Sore muscles, injuries, overextension of the body—if you’re an athlete, you’re no stranger to these. From running track to lifting weights, chances are you’ve experienced some type of injury or strain throughout your life. While some form of injury may be inevitable over an athlete's lifespan, what if I told you there's a practice that even the most well-trained athletes could adopt to minimize injury?
I'm talking about yin yoga. Yin yoga is a gentle yet challenging yoga practice that allows you to drop into your own body, listen, and be present with anything and everything that comes up, both physically and mentally. Yin is a seated, grounding practice, in which poses are held for 3-5 minutes in order to bring mobility to the joints and ligaments. By practicing this style of yoga, athletes are able to work deeper into the muscles to transform the way the body moves.
In most classes you see in Western yoga, students are working with their yang muscles, or power muscles, which can be similar to an athlete's normal routine. When practicing yin yoga, students are asked to relax into postures, taking on a more passive approach to working through deep connective tissue and fascia in the body.
Yin Yoga offers athletes a chance to find stillness in the mind and body. Given that poses are being held much longer than a yang-style yoga class, a student will notice everything under the sun come up in their minds and bodies. From sensation in the hips to thoughts about past experiences, yin allows these physical and mental emotions to rise and be released through the power of passive movement.
When intimately working with the body by breaking through connective tissue, students will find themselves breaking through old emotional patterns and coming out of class stronger—not just in the body, but in the mind as well. Here are five yoga poses that will help you out.