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Yin and Yang are the Taoist concepts that bring together passive poses with dynamic sequences when brought together in one yoga practice.

Yin yoga incorporates slow, long-held, passive stretches that work on the deeper connective tissues (or fascia) and joints in the body. Yang yoga, on the other hand integrates more active movements that employ your muscles and blood flow, building strength, flexibility and physical endurance in the body.

Understanding Yin and Yang

Yin and yang is a concept of duality that creates a whole. They are also starting points for change, which when split can create imbalance in equilibrium. In Taoist yoga, yin refers to passive and yang refers to vigorous yoga practices, rooted in the belief that to formulate a balance in your overall practice, you need to learn to quiet yourself and exert yourself alternatively.

Yin is a more passive and introspective principle. Yin yoga was developed to penetrate deeply into your fascia, enhancing your flexibility and healing response. It also involves stimulating your meridians, or energy flow, to undo any energy blockages and elevate energy flow inside the body.

Yang is a more active and extrospective principle. Yang yoga is the more dynamic, hatha, Bikram or ashtanga based yoga practices that focus on developing flexibility, muscular strength and stamina.

Balancing Yin and Yang in Yoga

Starting a yin/yang yoga session with yin yoga comes with a number of benefits, such as:

You Target Deeper Connective Tissue

When you start with long-held, passive poses while your muscles are not yet warm, you’re allowing your energy to travel to deeper connective tissues, joints and corresponding meridian pathways. Stimulating your deeper energy pathways helps in supplying fluids to your deep connective tissues and joints, allowing them to stretch adequately and become less dense or tight. By comparison, when you start with a dynamic yang sequence, you’re directing your energy and nutrient flow to your superficial fascia and muscles only.

You Make Your Joints More Stress- Resistant

Beginning with yin makes your joints suppler as well. Yin yoga induces the production of more hyaluronic acid – a water-attracting compound that helps lubricate the joints. An increased supply of hyaluronic acid can allow you to get into deeper and dynamic poses comfortably, without friction between your joints and subsequent pain or inflammation.

You Boost Your Focus and Performance

Yin yoga lifts any energy blocks present along your meridians and enables your organs to function optimally. Activating your energy flow stimulates your nervous system as well, allowing you to become calmer and more focused.

Targeting your superficial connective tissue only, however, causes your fascia to become denser and inflexible. This can make it uncomfortable for practitioners to sit in meditation or go deeper into their asanas.

You Trigger Myofascial Release

Yin yoga also triggers something similar to myofascial release, which helps enhance your range of motion and overall physiological function – all of which are required for a stimulating yang yoga practice.

The post How to Balance Yin and Yang in Your Yoga Practice appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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Yin yoga, based on the Taoist theory of complementary and opposing principles in nature, involves a series of passive, long-held poses that primarily focus on the lower part of your body. The practice loosens stiff connective tissue or fascia, which are richly found in the inner thighs, lower spine, hips and pelvis.

With each pose lasting up to 5 minutes, the benefits of yin yoga are far beyond better flexibility. Some key benefits of performing yin yoga include:

1.  Makes You More Resistant to Stress and Anxiety

In yin yoga, you have to hold a pose for several minutes at a stretch. This can be an anxiety trigger for some people. Luckily, the human body is a remarkable amalgamation of tissues, organs and systems that are designed to acclimatize to any given situation. When a yin yoga pose is performed with gentleness, it can teach the body to adapt.

Surrendering yourself is a key facet in yin yoga. When you’re holding a yoga pose for prolonged periods, you have to give up the need to control, which is an ability you can take with you in your everyday life. Being able to adapt to the challenges and successes in life can help you tolerate change with elegance, thereby effectively reducing your tendency to get stressed.

2.  Allows You to Meditate

Yin yoga doesn’t involve many dynamic, fast-paced movements that will keep you occupied throughout an entire class. In fact, you may actually find yourself with plenty of time in your hands while practicing yin yoga. In today’s rollercoaster lifestyle, it’s easy to forget that being busy is not a good thing. We have this constant urge to either multitask or be involved in a perpetual mental dialogue.

Yin yoga incorporates a gentle meditation practice to help calm your mind and slow your breath. Your instructor will guide you through the process, providing ways to stay focused and inhibit your mind from wandering.

The following are some scientifically proven benefits of meditation:

3.  Boosts Immune System Function

According to a study published in PLoS ONEthat looked at the impact of 5 minute stretches, the mechanical input via static tissue stretches may have anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects in the body. Therefore, performing yin yoga and engaging in 5 minute stretches can help improve your body’s immune system response, while reducing any fibrotic limitations during movement.

4.  Triggers Myofascial Release

Long held stretches stimulate myofascial release of tension. Research indicates that the lower the stress and the longer the duration, the better the healing response. This is similar to yin yoga, except it doesn’t require you to get as deep as possible, but to a position where you feel sufficiently challenged.

Myofascial release helps relieve tension in the fascia and tendons through an external mechanical load, thereby helping your body stretch its collagen fibers and increase its healing response.

Furthermore, myofascial release lengthens your fascia and underlying soft tissue, alleviating regions of reduced fascial movement. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, myofascial release can lead to pain reduction, increased range of motion and enhanced physiological function.

5.  Increases Hyaluronic Acid

Performing yin yoga regularly improves joint health and increases hyaluronic acid production in the body. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a large, hydrophilic (water-attracting) molecule that binds with water and ions. Found in the space between your bones, HA can hold up to 10 times its weight in water and plays a role in keeping your joints lubricated. When the joints are well lubricated, they are less likely to grind against each other and cause pain and inflammation as a result of friction.

The post 5 Reasons You Need Yin Yoga in Your Life appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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It’s winter and if you’re like most people, you’re probably not feeling your best. However, you may have come across someone who always has incredible energy no matter how cold or gloomy it is outside. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this means that the person has an abundant supply of health energy that is circulating adequately. Healthy qi can make a person calm, optimistic and centered.

However, the converse is also true. When you’re feeling sluggish, tired, and irritable or have low back pain, headaches or poor digestion, this may be a sign of unhealthy qi. Yin yoga is an intense, restorative yoga technique that helps you smooth out your energy crimps safely and effectively.

But What is Qi to Begin With?

Qi, pronounced “chee” is typically defined as a life force that is derived from the air you breathe and the food you ingest. Therefore, healthy qi can equate to healthy metabolism. All common ailments, emotional and physical, arise from poor metabolism. When your qi is continually flowing without any obstruction, all chemical and physiological processes inside your body work harmoniously, leaving you feeling upbeat, energetic and free of any negativity, pain or discomfort.

The Best Yin Yoga Poses for Healthier Qi

Our modern-day lifestyles are plagued with prolonged periods of sitting, processed, refined foods as well as environmental pollution. This can cause qi to stagnate or become obstructed, leading to health issues such as stress, pain, tension and irritability or anger. All these factors can cause pain to settle in the joints. Yin yoga’s long-held poses gently relax your joints, helping you restore your normal flow of qi and create stronger energy pathways.

The following are some excellent yin yoga poses designed to revive and strengthen your qi:

  1. Butterfly Pose

The butterfly pose effectively targets the kidney, liver, spleen and bladder meridians. Stimulating these meridians can have a cooling effect on your mind and body, which helps you feel calmer and more relaxed. This is particularly beneficial if your qi has been stagnant for a while.

To perform the butterfly pose, sit on your yoga mat and bring the soles of your feet together. Form a diamond between your heels, knees and hips. If you feel any stress, try placing a block beneath each knee. Fold forward, letting your head hang. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes. You should feel some stress in your inner legs, outer hips and spine.

  1. Saddle Pose

The saddle pose targets the stomach and spleen meridians, thereby elevating your digestion and ultimately, having a rejuvenating effect in your mind and body. When you get deeper into your backbend, you compress your lower back more, stimulating your kidney meridian as well. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, your kidneys are the foundation of your energy, which also support your digestion by deriving wholesome Qi from the raw materials you consume.

To perform the saddle pose, sit on your heels. Distance your knees enough from each other so that you’re still comfortable. Lean backward as you extend your back and slowly land on your hands or elbows. You can rest your back on a prop, if it feels more comfortable. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes. You should feel a sensation in your front thighs and lower back.

  1. Sphinx Pose

Like the saddle pose, the sphinx pose also targets your kidney meridian, which helps your body recuperate from stress when your energy is especially low.

To perform the sphinx pose, lie down on your belly with your elbows bent. Bring your elbows and hands shoulder-distance apart, keeping them slightly in front of your shoulders. Face your palms down and distribute your weight evenly across your forearms. Loosen your feet, thighs, belly and buttocks. Let your shoulder blades draw back and down. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

If this pose feels to intense, try placing a bolster under your armpits or keeping your elbows forward.

  1. Twisted Roots Pose

The twisted roots pose stimulates the gall bladder meridian, the urinary bladder meridian, as well the heart-lung pathways when you place your arms up. Targeting these meridians balances your body, creating a calming and relaxing effect. Rotating the spine also releases tension in your lower back, helping you recover from low back pain.

To perform twisted roots, lie supine on your mat and hug your knees in towards your chest. Cross your right leg over your left leg and rest your arms on your sides, forming a T shape. Gently allow both knees to drop to the left, keeping your right shoulder on the floor as much as possible. You can use a prop if you are unable to fully drop your knees to the floor. When you get comfortable, turn your head to the right and breathe into the right side of the body. Relax as you exhale. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes and switch sides.

The post 4 Yin Yoga Poses for Healthier QI appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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Low back pain is more common than most people think. It is estimated that about 6 percent of the North American population is suffering from low back pain at any given time, and about ½ of the people will suffer from back pain at some point within the next one year.

There are several lifestyle factors that can cause back pain. Sitting in a hunched position over a computer or having a sedentary lifestyle are two common causes. Others include strained ligaments and muscles from heavy weight lifting, whiplash from car accidents or having a sudden movement during a workout or sports activity.

Stress is a major cause of back pain. Numerous studies indicate that people who don’t like their job are more likely to have back pain. Stress, anxiety and other emotions tend to have a noticeable effect on your body that can lead to chronic tension. When you’re stressed or angry, the entire body tenses, resulting in a host of physical health issues.

Despite the cause, back pain is an incredibly debilitating condition. Luckily, an increasing amount of research is proving that practicing yin yoga may be effective in alleviating back pain.

How Yin Yoga Benefits Back Pain

Yin yoga focuses on stretching the connective tissue, or fascia, responsible for gluing everything inside your body and making it one whole piece. Having a sedentary lifestyle can tighten and damage the fascia in the lower back and hips. Therefore, any sudden movement can stretch and even tear the tendon or ligament in your lower back, leading to severe back injuries.

However, low back pain is not restricted to individuals with sedentary lifestyles only. Even if an individual appears to be in great shape, they are at risk of low back injuries. This is because even though their backs may have stronger muscles, not spending enough time stretching the ligaments, tendons and fascia in the lower back can lead to overextension, and ultimately, a lower back injury.

How Pain is Misunderstood

According to a 2014 study, published in the journal Pain, the thoracolumbar fascia (TLF) may play a major role in causing back pain. TLF is a specialized form of fascia called aponeuroses, which a is flat wide sheet densely populated with fibrous connective tissue, covering and forming the terminals and attachments of numerous muscles. Many of the major muscles located in the trunk, legs and back are connected via TLF.

Like all connective tissue in the body, any pull in the TLF can radiate and cause pain.

Although it may feel like low back pain originates from the muscles in the back, there are several other structures connected by the TLF such as the piriformis, gluteus muscles, hamstrings, and joints, such as the sacroiliac joint that may contribute to this ailment as well.

Best Yin Yoga Poses to Relieve Back Pain

Yin yoga incorporates long-held poses, which means you’ll be stretching your body longer than you’re used to. This warms your muscles and fascia, allowing you to go deeper with each stretch, thereby, significantly reducing your risk of pain and injury caused by sudden movements.

The following are some excellent yin yoga backbends that can help improve fascia health and reduce your risk of low back pain and injuries.

Supported Bridge

Melting Heart

Sphinx

Other examples of backbends that are excellent for relieving back pain include seal pose and saddle pose. You can also try forward bends, such as caterpillar, child’s pose, butterfly, snail and dangling pose, side stretches such as banana pose and twists such as twisted roots to improve back pain.

The post How Yin Yoga Can Relieve Back Pain appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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Yoga Nidra is the correct name for a form of yoga that is often referred to as yogic sleep. It is a yoga practice that offers immersive physical and spiritual benefits and is not difficult to learn. This article will teach you more about the practice so that you can explore it for yourself.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

To begin your Yoga Nidra journey, you first need to assume the corpse pose or Savasana as it is known in Sanskrit. This is basically laying flat on the floor on your back, with your hands resting in a relaxed position at the sides of the body. Do not try and hold or pose your arms simply let them fall away from you. If you need to place a thin blanket under your head to make it more comfortable that is fine, a yoga mat makes the floor a little more forgiving. As you do not want to get cold, you may also want to cover the body with a blanket. If you cannot manage to lie on the floor, you can practice Yoga Nidra in a seated position or failing that then use a bed to support your body.

Relax and Listen

The process of Yoga Nidra involves quietening the mind and listen to the inner voice. It is a process of inner exploration, and you need to guard against allowing the inner chatter to distract you. Be sure that your mind is quiet and allow your focus to take a journey. It doesn’t matter if you fall asleep as the unconscious mind will still gain from the practice. Your guide, whether you are at a class or listening to a recorded meditation is there to help you keep your mind in focus, but you might not even hear parts of it as you go deeper into meditation. This is also fine. You can use any length of meditation that fits your time schedule if you are practising at home but remember the importance of this time is so precious you should guard against squeezing in five minutes as opposed to bumping something less important so you can spend an hour on your Yoga Nidra.

Open Your Mind

You may be surprised by what you can learn about yourself and what comes up when you start the practice of Yoga Nidra. It is a very safe space, and the brain is more likely to relax and allow the subconscious to release things, or tackle issues that have been causing stress. In other cases, the benefit simply comes from the profound sense of relaxation and the healing that takes place when the body is allowed to transcend into this space. It is like unplugging the mind from the mainframe computer of life and taking this break to escape the constant barrage of information that comes from modern life. The more you practice Yoga Nidra, the more your mind will learn to be disassociated from stress when it is happening which is also much healthier.

The post Yoga Nidra and Its Benefits appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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In today’s world, everything is fast-paced – whether it is work, education or physical exertion. This is where Yin Yoga can act as a remedy to our lifestyles, overflowing with stress and overwork. Unlike vigorous, Yang-dominated yoga forms that are so popular today, Yin Yoga is a more comfortable contrast to modern-day practices, with its intensely restful, yet long-held postures.

Yin encourages you to slow down and immerse yourself in a form of calm and mental immobility that can result in a deeper expansion in your consciousness.

Inspired by philosophies of Traditional Chinese Medicine, modern-day Yin Yoga primarily focuses on your body’s meridians. Meridians are invisible pathways in your body that carry energy, or Qi. The deep postures of Yin Yoga work with your meridians to boost your overall health and wellbeing.

In addition, Western science is now discovering how Yin yoga may be impacting individuals on physical and psychological levels. On a psychological level, Yin yoga activates your parasympathetic nervous system, also known as your rest and digest system, that promotes relaxation. The long holds of Yin yoga also help you unwind physically, by releasing the tension in deeper tissues in your body, including your fascia (connective tissue). This is as opposed to engaging your muscles in more strenuous and dynamic methods of movement.

To understand how Yin yoga affects the body and mind simultaneously, it helps to understand the function of various meridians in the human body.

What are Body Meridians?

Body meridians are channels inside your body that transport energy from one part to another. Meridians have a deep impact on how you think and feel, and your overall health and wellbeing. These channels of energy are also popularly called, Qi, life force, prana and healing energy.

According to Traditional Chinese medicine and the philosophies of Yin yoga, any obstruction in your energy pathways can result in imbalances in your physical, emotional and/or mental health. Meridian blocks are often caused by stress, trauma, injuries, poor diets and lack of rest, and not exercising enough.

On the other hand, when your meridian channels are open, the unobstructed flow of life force inside your body will lead to increased balance and positive energy.

Your body has fourteen major meridians, out of which twelve are paired and the other two are single pathways. In a pair, there’s always one meridian that’s a Yin, where energy flows up the body, and Yang, where energy flows downward in the body. Yin and Yang are dual, yet opposite forces which converge as one. Your energy pathways are linked through the following order:

Paired Meridians

  • Lung (yin) and Large Intestine (yang)
  • Stomach (yang) and Spleen (yin)
  • Heart (yin) and Small Intestine (yang)
  • Bladder (yang) and Kidney (yin)
  • Pericardium (yin) and Triple Heater (yang)
  • Gall Bladder (yang) and Liver (yin)

Single Meridians

  • Conception Vessel
  • Governing Vessel
What Happens When Your Meridians are Blocked?

Energy is continuous. This includes the energy or Qi inside your body. Your Qi flows continuously from one energy channel to another. Even though the flow of energy is your body continues every 24 hours, each energy pathway has a peak time where it’s at its optimum level, also referred to as meridian clocks.

Blockages in your meridians will present themselves in the form of physical symptoms, signifying that the energy flow to this region needs to be enhanced.

For example, your lungs are responsible for the intake of air and respiration and any blockage in your lung meridian can result in viral of bacterial infections, such as colds or the flu. Symptoms of lung meridian blockages may include coughing, problems with your sense of smell, congestion issues and so on.

Your stomach plays a role in digestion of food. It utilizes energy to transport food from the spleen to your large intestines. Blockages in your stomach meridian may result in digestive issues. Your large intestine responsible for removing waste may show signs of blockages in its meridian via stomach cramping, diarrhea, constipation, gas and so on.

How Yin Yoga Clears Your Meridians

Yin yoga focuses on targeting the body’s meridians and stimulating your energy pathways. Your body is primarily made up of fascia or connective tissue. Each organ and tissue in the body is held together via your fascia. Yin yoga engages the fascia in your body to balance internal organs and remove any obstructions in your meridians.

Yin yoga is different to many other yoga practices because it focuses on holding certain postures for up to 5 minutes at a time. This not only lengthens your fascia, but also creates balance in your internal systems and strengthens your entire body, making you less susceptible to symptoms associated with meridian blockages.

The post An introduction to Meridians and Yin Yoga appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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A lot of us suffer from decreased range of movement and physical limitations in our bodies. However, we don’t realize this until we experience a chronic injury. Yin yoga can help prevent restrictions that occur as a result of the binding of tissues, such as muscles and fascia.

But What Really is Fascia?

Fascia is a fibrous tissue that connects every cell in the body. It forms an extracellular, 3D web that holds us together and penetrates and surrounds body tissues, including muscles, muscle fiber, blood vessels, bones, nerves, organ tissue and so on. Fascia is also directly involved with numerous systems in your body, such as the neurological and muscular systems.

Perhaps the best analogy for fascia is the segments of an orange. Each segment of an orange is divided by a clear, fibrous tissue. Within each segment, the pulp or juice is further divided with the same type of tissue. Fascia works the same way in our bodies. While there are several of segments within our bodies, they are deeply connected by connective tissue, or fascia.

Fascia is primarily made of the following:

  • Elastin fibers, which allow changes in the body
  • Collagen fibers, which are incredibly tough and provide strength and support
  • Ground substance, which is fluid and gelatinous when healthy and allows muscles and organs to glide over one another, preventing any friction between them.
How Yin Yoga Comes into Play

Your fascia requires at least 120 seconds of continued pressure to exhibit change. This is where yin yoga comes in. Yin yoga involves extended pose holds which help lengthen your fascia and improve its overall health.

What Does Healthy Fascia Look Like?

Healthy fascia is strong, springy and fluid. When you walk or run, your fascia will return the force you apply to you, making you feel lighter. You’ll require less energy to perform your daily functions, allowing your muscles to work with greater efficiency. Having healthy fascia will make you feel stronger and more flexible.

However, the converse is also true.  Not incorporating sufficient movement into your lifestyle or having a sedentary job can leave your fascia in a shortened, rigid state which can be difficult to reverse. Fascia is much tighter than our muscle fibers, which have a significant level of plasticity and can undergo changes in length fairly quickly. Although this is beneficial for stabilization, problems can occur when fascia is forced into an unnaturally tight state due to certain lifestyle factors.

Sitting for prolonged periods, typically in hunched positions, is notorious for causing pain, tension and tightness of lower back, shoulders, neck and hips. Not exercising your connective tissue regularly can cause this problem to worsen over time, ultimately resulting in morphological changes, such as hunch back or frozen shoulder.

Why You Should Perform Yin Yoga

Your fascia is primarily composed of cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are not controlled by the brain. Instead, their behavior is mostly determined by the amount of load placed on them.

In Yin Yoga, you are mainly focused on the effects of tensile loads on your tissues. That feeling you get in your lower back when you get into seal pose occurs from a range of compressive forces placed on your vertebrae and soft tissue. As you fold forward, you are stretching your back.

According to a 2005 research, when you stretch and hold a pose for a significant amount of time, the fibroblasts in your fascia will modify the production of elastin fibers, collagen fibers and ground substance, creating a foundation that better suits the demands placed on them.

Furthermore, another research published in the Journal of Anatomy, found that fibroblasts in ligaments and tendons adapt to tensile forces by creating strong and fibrous collagen that can tolerate the added load.

This shows that opening your fascia via Yin Yoga does not only boost your range of motion and flexibility, it also helps strengthen your muscles and maintain its length. This helps reduce soreness, improve blood circulation to muscle and connective tissue and enhance lymph movement.

The post The Role of Yin Yoga in Opening Your Fascia appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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If you practice yoga or go to a class you may well hear the term ‘8 limbs of yoga’ mentioned. This can initially be confusing and is often not explained to newcomers. The 8 limbs of Yoga described in the Yoga Sutras of the great Sage – Patanjali is a set of core principles, that overarch everything we do and should be seen as a guide to living a spiritual and meaningful life that brings as closer to our True Nature.

Let’s look at the eight limbs of yoga and what they mean.

The Eight Limbs are:

  • Yamas
  • Niyamas
  • Asana
  • Pranayama
  • Pratyahara
  • Dharana
  • Dhyana
  • Samadhi

Yamas

Think of Yamas as your moral compass, a set of rules by which you should live. There are five Yamas, which in Sanskrit are called Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya and Aparigraha. Which translate to nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity/fidelity and non-coveting.

Niyamas

Niyamas further explain how to take an active place in the world that brings you self-discipline and causes no harm. Cleanliness (Saucha), contentment (Santosha), willpower and self-discipline (Tapas), surrender to the divine (Ishvara Pranidhana) and self-study and scripture study (Svadhyaya).

Asana

This is a term you might also hear more commonly used. Asana refers to the poses in yoga, the different exercises your teacher will run through with you. The word itself means seat and refers to the tradition of sitting near your teacher in order to be able to learn.

Pranayama

In yoga, this is the limb that refers to the physical breath. While breathing is an unconscious response, in yoga we take it to a conscious exercise and learn to control and deepen your breathing which in turn will aid the body in many of the functions it performs.

Pratyahara

In familiar terms, this is the practice of meditation. It is the time you set aside to sit quietly and focus on internal awareness and clearing of the mind. A time to leave the stress of the day at the door and sit in quiet reflection while learning to see beyond yourself.

Dharana

The practice of intense focus sometimes referred to as visual meditation. Focusing wholly and entirely on one thing, perhaps a candle flame or a deity. Again this is designed to quiet the mind and train the mind to be still and focus. This is a good practice as you will find the benefits again fall into real life.

 

Dhyana

Perhaps better known as the flow state this is another peaceful, meditative state which brings a keen awareness. Have you ever experienced a time when you were so lost in the moment that time passed, you forgot to eat, you were just absorbed in the moment? That is Dhyana.

Samadhi

Referred to as the state of ecstasy, Samadhi is the state of transcendence that connects you to the device, the universe and the feeling that all things are at one with each other.

The post The 8 Limbs of Yoga Explained appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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Yin yoga is a wonderful, relaxing type of yoga that really allows you to stretch into poses. When you take the time to get in those deep stretches, you become deeply relaxed. It’s a great kind of yoga to do in the evening as it will promote a peaceful sleep. After a long workday, yin yoga is a beautiful way to unwind and let go of all that stress from the day. Yin is lovely too because it’s slow. You don’t have to be super fit to get involved in the practice. Through deep breathing, you will fall deeper into the poses and you have all the time to do so. Here are some of the great benefits of a yin yoga practice.

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin is a Taoist concept, which relates to the yin and yang which we know to be the two oppositions that exist in everything. Yin is stable, it is static, it is the hidden aspect of things. Yang is more about movement and change. The connective tissues in our body such as tendons, ligaments, and fascia are considered yin. So a yin yoga class is going to consists of poses held for a long time. You will spend a lot of time on the floor, mostly focusing on the lower part of the body. This would be the hips, pelvis, lower spine and thighs. They are the areas of the body that have a lot of connective tissues. Many of the poses in Yin yoga will be held for at least five minutes.

Calms and Balances

When you go so deeply into stretches, you have the time to consider your feelings. As the poses do address certain emotional manifestations in the body, you may feel them. When you have no movement, you have the opportunity to look at your feelings. As you’re in the midst of a yoga class, you can often see things in a more positive light even if it’s a scary feeling.

You are calm and so you can manage the feelings you may have been repressing. When you’re willing and able to look at it, you become more balanced. Going through the layers of repressed emotions can be deeply healing and can create a balance within you. When doing Yin, your teacher is usually going to encourage you to look at the feeling inside of you but not identify with them. It’s a meditative approach where you become the witness just looking at what’s going on with your ego. Suppressing all these emotions inside wreaks havoc on the body. Yin helps you to let it all go and you release all the tension that it caused on a physical level.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

A lot of anxiety hides in our hips and Yin yoga does a lot of hip opening and stretching poses. Yin yoga can help ease all the worry you usually experience. You are able to let thoughts go because again, staying in the poses for such a long time is quite meditative. You have to be mindful of your breathing as it helps you stretch deeper into the poses.

Letting all those thoughts go will alleviate the stress. Putting aside all the things that normally cause us tension for the class will usually extend into the rest of our life off the mat. You experience a greater sense of deep relaxation just from doing the poses. The calming effect of Yin are truly a natural progression.

Myofascial Release

Some of the Yin yoga poses will remove blockages in the myofascial meridians. What this does is balances the body’s internal organ. The muscles become very relaxed around all the connective tissue. This is what the stretches are designed to do. At a deep level, you will get a stretch that is usually very hard to achieve. This helps to increase circulation and also helps to improve flexibility in big ways. Joint mobility will also be improved when you experience this myofascial release in the Yin practice.

Internal Organs are Balanced

When you do Yin yoga, you’ll be directed to focus on breathing deep into the belly. This is one of the reasons it’s so relaxing. It triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which helps to manage all that stress, tension, blood pressure, how you sleep, how well you digest, your immune functioning, and hormonal balance.

The deeper you go into the practice of Yin yoga and use that breath, you fall deeply into relaxation mode, which starts to work on your internal organs. That’s right. The internal organs will have the opportunity to do their job instead of putting out fires that come with being stressed out. Your digestion will improve, the body will eliminate toxins, and you they will heal and repair the body.

The tissues of the body will be revived. As you release deeper into poses, you lengthen and hydrate all those tissues. This makes them more pliable. There is a reduction of risk for injury and you will generally feel a great sense of well-being after a Yin class. Going to a class is a great place to start because the teacher will remind you to breathe deep to get into a deeper stretch. You will be guided along feeling your emotions that becomes “dislodged” from the practice. You’ll also get necessary adjustments to ensure you’re doing the poses to best benefit you. A Yin yoga practice will make you feel like you just had a deeply relaxing massage.

The post Benefits of Yin Yoga appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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Yoga For Couples

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you will probably find the majority of lessons involves single people standing on their own yoga mat in front of a teacher. However, if you have a like-minded partner who is prepared to give you a try, it can be an incredible bonding experience for the two of you. Couples yoga is offered by many studios as a taught class, and it helps you master the basics.  However, if there is not a class near you have no fear, just setting aside time at home practicing yoga together can create intimacy and prevent the loving feelings from being lost.

Mirror Poses – Mimicking for Intimacy

One the best ways to start couples yoga if you’re slightly apprehensive or shy is, to begin with, some simple mirror poses. This involves the two of you doing the same pose at the same time while facing each other. These can be standing poses or seated poses, even laying side by side for floor work.

Some exercises are also performed back to back which although means you are not making eye contact, allows for your bodies to touch.  Practising breathing exercises sat back to back can also be a great way to build intimacy as you will be able to feel the other person as they breathe.

Supported Poses

As you gain in confidence, there are various couples yoga poses that we would class as supported yoga poses whereby one partner is assisting the other.  They are usually two poses that are combined because they work together, so both of you are still also practicing yoga and giving your bodies workout. One of you would start by taking up a pose, and then the other would join in. Sometimes resting their body weight against your partner or supporting an arm or leg for you to both get a maximum benefit from the pose. There are lots of fantastic couples demonstrating some complicated supported yoga poses online.

If you are going to allow your partner to support your body weight during a pose, this requires you to build trust in each other and confidence that you will not let each other fall. In turn, this adds to the partnership working feel of a relationship – depending on each other.

Helping the Other Person Achieve the Best Pose

In some schools of yoga props like yoga belts and bricks are used in order to deepen the stretch or aid a pose where the body is not quite ready to go there yet. A partner can replace these props and may involve supporting a leg or an arm or gently acting as a counterweight to pull your partner slightly forward in a forward bend. Always ensure that you are not hurting your partner by any of your actions and agree that you will stop immediately if one party is not comfortable.

Without a doubt, your partner yoga will enhance your relationship. It gives you time away from the daily grind just to enjoy being in each other’s company and exercising together

The post Yoga for Couples appeared first on YOGAGATI.

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