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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Yin Yoga – Go Deep to Balance Your Practice

By Lisa Moore

If yoga is about balance, then Yin Yoga is a perfect compliment to the active, dynamic styles currently practiced in the US. Most of these styles are considered Yang, focusing on internal heat, muscular movement and contraction. By contrast, Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones and even the joints of the body not normally exercised much in active asana practices.

Also known as Taoist or Chinese Yoga, a Yin Yoga practice emphasizes the critical difference between the Yin and Yang tissues of the body. Muscles and blood are Yang, connective tissues and joints are Yin. Yin and Yang tissues do not respond to training in the same way.

Local yoga instructor Maureen Scott received a special certification in Yin Yoga and is passionate about its power.  She says it helps maintain joint health by preventing contracture and degeneration, reducing fixation and helping with dehydration that occurs in the normal aging process and from injuries. “Yin yoga helps to rehydrate the joints, wash and clean them and return them to their healthy range of motion,” states Scott, who teaches at the Jewish Community Center and the Siskey and Ballantyne YMCA’s.

Suitable for almost all levels of students, Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis and lower spine. In order to stretch and stimulate them and give them traction, muscles are not engaged so the connective tissue can stretch. Poses are typically held 3-5 minutes, but may go longer.

Yin Yoga also stimulates the meridians or energy channels throughout the body. The Taoist yogis believe that chi flows through these pathways that lie deep within the connective tissues. With a yin practice practitioners can coax chi into various stagnant areas, thereby restoring the flow of life force that has a direct impact on physical and psychological well-being.

Scott says Yin Yoga quiets her mind and allows her to go deeper into her being, setting the stage for meditation. “In this practice we gradually become a witness to what comes up, such as patterns of thought and feelings that we habitually move away from. Yin Yoga stimulates a more relaxed state of mind,” she concludes.

Local Contributor: Maureen Scott

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