Have you ever heard of Vin Yin Yoga? Vin Yin derives its adorable rhyming name from two popular yoga styles: Vinyasa and Yin. One is a fast-paced, energizing practice, while the other is a calming, restorative practice. In essence, Vin Yin Yoga combines the best of two worlds.
Vinyasa Yoga and Benefits
At the core of Vinyasa is continuous, flowing movement. In Vinyasa, the body is in constant transition between postures. Each movement is synchronized with the breath, creating a rhythm that the body can follow.
The fast pace of the practice, along with ever-changing sequences, is definitely challenging for the body and mind. That said, Vinyasa brings many benefits that make it all worth it.
- It energizes the body and mind.
- It’s a great cardio workout!
- It builds strength in all areas of the body.
- It conditions the mind to stay focused through movement.
- As other types of physical activity, it boosts your endorphin levels.
- It’s a high-intensity practice that burns a lot of calories.
- It’s great for stress relief.
- It teaches you to find joy in movement.
Yin Yoga and Benefits
Yin, on the other hand, is the opposite of Vinyasa. The practice is slow-paced and gentle. Yin consists of grounding postures, performed seated or lying down. Each posture is held for an extended amount of time, sometimes as long as five minutes!
Yin is not the only style of yoga focused on longer holds. What separates it from the others is its passive approach. Instead of pushing the body to its limits, Yin Yoga encourages you to soften and settle. Staying in poses for a prolonged period gradually “unlocks” stiff areas of the body.
In Yin, the use of yoga props is highly encouraged. Not only does it enable the practitioner to stay in the pose for longer, it makes the practice safer.
Here are some of the benefits of Yin:
- It’s an inclusive practice. Thanks to props and modifications, Yin is accessible to people with limited mobility, little yoga experience, or lower levels of fitness.
- It stretches connective tissue in your body.
- It brings awareness to the breath, creating space for pranayama.
- It’s a great way to release tension at the end of your day.
- It has a grounding effect, which makes you more in touch with your thoughts and emotions.
- It teaches you to embrace stillness of the body and mind.
- It improves passive flexibility.
- It’s a great practice to work on dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation).
How to Practice Vin Yin Yoga
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “How is that supposed to work?” After all, Vinyasa and Yin are basically the opposites of one another.
If you’ve ever had an intense gym workout or a run, followed by a long stretching session, you know how satisfying that feels. The structure of Vin Yin is based on a similar principle. The active, strengthening practice is followed by the relaxing, meditative practice.
A typical Vinyasa practice includes the following:
- A gentle warm-up, mobilizing the spine, shoulders, neck, and wrists. This may include seated twists, shoulder stretches, Cat-Cow sequence, Thread the Needle and Downward-Facing Dog.
- A more dynamic warm-up consisting of 3-5 Sun Salutations.
- A standing sequence, transitioning between postures in a rhythmic succession. It’s common for the flow to include a repeating Vinyasa sequence:
- Plank Pose
- Chaturanga Dandasana
- Cobra Pose or Upward-Facing Dog
- Downward-Facing Dog
- A peak pose, which is usually a more challenging asana. This might be an inversion, a standing balance, an arm balance, or a backbend.
- A winding-down sequence, typically consisting of twists and supine postures.
After an invigorating Vinyasa flow, we make a transition into a restorative Yin session. A typical Yin class features:
- Forward bends, such as Paschimottanasana, Janu Sirsasana or Baddha Konasana Uttanasana.
- Seated postures, such as Shoe Lace or Bound Angle.
- Reclined postures, such as Supta Baddha Konasana, supported Fish Pose or reclined Hero Pose.
- Gentle inversions, such as Melting Heart Pose, Child’s Pose or Legs-up-the-Wall Pose.
- And finally, the resting pose, Savasana. Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is held longer than all the other poses (10 to 20 minutes). In Yin, Savasana is often done with additional props to make it more comfortable.
Benefits of Vin Yin Yoga
Together, Vinyasa and Yin make a powerful combination. Each style is beneficial in its own way, and when you pair them, it results in a unique practice.
- It encompasses several yogic principles from the eight limbs of yoga. Vin Yin combines asana (physical postures), pranayama (breath work), dharana (concentration), and dhyana (contemplation).
- It keeps you physically active while making sure your muscles have time to recover.
- It is a well-rounded yoga practice that makes you stronger, more flexible, and more mindful.
- Like Yin and Yang, Vin Yin is a perfect balance of movement and stillness, strength and flexibility, physicality and mindfulness.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, give it a try! It will broaden your horizons and deepen your practice.