I knew almost nothing about yin yoga when I first took a workshop years ago in Chicago. But once I did, everything changed. Yin yoga slowed me down as it opened me up. It asked me to think in pictures and feel in space—level your hips, soften your groins—and that led to a deeper insight that I hope to embody every time I returned to the mat: You don’t use your body to find the pose; you use the pose to find your body.
When you link to your body, slowly, through your breath, you can go deeper into your pose and your energy flow. Float your kidneys. Open your heart. Lengthen your tailbone. Is that even possible, you might ask. Is my tailbone really getting longer? I promise you, it doesn’t matter.
What does matter is how remarkably effective yin yoga is for releasing stress in your body. We all have it. The tight shoulders, the sore knee, the nagging ache that slips down your spine to your lower back and locks you in pain. We’ve all been there.
Once you understand the principles behind yin yoga, you won’t feel as helpless next time your body starts to act up or shut down. You learn to listen to your body, tune in, and engage in a mind-body-breath conversation that promotes healing, prevents injuries, and leaves you refreshed and reinvigorated.