Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yin Yoga FAQ Part 2

Last week, I listed Part 1 of the frequently asked questions about yin yoga that I have received over the years of teaching it. Here is second half of the list. Remember, on April 6-7, I will be leading a Yin Yoga Immersion at Breathe Los Gatos so you can learn more about this practice.

Do I Need to Be Flexible to Do Yin Yoga?

No. In fact, flexibility is only party due to the length of the muscles, contrary to what most people believe. CT provides about half of the flexibility of the joints, so exercising this tissue is key to improving flexibility.

Can Beginners Practice Yin Yoga?

In general, yes, but it really depends on the beginner. If a beginner steps into my ongoing class and has no background in mindfulness, has several physical limitations, and has rampant energy or mental challenges, than there will probably be some learning curve time. As long as the student understands that while the practice may be simple, it is not easy, and they maintain a willingness to keep observing, I encourage all to practice.

Can I practice Yin When I’m Pregnant?

Yes, but… During pregnancy, there are some different situations that occur that expecting mamas need to be aware of. First, there is a hormone that a pregnant woman’s body secretes to help make childbirth a little easier (spoiler alert: it’s not); that hormone improves the flexibility around the pelvis, so she must remain very cautious about going too deep into a stretch, and she might hold the poses for a shorter duration. Twists and prone postures (like Sphinx or Seal) will become uncomfortable/impossible at some point in her pregnancy, so she should find alternate poses for these. There are also terrific benefits to practicing yin yoga during pregnancy.

Can I practice Yin When I’m Injured?

Ah, this is the one I get the most. Here’s what happens: Suzie Student has been diligently going to her power yoga classes weekly, but then falls off her bike and sprains her wrist. Her power yoga teacher advises her to wait 6 weeks until the swelling is completely down and there is no more pain, but in the meantime, she can practice yin yoga. So, Suzie shows up, grumpy because her “real” yoga isn’t available to her right now and she’s having to explore this other, weird stuff. Yes, you can come to yin yoga, depending on your injury. If it’s somewhere that doesn’t require weight bearing (like Suzie’s wrist), I invite you to come as soon as possible. The poses, breathing and mindfulness will help your pain and recovery. However, if Suzie came to my class and informed me that she has a new diagnosis of bursitis in her hip, a joint that we are directly affecting in yin yoga, I will most likely ask her to modify or take restorative versions of the poses related to her hip. Ideally, we want the swelling from an injury to go down completely before we begin to stress the CT again. This will improve healing.

How Often Can I Practice Yin Yoga?

As often as you like! Do remember the image of yin-yang and be sure you are balancing both practices for optimum health.


Please see the Events page for more information about these upcoming special programs:

Next weekend: Sunday, March 31 (Easter): OM for Peace
Saturday, April 6 - Sunday April 7: Yin Yoga 14-Hour Immersion
Saturday, April 6 - Sunday April 7 AND Saturday, April 13 - Sunday April 14: Yin Yoga Teacher Training
Sunday, April 28: Yin Yoga 1-Day Workshop