What Is Yin Yang Yoga?

Yin yang yoga is a combination of two very different styles of yoga brought together to improve flexibility, encourage relaxation, and get your body moving.

Let’s take a closer look at exactly what Yin Yang yoga is, the benefits of practicing this type of yoga, plus when and how to practice it to get the most benefit!

Yin Yang Yoga Definition

To understand what yin yang yoga is, we first need to understand what these two styles of yoga are when practiced separately.

Yin yoga is a slow, floor-based yoga practice where deep stretches are held for a longer time (usually between 3-5 minutes but anywhere up to 15 minutes!) in order to work with the muscles, bones, ligaments, and network of fascia (deep connective tissue).

Yang yoga is a more active and warming practice that involves moving with the breath and standing asanas to increase stamina, blood flow, and strength.

When combined, these two practices create a wholesome style of yoga called ‘yin yang’ yoga that allows you to take the best from two very different styles of yoga.

Classes can be structured in different ways, and you’ll find that this will differ from teacher to teacher. Ideally, yin yoga is practiced on cold muscles, so you’ll often start your practice with this before moving on to yang yoga. Alternatively, you can “sandwich” the yang section of your yoga class by starting and ending with yin yoga poses selected to warm up and cool down the body.

Benefits of Yin Yang Yoga

The benefits of yin yang yoga are comprised of the individual benefits of the two separate practices. When practicing this style of yoga, you can expect benefits such as:

Improved flexibility in deeper connective tissues

When holding deep stretches for an extended time in the yin section of your class, you’ll be able to access the deeper connective tissue in your body called ‘fascia’. This will greatly improve your overall flexibility and mobility.

Reduces stress in the body and mind

Yin yang yoga is a wonderful way to reduce stress in the body and mind, just like any other style of yoga! Practicing yoga gives you time to step away from the hustle and bustle of life and into yourself.

Increased patience

Because yin yoga involves remaining in deep stretches for a long time, you may feel a little uncomfortable at times. Holding challenging poses despite the discomfort you may be experiencing will help to improve your patience.

Increases stamina

During the more fast-paced section of your yin yang yoga class, you’ll move with your breath and, as a result, increase your stamina.

Strengthens and tones the body

Yang yoga is any faster-paced style of yoga, all of which will strengthen and tone the body through weight-bearing asanas and standing poses.

Improves circulation

Yin yang yoga has the perfect balance of movement and deep stretching to improve your blood circulation.

When to Practice Yin Yang Yoga

Yin yang yoga is a wonderful choice if you’re trying to improve both your flexibility and stamina. It’s the ideal practice for cultivating calm and moving your body in a healthy way that will allow you to get to know your body on a deeper level.

Ultimately, it’s a great choice if you can’t decide between fast-paced and slow-paced yoga!

Yin Yang Yoga Poses

Yin yang yoga poses include:

Yin Yoga Poses

Dragon pose

dragon pose

Start by standing at the top of your mat. Exhale to forward fold, bringing your hands to the floor and bending your knees as much as you need to. From here, take a big step back with your right leg into a low lunge. Shift your left foot to the outside edge of your mat so that your left hand is on the inside of your left foot. Bring your right knee to rest on the mat. To make this pose more comfortable, you might like to place blocks underneath your hands.

Caterpillar pose

caterpillar pose

Sit on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. You might like to bring a folded blanket under your sit bones to help you keep your spine straight. From here, bring your hands to the mat and slowly walk them forwards as you bring your belly and torso towards your legs.

Yang Poses

Three-Legged Dog

three-legged-dog-pose

Come to all fours on your hands and knees. Place your hands one palm print in front of where they are now and tuck your toes. Exhale as you lift your hips to the sky as your body moves into an upside-down ‘V’ (downward-facing dog). Take a breath in as you lift your right leg straight up to the sky, creating a straight line between your wrists, shoulders, and right ankle. Reach through your lifted leg and push into your standing leg to stay strong.

Mountain Pose

Come to a standing position at the front of your mat. Bring your feet hip distance apart and bring your weight into all four corners of your feet. Push your feet into the ground and grow through the crown of your head. Let your hands come to your sides with palms open and facing forwards, bring your hands slightly away from the sides of your body. Gaze softly ahead and feel strong.

How to Practice Yin Yang Yoga

You can start practicing yin yang by picking a few of your favorite deep stretches and standing poses. Try starting your practice with the deep stretches, followed by standing poses that move with the breath, finishing with 2-3 cooling floor-based poses to finish.

Why not get started with a couple of the poses outlined above or follow a YouTube video? We’ve shared a few of our favorites in the next section.

Start Yin Yang Yoga at Home

If you can’t make it to a yoga studio, can’t find a local yin yang class, or simply want to try yin yang yoga out at home, check out these follow-along videos.

Related: Yin Yang Yoga Sequence for Beginners

Yin Yang Yoga Flow

30 Minute Beginner Yin Yang Yoga

25 Minute Yin Yoga Vinyasa Fusion

Yin Yang Yoga FAQs

Who Should Avoid Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga includes holding deep spinal stretches for long periods of time. If you suffer from a spinal injury or a condition such as sciatica or osteoporosis, it might be safer to avoid yin yoga.

Is Yin Yang Suitable for Beginners?

Yin yang yoga is a great way to start your yoga journey as it will introduce you to both the slow-paced and fast-paced practices of yoga. You may like to continue with a combined practice, or maybe you’ll realize that you prefer one practice over the other!

What Is a Yang Pose?

A yang yoga pose involved more active movement. It will often draw on strength, stamina, balance, or all three!

Important: Check with your doctor before trying yin yang yoga for the first time if you have any type of injury, illness, pain, or you are pregnant.

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