Dessert Yoga: Getting a Taste of Yin Yoga

This week Vibe sat down with Patricia Pauly, one of our  instructors, to chat about yin yoga.  Patricia will be offering a pop up Yin Yoga Live Stream class Sunday, August 23, at 11:00.

V: What is yin yoga? How is it different from power vinyasa?

P: If power vinyasa is the yang, then yin yoga is, well, the yin!  Power classes are about moving and engaging muscle. The experience can be intense.  Yin can be intense in a different way: it is about holding poses, with the support of props for 3-7 minutes, and rather than engaging, it asks that we soften.  In a yin practice, we let gravity and time in the pose do the work for us.  I call it dessert yoga!

V: Why is that?

P:  Because it feels so good! Yin is a total treat.  You will find yourself in poses that look like yang poses, but the goal of a yin pose is different: the idea is to soften and let go. I often ask my yin students to do less—how often does anyone ever ask you to do less?

A yin practice can help the body slip into the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest and digest” nervous system. This allows the body to relax and open, and, overtime, improve its range of motion.

Energetically, a yin practice can help the mind settle and allow it to rest and recharge.  After a busy week, yin feels like dessert.

V: Who benefits from yin?

P: Everyone! Truly!  If you have a regular practice, yin is a great balance, and we all know that yoga is all about balance.  Athletes can use it as cross-training to open the body. The overworked, overly busy, and overly stressed can use it to open the mind.  Anyone can do yin, and everyone can benefit!

V:  Why are you so passionate about yin?

P: Some of the greatest lessons I have learned on the mat have come in yin practices:

  • Yin has helped me to see the interconnections of the body and taught me how to be at ease even when I’m not comfortable
  • Yin has allowed me to experience the power of the breath to help the body release tension, even in uncomfortable poses
  • Yin has honed my ability to focus. I like to call yin “sneaky meditation.” As the body is holding a pose, I’ll either focus on the sensations in the body or on the breath. It has helped me get better at holding my concentration on one point
  • Yin has made me more patient. You just can’t rush it
  • Finally, Yin has helped me understand more deeply the difference between acceptance and resignation.  I’ve learned that I can accept where I am physically and mentally on any given day, but that doesn’t mean I’m tossing in the towel, resigned to my state. It just means that I work from where I am. What a gift!

V: Any final thoughts?

P: I hope you will join me on Sunday, August 23 at 11:00 for a taste of dessert yoga!