How does it Work?
Connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments and fascia, especially in the hips, pelvis, and lower spine, are more “plastic” in nature as compared to muscle tissue. They respond optimally to a slow and steady load, characteristic of Yin Yoga postures, which are held for several minutes each in a room temperature environment.
In practice, students reach an edge in each posture, but not the deepest possible position, to feel a gentle sensation to soften and hold for longer periods of time. With slow and deliberate coaxing, not forcing, the connective tissue is stretched and relaxed, promoting manipulation and movement of “prana,” or “life force,” around the body.
How does it Complement Hot Yoga?
Hot Yoga emphasizes strong and isolated muscle contraction(s) for shorter holds, which help create space around the joints involved and increase circulation throughout the body. Muscle tissue is elastic and likes to be repetitively stressed and moved, versus connective tissue targeted in Yin Yoga.
The different emphasis in Yin Yoga helps gain flexibility and mobility in the joints, thus improving Hot Yoga poses. Moreover, the ambience and mood in a Yin Yoga class is very calm and meditative, which may lead to a greater physiological and psychological well-being.