relaxing nature, Yin Yoga has a number of positive effects:

  • release of tension
  • Improving flexibility and mobility
  • Strengthening inner peace, strength and balance

The body learns to let go of any muscle tension or tension between organs.

The practice of Yin Yoga is therefore particularly recommended for yogis who otherwise practice sweaty, active yoga or sports that put a lot of strain on the muscles.

Yin Yoga also has a positive effect on elasticity and fascia – these are often “unglued” and the body is made more flexible again.

After a few minutes in the position, the body opens up and stretches even deeper. Holding the exercises for a longer time also has a very meditative effect and gives the yogi time to deal with himself and find himself.

Who is Yin Yoga suitable for?

Yin Yoga is suitable for athletes and yogis looking for a relaxing contrast to their muscle work.

Anyone who often works with weights and gives a lot of power will find Yin Yoga a balancing form of yoga that ensures the body becomes more flexible and relaxed.

If you’re looking for a powerful style of yoga, you’ve come to the wrong place with Yin Yoga…

What level of practice is required for Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga is basically suitable for everyone, as there are always more difficult or easier variations of the exercises depending on the training level.

If you have previous injuries, you should talk to the yoga teacher in advance about which exercises can be performed and how, so that the joints or ligaments are not exposed to even more stress.

You may also like these types of yoga

If you’re looking for even deeper relaxation, try restorative yoga.

In restorative yoga, the ultimate goal is to achieve relaxation and recovery. The positions are held for a very long time, just like in Yin Yoga, but should be even simpler and more carefree.

To make this possible, aids such as bolsters, chairs or cushions are used to help.

What can you expect from a Yin Yoga class?

A Yin Yoga class of 60 to 75 minutes begins with the body coming to the mat and the consciousness in the room.

This is done with a short initial meditation and sometimes chanting the mantra “Om”.

Then it goes straight to the four to six asanas.

As soon as the series of exercises is completed, “Shavasana” follows, the deep relaxation in which the yogi can simply relax lying on his back. At the end of the lesson, “Om” is usually sung again.

Tips for beginners: Don’t give 100 percent right from the start, but give your body time to let go and relax. Since the positions are held for a long time, it is advisable to start with 70 percent and gradually increase them.

Yin Yoga: Exercises

The exercises are not actively forced through muscle power, but are approached passively. Less is more here!

By holding the position for a longer time, the body can open up and “give in” – because it is otherwise used to achieving physical goals with muscle power. In Yin Yoga this works through relaxation.

Roll out the yoga mat and let’s go! We show you four well-known Yin Yoga exercises that you can imitate:

1. The dragon

Woman doing yin yoga in dragon pose


2. The butterfly

Woman doing yin yoga in butterfly pose


3. The caterpillar

Woman doing Yin Yoga in caterpillar pose


4. The Swan

Woman doing yin yoga in swan pose


What do you need for a Yin Yoga class?

For a Yin Yoga class, you definitely need a good, large and comfortable yoga mat. Because you must feel completely safe during the exercises and be able to let go. A soft blanket or yoga towel is also popular.

For yogis who are not yet so flexible, aids to reach or make the poses easier, such as a yoga strap, a yoga block or a bolster are suitable. Usually, however, such additional aids are also made available in the yoga studio.

For Yin Yoga, it is best to wear extra comfortable clothes – for example, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt – and pack warm socks. This makes the final sequence particularly chilling.

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