Are you a Yin Yoga convert yet? Or perhaps you don’t know what is Yin Yoga, or you’ve heard of it but are not ‘convinced’ since it’s just a ‘slow’ type of yoga. Yoga is not “a type of exercise”… in fact, the purpose of yoga is so much more complex than just improving your body or calming your mind. For now, we are going to touch on the deep emotional benefits you can experience with a single class and why you may cry during yin yoga.
Recently Yin Yoga has been getting a lot of attention. Probably our “yang” dominated modern lifestyle calls for more balance. Or maybe people are realising the need to turn into practices that work more than just the muscles, practices that will nourish deeply your whole being.
Daily stress is impacting our bodies, minds, and souls. When we practice Yin Yoga we take the time to unwind our body, clear our mind, and open our hearts.
It allows for energetic healing to take place. Healing can come sometimes unexpectedly or even not even be noticed.
Just a couple of days ago, I witnessed the power of what an energetic release can do for you when you take the time out to listen to your body closely and are present with the sensations you experience.
During the opening weekend of a new yoga and fitness studio in Ibiza, we offered some sample classes. One of them was a Yin Yoga class.
Amongst the people that took part in the class, there was one of the Fitness instructors, a girl that had been working very hard lately launching her HIIT classes (High Impact Interval Training).
She (let’s call her Susan) teaches many HIIT classes, goes to the gym, is busy launching her business and recording videos, as well as going out and experiencing the Ibiza lifestyle… but when she finally stopped all the noise, the high impact exercise, the ‘yang’ part of her routine, and just took time to be in her body and stretch… she broke down in tears.
Susan suddenly burst into mysterious, cathartic tears mid-class. Susan wasn’t upset about anything, and since it was her first yoga experience was very confused about what was going on.
Susan wasn’t sure if she should get up and hide in the bathroom, carry on, or just stop. The waterworks didn’t stop even after the class had long finished.
Of course, the other Yin teacher and I reassured her that it was totally normal. That sometimes can happen, not all the time and not to everybody, but crying during yoga can be a normal reaction. Luckily, she was in a safe space and she felt comfortable enough to let go and live her experience.
If you are a very active person, like Susan, doing a lot of ‘Yang’ style exercise, all your muscles and other tissues in the body, including the fascia, may be holding unwanted tension. That tension has to be released somehow, ‘flushed out’ if you will… and with it some of the stress and other emotions that might have been trapped there.
According to Bessel Van Der Kolk, who wrote the very popular The Body Keeps the Score, the energy of traumatic experiences gets stored in our bodies, especially in the fascia. Even if you don’t think you’ve gone through any trauma in your life, either physical or emotional.
The fascia is the connective tissue surrounding the whole body like a web. It connects your head to your toes and wraps around everything, around your organs, bones, etc. Fascia is primarily made of collagen and is 70% water. And so what happens is that when fascia is traumatised, let’s say you are hit or there is an emotional trauma, your fascia dehydrates. And you get stiffer.
What happens in yoga is that when we start moving the body and stretching and rehydrating the fascia, the emotions that are stuck in the web of that collagenous tissue, they’re being released. Not just tears, may release other emotions like anger, frustration, or even laughter!
Moreover, another reason you may cry during a Yin Yoga session, or feel other strong emotions, is that you might be confronted with your own thoughts… for the first time in a very long time. Susan had taken time to stop, to just be with her own sensations, her body and her mind… nothing else. Nothing more… important!
We aren’t used to that anymore. As soon as we are doing ‘nothing’ we reach for the phone, we check the latest social media, or the news, or a book, or the tv… something needs to entertain us!
How often can you say you are alone with your own mind, emotions and sensations, just observing them? It can be a scary place! But also the only place where we can truly find growth.
That is one of the powers of Yin Yoga. It can help you find the time and space you need to help release physically, mentally and emotionally all the tension you’ve carrying even without noticing it.
Finally, even if you don’t feel a huge release of tears, or other big emotions, like Susan, every time you take a Yin Yoga class… don’t worry, the magic is still happening!
Are you curious now? Would you like to try it?
If you’d like to try a Yin Yoga class online, choose any two from the Soyoga Library of Videos for Free.
Montse has been working for the last 30 years in the world of theatre and performance as a director and mentor. Her passion for sharing her knowledge and her desire to help others realise their true potential has led her onto the path of yoga teaching.
Her classes are relaxed, friendly and with elements of yin, hatha, vinyasa and large doses of humour where everyone feels welcome, regardless of their skill.
She has been a yoga practitioner since the late 90s; forever a student, she’s undertaken several Yoga Teacher’s trainings, including two in India and a 200hr Yin Yoga Therapy training.
Montse often emphasises the individuality of each body, inviting the practitioner to experience for themselves the different variations on offer.
Whether doing a Vinyasa class or a Yin class you’ll experience deeper levels of relaxation, as well as challenge.