So What Is Yin Yoga And What Yin Yoga Benefits Can I Expect?
We are entering yin yoga paradise, ladies and gentlemen … Erika Awakening explores yin yoga in Ubud, Bali in September 2013. Today was my first day in Ubud, Bali, and already I’m in love. I woke up without an alarm clock at 8 am. In spite of flying halfway around the world in 30 hours door to door, I have no jet lag. None. I was excited to start my Bali adventure with a yin yoga class at the famed Yoga Barn here in Ubud, Bali.
I was not disappointed. The room for our yin yoga class was packed wall to wall. About 50 of us altogether, yoga mats barely a few inches apart. Our instructor Denise handed each of us two tennis balls at the beginning of our 90-minute yin yoga class.
“Tennis balls?” I thought with curiosity. Never seen that before. And I’ve been practicing yin yoga and taking yin yoga classes for several years. I wonder what yin yoga sequence we are going to do with tennis balls … hmmm …
What Is Yin Yoga
In my new favorite yin yoga DVD, the Ultimate Yogi instructor Travis Eliot asks us this question:
What Is Yin Yoga?
His first answer may surprise you. According to Travis Eliot and many of us who have been practicing yin yoga for years, yin yoga is a “fountain of youth.”
Yin yoga is a gentle and slow form of yoga that focuses on releasing tension from the connective tissue of the body. It maintains our flexibility and is a very powerful stress reliever. It works well as a complement to Emotional Freedom Technique EFT tapping because it gets us in touch with traumas that are stored in the deeper tissues of the body. (More on that later in this article.)
I discovered yin yoga in the North Lake Tahoe area a few years back. After trying out a yin yoga class for the first time, I fell in love with this quiet, simple practice. The typical “vinyasa flow” yang yoga felt too “busy” to me, and too much like hard work. My life was more and more about being, less and less about doing. These new yin yoga poses fit what I wanted exactly.
For the first half of yin yoga class, all we did is play with tennis balls. Our yin yoga instructor Denise showed us how to position tennis balls in various sore spots of the body and then use the weight of the body to release tension. This is a form of yin yoga sequence that I had never experienced before. The yin yoga studio was full of groans. You know that thin line between pleasure and pain? Hurts so good? You’d think it was a sex class for all the combined masculine and feminine groaning and moaning in the room lol. :)
So why do we practice yin yoga – what are the yin yoga benefits? Well, try it sometime. You tell me the feeling you have afterward isn’t addictive …
As my friend Steve Piccus said about another form of bodywork that I have used for healing, White Tiger Tantra, “the issues are in the tissues.”
What Is Yin Yoga
Yin yoga is the art form of being. We are getting off the hamster wheel.
When we practice a yin yoga sequence, it almost looks like we are doing nothing. We hold poses for a LONG time, often three to seven minutes per pose. We abandon frenetic movement in favor of deepening into presence and our bodies. We rejuvenate our connective tissues, release old stagnant emotions from the muscles and joints, and generally feel much better. I often feel a bit of euphoria after my yin yoga classes or even just doing the yin yoga poses at home.
You may be wondering … yeah but what happened to exercise and muscle toning?
What happened when I abandoned “frenetic” exercise in favor of this quiet form of yoga, along with other major changes such as my 30-Day Health & Fitness Challenge? Did I lose muscle tone or gain weight? Nope. I lost weight and gained muscle tone. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever looked better in my life than I do right now … (see my EFT tapping for weight loss article here)
Our yin yoga instructor Denise basically said the same today. She talked about the accumulation of trauma in the body and about how yin yoga can release that trauma. You see, I have a theory about this. I believe most of what we attribute to “aging” is actually not aging at all. It’s the build up of trauma in the body, the slow death of the human body through constriction of the life force as one negative experience is piled upon another. Finding effective ways to release this trauma means, ultimately, the end of aging.
And most of our lives, we thought that “aging” process was progressive, degenerative, and unstoppable. I don’t believe that anymore. I believe that aging is preventable and reversible, and that yin yoga is one of many modalities that we can combine together to release people from the slow march toward death. (To hear more about my somewhat provocative views about the “end aging,” see Fritz the Cat and me in our End of Aging interview on Huffington Post Live here.)
So what is yin yoga? What are the yin yoga benefits?
It’s a way for you to get into the connective tissue and fascia of your body where you have stored a lifetime’s worth of baggage … and release that baggage. It’s a way for you to increase your capacity for “being with” your feelings without reacting to them. When combined with other modalities such as my advanced system of EFT tapping, the results are exponential.
Back when I used to have chronic pain (which has almost entirely disappeared by consistent practice of my Holistic Belief Reprogramming system) … and painkillers stopped working for me … I noticed something. The only way I could get any relief was to get a deep tissue massage.
Same principles. All of these modalities are using the acupuncture and meridian system of the body to release blocks and increase the flow of what we call “chi” energy, or the life force within us.
When chi is flowing, we feel good. We feel healthy and alive and youthful. When we feel anything but good, we know there is a blockage we need to clear. One of the major yin yoga benefits is to get that chi flowing again … and it feels oh so good. Lately when I’ve been doing a lot of work on my computer to improve these websites (yay!), I do yin yoga poses throughout the day to prevent my body from getting tight and constricted.
I have been recommending yin yoga to my private clients for years now. Not everyone has access to a yoga studio where it is possible to take yin yoga classes. If that’s the case for you, just get some yin yoga DVDs. There are more and more options online. Or you could do what I did. Become a location-independent entrepreneur and travel to far-flung places like Ubud, Bali or Costa Rica to experience some of the best yin yoga instructors in the world!
So what is yin yoga?
It is being without effort. Do less and accomplish more.
Yin yoga is one of many personal growth transformation practices that I use to simplify my life. A quiet mind and rested body are capable of accomplishing far more than a crazed mind and a tired body. What happened when I “slowed down” my business, stopped worrying about generating MORE web traffic and focused on a few truly committed clients and customers – did I go broke? Nope. My life just got simpler and easier and more satisfying, while I was able to help the committed people a lot more because we could go way deeper with my Holistic Belief Reprogramming system.
As Travis Eliot says in his beautifully produced yin yoga DVD in the Ultimate Yogi program:
“In doing nothing, everything begins to happen.”
Do less and accomplish more.
Doing less and accomplishing more is the focus of the 30-Day Simplify Your Life Challenge, which I recorded on location in Bali and other parts of Southeast Asia. One focus is yin yoga and other practices you can use to … YES … SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE. You will absolutely LOVE this 30-Day Simplify Your Life Challenge. It may seem like a “big” investment, trust me it’s worth it (and I am writing that last sentence nearly a year later after my life has been greatly simplified :) …
Do less and accomplish more.
What is yin yoga?
Shall we say, it’s the beginning of heaven on earth :)
But hey you know, all of this is just talk. I can tell you all the “logical” reasons why you “should” practice yin yoga. I can go through a long list of yin yoga benefits. Why you “should” combine it with my advanced EFT tapping system, deep tissue massage, meditation, Pilates, and other forms of yoga to experience states of bliss that you didn’t even know were possible … yet nothing is going to be more convincing than your own experience. Go find a few yin yoga classes or grab a few yin yoga DVDs. Try out yin yoga for yourself, and see if you don’t get as addicted to it as I am :) Then we can talk …
Let me know what you think :)
About the Author:
Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening
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