Needless to say, stress affects the health and well-being of our lives in tremendous ways. Based on the Stress in America survey, overall adults report that money, work, and family responsibilities are the top three sources of very or somewhat significant stress. In addition, many of them do not feel they are doing enough to balance out their mental health.
Knowing that stress is embedded in our existence, it is only natural for us to seek therapy. Unfortunately, misconceptions abound what it means to go to therapy. In modern day, we seem to have a notion that therapy is only for those who are diagnosed with mental illnesses and are severely depressed, or need medication. For certain cultures, it is also a taboo to discuss the need for therapeutic treatments.
But here’s the reality: therapy does not necessarily mean being in a psychologist’s office sitting on a couch. Therapy may refer to any means of activity that can help us relieve our suppressed emotions, integrate our feelings, and resolve to a happier self. Yin yoga, although around for many years, has recently taken the spotlight for its therapeutic effects including treating anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia. For those who have never tried yin yoga, it is a quiet practice where you would hold a set of easy seated yoga postures with minimal muscular exertion from anywhere between 3 to 5 minutes.
If you still need convincing, here are a few reasons why you should give the practice a try:
1. It’s Accessible For All Levels Of Practitioners
Unlike most other styles of yoga, yin yoga is accessible for all levels of practitioners. Yin poses are usually easy to do with many modifications and variations. A skilled yin yoga teacher can help you get into poses that target specific body parts while your body and mind at rest.
2. You’re Undergoing A Big Change And Have No Energy.
This could be a new career, a new family, or moving to a different country. Chances are you’re already exhausted venturing through these new challenges, and the thought of doing yoga is beyond your current capacity. Luckily, yin yoga requires minimal muscular exertion. The basic idea of yin yoga is to soften and release any tension in the body and mind. Its calming effect is astounding, and most people feel rejuvenated after class.
3. You’re Experiencing Extreme Mood Swings
If you’re noticing you’ve been on a mood roller coaster, it might be worth trying yin yoga. Closely related to Traditional Chinese Medicine, yin yoga acts like acupressure creating balance in what is known as the five yin organs. The five yin organs have specific energy channels that run throughout the body. Each organ has a specific emotion including mania, anger, worry, sadness, and fear that expressed via the five yin organs. The idea of yin yoga is to apply gentle pressure along these energetic channels and help remove* energy stagnation. Many people find their mood swings are replaced by a sense of ease after a yin yoga class.
4. You Can’t Sleep Through The Night
Feeling stressed often throws off our sleep cycle. Our thoughts keep us up throughout the night, leaving us tossing and turning in dismay. When our nervous system is fired up, the body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol activates our fight or flight response, which induces a range of body reactions such as increased heart rate and raised blood pressure. Yin yoga helps reverse this process by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is essential for sleep.
5. You’ve Lost Your Appetite
The usual compensation from the lack of sleep is by drinking a ton of coffee the following day. Coffee not only drains the vital energy in our internal organs, but it also suppresses* our appetite. This trilogy of undernourishment, high caffeine, and insomnia binds us to a downward spiral far away from health and vitality. Yin poses such as Saddle, Dragon, and Cat Pulling Its Tail can help restore the stomach and spleen functions re-energizing our metabolism.
6. You’re Feeling Isolated Or Alone
Often in the midst of chaos, we feel isolated and alone. Even though our instinct is to seek external help, what we can try first instead is to go inward. It might sound paradoxical, as how can going inward resolve aloneness? Aloneness in itself is a feeling we project onto ourselves. While talking with a therapist or a friend can help relieve some of our negative emotions, the relief nonetheless is transient, and soon we will find ourselves back in a void. Peace like aloneness also comes from within. In yin yoga, you close your eyes and slowly find your way to your innermost being where tranquility c. With consistent practice, yin yoga will help you feel grounded and stable again.
7. You Have Chronic Body Pain
Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a fancy way of describing muscle pain. MPS is a chronic condition that affects the fascia or connective tissue that covers the muscles. Yin yoga helps release the tension specifically at the fascial level. Contrary to dynamic yoga styles such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga, in yin yoga, you hold the poses for a longer period and uses gravity to help release the fascia. Pain usually dissipates once the fascia is released.
8. You Are Lost In Life
For us Millennials, our time has never been more electronically-filled and socially-connected. If we’re not careful, social media can skew our reality creating a delusion that dreams can come true effortlessly, and everyone has a perfect body. When reality hits, and we’re dethroned from the social media circus, what happens is we’re left broken and lost. Yin yoga helps us shut off the outside chatter and allows us to listen to our intuition. With regular yin yoga practice, we’re able to discover our life’s purpose and find practical ways to achieve it.
9. You Want To Integrate Meditation In Your Life But Don’t Know How
Like learning how to swim, we rarely jump into the deep end and hope for the best. However, many people who have tried meditation for the first time would jump into the deep end, get discouraged, and call it quits. To start meditating, we must first start with concentration exercises. These exercises can be concentrating on the breath or a mental image for a short amount of time. Yin yoga is a perfect gateway to developing a meditation practice. When you’re holding a yin pose, try focusing your thoughts on a single object such as an OM sign or your breath. By doing the yin poses, your low back and hips also open up, which is very helpful for seated meditation.
10. You Can Save Money And Practice At Home
Let’s be honest, having a yoga membership can be very expensive. To practice yin yoga safely, you do not necessarily need to go to class. Unlike vinyasa yoga, where you might go upside down or move quickly, Yin yoga is the opposite in that you move extremely slow with minimal risk of injuries. There are many free online videos or websites on yin yoga. You can try them at home and practice with caution.
11. You Need Some Silence In Your Life
Along with all of the benefits mentioned, sometimes we just want some silence in our life. Surrounded by electronics, traffic, and people, we don’t often get to sit in quietude. When we go quiet, we often gain clarity of mind and sharpened focus. Yin yoga is usually taught with minimal talking where the teacher would guide you into the pose and leave you in silence for the remaining time of the posture. Yin Yoga is an amazing opportunity to get the peace many of us desperately crave.
So here are the top 10 reasons why you should try yin yoga as therapy. Stress is inevitable; it is how we manage stress to live a happy and healthy life. Try yin yoga today and see how it can propel you towards health and vitality!
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In-Post Images: Shutterstock & yogabycandance.com