One aspect that makes yoga special is variety: there are many styles of classes to benefit those with different goals and lifestyles, and no one class is the “right way” to go. What is good for some, is not perfect for all. We can also achieve similar results through different means: some prefer a fast flow class, while others may want to focus on a few posses and really deepen their reach in those poses.
Yin yoga is a yoga class where poses are held for 3 to 5 minutes in a relaxing setting, really focusing on the impact of the pose and the benefits it brings. Flow classes still offer challenging poses, but part of the challenge is the sequence. I often do not push myself to just before my limit in a pose, because I know that doing so will make some poses harder in a later sequences that work on similar areas of the body.
Yin yoga is taught at Green Locus Yoga by Stacy Parker. Through her own story Stacy discovered yoga’s healing benefits of mind, body, and spirit. She knew she wanted to bring the yoga “high” to everyone. After years of taking classes she completed her RYT 200 course at Green Locus.
Stacy Parker studied yoga in order to achieve the benefits of traditional exercise in a more restorative fashion. Stacy focuses on the gentle side of yoga, also referred to as 'yin'.
She is a certified Reiki Master, holds a BA in English/Creative Writing, and currently works in graduate medical education. Stacy completed her 200 hour teacher training and is always open to deepening her understanding through other yoga classes.
Stacy was interviewed by Meredith Schneider, one of Green Locus Yoga’s interns, about the power of Yin Yoga.
Hello Stacy! What exactly is yin yoga?
"Yin Yoga is a more meditative, passive form of yoga. Yin Yoga targets the deeper connective tissues (ligaments, tendons, and fascia) of our body by holding poses from three to five minutes or more. Yin Yoga helps in building flexibility in our bodies. The long holds allows for quieting our minds giving our busy minds a rest. Yin Yoga is a complement to your (yang) traditional yoga classes helping one to form a more balanced practice."
Is yin yoga for everyone? Who would you recommend this class for?
"I wish I could say Yin is for everyone, but it is not. Many people think it is restorative yoga and it is not. Restorative yoga is for restoring the body. Yin yoga is for helping flexibility through gentle stressing of the joints, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. There is a difference. I recommend this for people wanting to find more flexibility in their bodies and as a complement to their flow asana practice. The people who only want the sweaty, nonstop, flow class should really give Yin Yoga a try. The meditative side of Yin is great for those of us with minds that can't sit still. It is something you have try and keep coming back and then you're hooked. I don't recommend it for expectant Mommies or those recovering from an injury."
Do you recommend combining yin yoga with other forms of exercise?
"Absolutely, Yin yoga is a great complement to any flow practice. One of my students plays golf and he says it helps in his golf game. Runners also come to my class looking for the long held deep stretch Yin yoga provides to the body. Yin yoga helps to create flexibility in your body. I recommend it to anyone needing more flexibility in their body."
What do people get from yin yoga that they cannot get from other yoga classes?
"More time to explore their edge, to find their stillness within, a slower pace and in my class, a few laughs."
Any tips for someone coming in for their first yoga/yin yoga class?
"My tips would be to respect your body and to not push your body too hard especially on the first class because you can injure yourself. Yin gives you time to explore the pose and how your body fits into it so take that time. Have an open mind and take it slow."
What would you say to someone who may be nervous about trying yoga for the first time in a class setting?
"Relax, yoga is not competitive. Go to a gentle or beginners class where you might feel a bit more comfortable. And, go to classes until you find one you are comfortable with going to practice your yoga."
Make sure to check out Green Locus Yoga's Yin Yoga class! We offer it as a regular class, but always check back for possible changes.
Meredith Schneider is a junior Mass Communications Public Relations major at the University of South Florida. Currently, she is interning with Green Locus Yoga, Meredith gets to combine her love for writing with her love of yoga! You can follow Meredith on Twitter.