About six months ago, I incorporated yoga into my training calendar, but not just any yoga, Yin Yoga. At the beginning my first class, I giggled because it was so easy. “This can’t possibly be doing anything,” I said to myself. Of course, I was drawing on my past experience when yoga was extremely difficult, and this was slow, methodical and relaxing. I decided to open my mind; I was there for an hour, so I might as well make the most of it. That’s when I began my journey to balance.
Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang. It is the practice of applying stress to muscle and connective tissue — the tendons and ligaments that hold together the entire body — and is a more meditative form of yoga, stretching and releasing the tension that results from strength training, or Yang Yoga. In other words, it’s the perfect way to undo the stress of running. The passive poses, similar to Hatha but named differently, are held for 4-5 minutes in order to affect the connective tissue. It’s easy to manipulate muscles, but tendons and fascia require a little more work and patience. Which leads me to the final benefit: patience and meditation.
Oh, the mind. It’s hard to turn off our thoughts and reach a state of zen, but even if you do for a few seconds, you’re winning. You have an entire hour to try, and I guarantee, with the right instruction, you will meditate at some point. Meditation is known to reduce stress and blood pressure as well as increase immunity. It clears your mind and opens your heart for the inevitable challenges of the day.
We preach about yoga all the time, but I hope you’ll give Yin Yoga a try. It isn’t about strengthening, it’s about balance. You run and lift weights to get stronger; use Yin Yoga to increase flexibility, promote healthy joints and calm your mind. — Amie