Do you feel overwhelmed by endless to do lists? Are you stressed from work, university or a busy family life? For many people, busy has become the new “norm” due to more stimulation than we have ever seen before. We have transformed the way we live so it's not surprising that increased levels of anxiety, stress and stimulation are keeping us on edge all day and insomnia at night. That’s where yin yoga can be of benefit. Beginning with some mindfulness, a lot of stillness and self-love, you can start the journey to yin yoga to experience a powerful practice to help you relax, rejuvenate and reconnect to your true self.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga, is a quiet yoga practice with long held poses structured to access your connective tissues, while healing both your physical and energetic body. The tissues accessed by yin yoga are responsible for 47% of your body's limited range of motion. By holding specific yoga asanas (poses) for 3-20 minutes, can create ample space to allow rest and relaxation into our lives; while offering fascinating new depths of flexibility and quiet peaceful thoughts into our busy minds.
In addition to the physical benefits of yin yoga, there are a myriad of psycho-emotional advantages to this practice. Drawn from the lineage of traditional Chinese medicine, yin yoga stimulates the movement of chi through twelve distinct meridian lines where we store many of our deepest emotions. Through extended holds, we create ample space for our bodies to energetically release these emotions and create a sense of clarity, calm and truth.
Benefits of Yin Yoga
How Yin Yoga is Unique
Finding Stillness: Your yin tissues are accessed in times of stillness - by relaxing your muscles and sinking into a space of non-rigid stillness. If you feel pain or sharpness allow moments of gentle movement and readjustment to uncover a place of stillness.
Find your edge: Your edge is your sweet spot, where sensation meets intensity, meets deep feeling. This is not a place of strain or pain. We go to our edge in yin yoga in order to encourage energetic flow and healing.
Holding Time: Yin poses are held anywhere from 3-20 minutes. Yin tissues are more plastic than elastic and require time to expand.
Many yoga practitioners relish the quiet space in yin yoga. From resolving the pains of arthritis, mobility, and flexibility, yin yoga is a powerful tool to add to your repertoire of healing modalities.
Acroyoga has become one of the fastest fitness and acrobatic trends for many reasons. From a fitness perspective, it changes your workout by using your muscles in ways you don’t use in everyday activities or in a regular yoga class. As a “base”, you will get a great workout for your quads, calves and toes when working with beginner poses and movements by learning how to push through your toes and legs to support another person. As a “flyer”, you will learn how to stay lifted and tight by engaging muscles while holding various poses. As your skills progress, they become more challenging, it is a full-body workout from head to toe.
Here are some common questions and concerns:
Is AcroYoga, yoga?
AcroYoga is not typical yoga. It is a whole new world of connection, awareness and possibility. The definition as described from AcroYoga.org is “AcroYoga blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics and the loving kindness of healing arts. These three lineages form the foundation of a practice that cultivates trust, playfulness and community.” For many people it’s a chance to explore movements in a new way.
Will I get hurt?
In Acro you are taught to practice new skills with a spotter. This person is an extra set of eyes and hands. Their responsibility is to watch the movements, be prepared to catch the flyer and help bring the pose down safely should a fall occur. In a class setting teachers will often teach the safest way to fall out of a pose. Learning an exit strategy gives confidence to practice poses when there is no spotter around. When you first start practicing you may have some soreness or even some bruises. Just like any activity where you have to move your body in a new way your body will take some time to adapt. This is where a beginner class or workshop helps.
I’m not strong enough to lift someone.
In AcroYoga, you stack our bones rather than using muscle energy to lift up the flyers. When you are stacked the poses are grounded and the flyers can feel secure to move around. It may take a few tries to find this pace but it’s always best to practice with what feels good and what doesn’t. Your spotter also gives cues as to where you are in space, helping you find your sweet spot.
What’s the point of this?
If you are looking for a new way to gain strength, flexibility and meet some new people this is the place for you. Students go from zero body awareness to moving through poses with ease. AcroYoga is also a great way to meet new people, deepen your connection with partners, and cultivate trust.
How can I get involved?
The best way is to look online for workshops and classes in your area. It is best to get started learning from someone who can teach you proper technique, both for safety and ease of practice. AcroYoga is gaining popularity fast and there are many teachers willing to share their knowledge with you.
As much as AcroYoga may look intimidating and challenging, ANYONE and EVERYONE has the ability to learn it with ease. AcroYoga is a bright and exciting practice that integrates one’s individual yoga practice, partnership through dynamic acrobatics and healing through therapeutic bodywork.
Caution: If you are pregnant or have any kind of medical problem or injuries, or have had any injuries or problems in the past, or any other condition that may be adversely affected by exercise, such as neck or back problems, high blood pressure, etc., please consult your doctor before practicing acroyoga to determine whether and how you can practice safely.
Kemetic Yoga is an ancient African form of yoga based on the culture of ancient Egypt, then known as Kemet. Kemetic Yoga utilizes movement and mythology from one of the oldest civilizations on Earth, particularly the national story, the Asarian resurrection. Yoga has been practiced since ancient times in different cultures and countries. Yoga didn't originate in Egypt, however, it has been practiced there for an estimated 10,000 years.
The benefits of Kemetic yoga start with breathing. Because so much concentration is focused on breathing, lung capacity and physical endurance improve. When deepening your breathing, you are prompting a relaxation response, which eases stress and calms you, also benefiting your ability to concentrate and putting you into a positive, happy frame of mind. Yoga has also been shown to have positive effects on heart health, asthma, arthritis, back pain and insomnia.
While traditional yoga poses are practiced in Kemetic yoga, the primary focus is on meditation and breath control. Kemetic yoga integrates these two elements with yoga poses, but breaks the poses down so that the body is in continuous movement, flowing seamlessly through several stages of one movement before going on to the next (similar to Vinyasa style). Breathing is coordinated with the movements to intensify energy circulation.
In Kemetic Yoga there are a series of 28 postures and 5 phases to move into the Divine Company of the gods and goddess of ancient Egypt. Each god or goddess is understood as field of energy or cosmic principle in which to align oneself. Traditional yoga poses are typically used in Kemetic yoga and have been found depicted in ancient Egyptian artwork and spiritual texts. In a typical Kemetic Yoga class, your physical and energetic bodies symbolize the Soul's journey on earth. Among the poses used in Kemetic Yoga are Tree pose, Sphinx pose, Bow Pose and Camel pose to name a few. The Pose of Immortality appears on a chair that belonged to King Tut, a significant example of the symbology of not only the pose but Kemetic yoga as a whole practice.
Want to practice this style of yoga? Check out this video for beginners: youtu.be/Z2IJEIaBG8k
With so many different types of yoga to choose from it can be a little bit confusing for beginners. Before deciding on which type of yoga is best for you it's a good idea to consider the different types of yoga, your level of fitness, physical and spiritual goals, as well as, your overall health condition.
Below are the most common types of yoga to help you determine which type will work best for your lifestyle.
Iyengar yoga is considered one of the most common types of yoga focuses on alignment, breathing and performing precise poses. This type of yoga often incorporates props such as straps or blocks to help beginners. Props help new students relax and become more comfortable while holding various positions.
Ashtanga yoga is known for its powerful movements which focus on building stamina and strength, as well as, coordinating the breath with movement. This challenging form of yoga builds better balance and concentration.
Bhakti Yoga is a more spiritual form of yoga that teaches its practitioners respect for life nature and creation as well as the importance of treating others with kindness and generosity.
Hatha Yoga, another common form of yoga especially in the United States emphasizes physical postures or exercises, known as asanas, with the goal of creating balance in one's life.
Jnana Yoga, involves the practice of deep contemplation and a quest for wisdom through meditation. With the goal of being one with God.
Karma Yoga, is based on the philosophy that "yesterday's actions determine today's circumstances." Practitioners of Karma yoga make a conscious decision to perform selfless acts of kindness. By making today's actions positive, they hope they can improve tomorrow's circumstances for both themselves and others.
Raja Yoga, known in India as road to reintegration, blends the four layers of self; the body, individual consciousness, individual sub consciousness, and the universal infinite consciousness. The focus of this type of yoga is on the mind and spirit with emphasis on meditation.
Tantra Yoga, like Hatha yoga involves practitioners to seek balance in their lives and to break free from the six enemies; physical longing, anger, greed, vanity, obsession, jealousy as well as the eight fetters; hatred, apprehension, fear, shyness, hypocrisy, pride of ancestry, vanity of culture, egotism, by using discipline, training, and
Bikram yoga, often referred to as hot yoga, involves practicing yoga postures in rooms heated to over 100° Fahrenheit (37.8° Celsius). The belief behind this type of yoga is that postures are easier to attain and hold. Another benefit is that warm muscles help reduce the risk of injury. If you have a health condition, be sure to check with your health-care provider before attempting this form of yoga.
Kundalini yoga, the premise behind this type of yoga is that becoming aware of your breath is a key. Practitioners learn to use their breathing abilities in different ways, along with chants, meditation, and postures designed to awaken energy at your spine’s base and drawing it upward through the seven chakras.
Viniyoga, this is perhaps the most individualized form of yoga, and involves working closely with an instructor, who will customize your yoga practice based upon your needs.
Regardless of what type of yoga you decide to practice, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider first to see if there are any special considerations or restrictions you should follow. For example, people who suffer from hypertension may need to avoid certain poses, while women who are pregnant may have other limitations.
Tomorrow, I will be talking about the practice of good yoga posture.
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