Top athletes in-the-know practice yoga for its optimization and recovery benefits. It’s seen as an important part of a well-rounded competitive or recreational fitness program. If you haven’t yet incorporated a Yin yoga practice into your workout or sports training routine, now is the time to start.
But if you can barely touch your toes, don’t worry. The many variations of Yin postures will yield benefits regardless of your flexibility or experience level. One of the most important lessons of yoga is to listen to your body and only stretch and move as far as it will allow.
For those of you who are new to yoga, Yin may seem too slow; however, holding key poses will nourish the layers of your connective tissues (including ligaments, bones, and joints). Yin yoga exercises the ligaments that help our muscles and tendons stabilize our joints. For example, sitting postures open the hips and strengthen the lower back.
There are also psychological benefits of a Yin practice: holding still for three to five minutes often brings discomfort. Learning to be non-reactive while sitting on a yoga mat can increase your resilience to daily stressors.
Practicing Yin yoga will bring the following four benefits to your short-term performance and long-term mobility:
PREVENT CONTRACTION (loss of joint mobility): by moving joints through their current range of motion and holding the posture.
PREVENT DEGENERATION (osteoporosis): exerting the appropriate amount of compressive stress will strengthen the bones.
REDUCE FIXATION (sticking between two surfaces): the risk of fixation and fusion between bones is reduced by maintaining joint mobility.
PROVIDE HYDRATION: compressing and stretching connective tissues stimulates fibroblasts to produce water retaining molecules that lubricate joints.
Up for the challenge?
If you count faster recovery, optimal performance, and stress release among your goals, try yoga today. Speak to your kinesiologist about which type of yoga is best suited to your needs.
Yin is in.