Yin Yoga / Deep Stretch
Deep Stretch Yin Yoga is a great practice for anyone who is 'stiff' looking to improve flexibility, anyone looking to stretch their muscles back out from a more vigorous practice, and anyone looking to begin exploring meditation.
In this class floor poses are held for extended periods of time with the muscles relaxed to allow gravity time to work on the muscles, connective tissue, joints, and even the bones. This practice can actually be therapeutic for certain kinds of joint-pain as the long gentle holds can allow the joints to be worked in a safe and therapeutic manner that is simply impossible in a more active class. Because of the nature of the long holds it is a great time for inner-reflection and meditation as well as developing a deeper awareness of both the body and the breath. The poses themselves also begin to cultivate flexibility in the very same areas that one would need flexibility in to be able to hold an upright meditation posture for an extended period of time.
This practice is NOT restorative yoga. Unlike restorative yoga where the body is supported by props and the focus is on relaxation, in yin yoga the body is allowed to be pulled by gravity into the pose so that there are certain 'stresses' placed on different tissues of the body resulting a therapeutic effect. It is the TIME that the poses are held that gives yin yoga its power and which also makes it challenging. With care and consideration almost anyone can derive benefit from a yin practice, however as with any asana practice special care must be taken to cultivate the right attitude and approach to this unique practice for your individual body.