It’s in the name: Power Yoga is an active and powerful practice. And – as with so many things in life – balance is key.
At The Power Yoga Company, we offer several Yin Yoga classes a week, because we believe they are a beautiful complement your Power Yoga practice. Where Power Yoga is dynamic, Yin moves slowly. There is a different energy to Yin classes; you will come away with a sense of grounding and release.
Yin teaches yogis to be still, an increasingly rare skill for us Londoners. We create a space of rest, with no interruptions from social media, work, friends or family. It’s a time to sit with yourself and simply be.
Yin poses are held between 3-10 minutes in seated and lying positions. Think of Jathara Parivartanasana (Reclined Twist) or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Sleeping Pigeon). The longer periods in each pose allow the muscles around the hips, pelvis and lower back to lengthen. The deep connective tissue between the muscles and fascia of the body respond best to these long and steady holds, meaning Yin is an incredible way to improve flexibility.
When we spoke to PYC teacher Cal Wansbrough about teaching Yin Yoga, she remarked that many people come to yoga and do the same as they do in the outside world: they push and they work hard. Yin yoga is unlike that. Instead, you allow yourself to drop and release into the pose. It’s about allowing rather than pushing.
In Cal’s Yin classes, she invites her students to identify an area of tension in a pose – the inner thighs in Baddha Konasana (Butterfly), for example. She then invites you to maintain that feeling of stretch throughout the pose. In Yin, there is no requirement for the visuals of a pose, only the feeling. This is how we land in our bodies and let go of what the pose looks like.
We find the roots of Yin Yoga in traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy, an area in which our brilliant Cal holds a degree. Cal explains that in stretching out the fascia we are also stimulating the flow of energy / chi / prana / life force through our bodies. Yin yoga balances out the flow of energy through our meridians, which creates a sense of general wellbeing and ease. (If you’re curious about Chinese medicine, Cal warmly encourages you to ask any questions at the end of her Yin classes).
Inviting some Yin into your Power Yoga ritual creates a natural balance. Yin is a restorative and nurturing practice. It is perfect for those days when you want to feel calmed rather than invigorated. It’s amazing for calming the parasympathetic nervous system and providing a space for deep healing.
The next time you identify the need for calm and balance, we invite you to try Yin Yoga.