Why Athletes Need Yin Yoga

For many athletes the Yin Yoga practice is new and can feel different and ineffective. But the benefits are beneficial and should not be overlooked! Here is a bit more about this practice.  Yin postures are primarily passive in nature and held anywhere from one minute to well over five minutes in order to target the body’s connective tissues, rather than muscle groups. Sounds relatively effortless but holding yin postures incorporates the mental component where long holds can provide a real challenge. From a physical standpoint, yin postures are all about release. Postures and breathwork typically focus on manipulating the fascia, the deep connective tissues that fit like a sleeve around muscle groups and individual muscles.

Connective tissues such as tendons (which connect muscles to bones and help with skeletal movement) and ligaments (which connect bones to each other and help with overall stability), are also a focus of Yin Yoga. Since these tissues work hard to support and stabilize muscles and joints, they inherently resist changes from dynamic physical exertion. However, connective tissues lose elasticity if they are underused (which can happen if you have a mostly sedentary lifestyle) or as a natural byproduct of aging. This can present physically as stiffness, achy joints, or limited joint mobility.

By slowly loading various types of connective tissues with weight and maintaining long static holds, Yin Yoga aims to train muscular fascia to become more flexible and ligaments that support joints to become stronger. This creates space for our muscles to lengthen and our joints to safely enjoy an increased range of mobility during our daily movements.

Here are a few questions we asked our yoga instructor:

1. I did yin last nite and my body feels lighter why is that? Your body feels lighter because you have stretched out the fascia (the tightness from the fascia around the muscle) you’re breathing into your body so there is more blood flow

2. After yin I feel achy and sore what can I do now? How can I avoid it in the future?After a yin practice you may feel achy as you are releasing lactic acid. A warm Epsom salt bath will take care of the achy sore feelings and is a great compliment to the practice!

3. After yin I actually experienced muscle pain in a different area. Why is that and what can I do now?If you feel muscle pain after Yin it’s because you’ve gone too far and the pose. The difference between a Yin practice and a Yang practice, is that Yang is active standing poses using your muscles to pull and push ( think of flow class from downward dog where your music your muscles hold you and the poses)? Yin practice is the opposite, not using your muscles, in fact you’re relaxing muscles to get to the fascia around the muscles and so if you pushed yourself into the pose to go deeper, rather than relaxing into the pose with gravity and your exhale breath to the work, you going to go too far and feel muscle pain

Pierina FadiQuantum Bliss Yoga

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