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Why Yin Yoga can be such a powerful practice

May 9, 2016 by Zhane Orr-O'Farrell

So often our choice of exercise is driven by our pursuit of the ‘ultimate workout’- one that offers you the most bang for your buck, leaving you spread-eagled on the carpet and halfheartedly shooing your dog away from your face as he licks the sweat from your forehead.

These concentrated, or consistent, demands placed on the body must be counteracted with a little ‘yin’ because balance is key… Right?

Yin Yoga is a slow practice in which the poses are held for longer durations to facilitate a deeper release and stretch throughout the muscles and joints. It is also an incredibly meditative practice that encourages the release of emotional tension and stress.

This is why Yin Yoga can be such a powerful practice to unwind and de-stress the mental and physical body for anyone- a high performance athlete, a busy mum constantly on the go-go-go, a high performance executive, those carrying serious injury and anyone and everyone living within our modern ‘chair culture’.

Both physical and mental stress tends to manifest in ‘problem areas’ in the body, epitomized by so many of us ‘walking’ around with tight hips, back issues and hunched shoulders.

Myofascial release techniques take the release of these musculoskeletal issues to a whole other level, working into the tissues with the use of props such as mid-size inflatable balls, tennis balls and marble like accessories.

As a studio, we were lucky enough to catch Lee-Ann Heron Yoga instructor and naturopathon on her two-day pit stop in Melbourne, before heading back to the U.S., sharing her wisdoms in a Yin Yoga and Myofascial Release Workshop.

Designed to leave you feeling rejuvenated, unlocked and armed with tools to ease pain and tension, the workshop consisted of a 2 hour Yin Yoga class using Yoga Tune Up therapy balls as well as a presentation on Chinese meridians for letting go and naturopathic remedies to encourage myofascial release in the body.

While the therapy balls encouraged the elimination of myofascial tension and stress from the common ‘problem areas’ such as the neck, upper and lower back and the hips, it was the lungs and the large intestines that Lee-Ann sought to address. While fundamental to an optimal level of health and functioning, these organs are so often ignored in our daily practices, with so many of us suffering from shallow breath and digestive issues as a consequence of living in the heightened ‘fight or flight’ state.

Lee-Anne sought to remedy this through the integrative use of asana practice, external props and breath work as well as the integration of nutritional and lifestyle support strategies.

Offering insights and advice on how to feed the metal element of our bodies connected with our lung and large intensional organs, it was clear to see that Lee-Anne’s fifteen years as a Chinese medicine and naturopathy practice have bred a wealth of wisdom.

Students were both engaged and fascinated by the discussion and were left empowered with the knowledge and further resources with which they could take the appropriate steps to lessen the external stressors that may be sabotaging their diet and exercise attempts (ie. environmental toxins and lifestyle stressors).

Whether it was emotional stressors or physical injury that was requiring relief and release, there is no denying that our yogis came out of the two hour Yin Yoga and Myofascial release class well and truly ‘unwound’ and ready to forge a new path towards bettering their health…with a little more ‘yin’.

And if your body and mind is in need of some serious TLC, then please come along to one of our Yin classes.

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