The Mental Health Benefits of Yin Yoga

Sep 14 2016

The Mental Health Benefits of Yin Yoga

Alan Mileham

As someone who works for a mental health counselling company, anxiety, depression, stress and burnout represent almost 50% of the counselling that we undertake for individuals with personal issues.

Most of us are aware of the many physical benefits of Yin Yoga, but were you aware of the mental health benefits of practicing Yin Yoga?

In a Yin Yoga class you can spend anywhere from 3 - 5 minutes or even up to 20 minutes in a posture. The time spent in these postures can become very meditative. The practice of Yin Yoga has been around for thousands of years, that some of the older text such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika notes only 16 postures in it. This is far less than the millions of postures practiced in today's yoga. These 16 postures were far more yin like to help promote meditation and long periods of pranayama and sitting.

The practice of yin yoga requires the students to be ready to get intimate with the self, with feelings, the various sensations and emotions they may feel more in a yin class than a yang class. This is why yin yoga is often used in programs that deal with addictions, eating disorders, anxiety, and deep pain or trauma. People who struggle with loneliness, feelings, and sensations, which is something that addicts struggle with, find it challenging to face themselves and what they are dealing with at the moment. The concept of a Yin practice helps with creating a greater mental stability which is benefitted by the meditative or mindfulness of the Yin practice by learning to sit still.

A regular practice of yin yoga teaches you how to listen, as you aren't jumping in and out of postures, you are creating a stillness within your yin practice, which is less of a distraction.

The many benefits of Yin Yoga are:

Calming and balancing to the mind and the body.

Regulating energy in the body

Increase mobility in the body, especially the joints and the hips.

Helps lowering the stress that many of us deal with in our daily lives.

Greater stamina

Better lubrication and protection of the joints.

More flexibility in joints & connective tissue

The release of fascia throughout the body

Helps with migraines & TMJ

Help in coping with anxiety & stress

Better ability to sit for meditation

It will improve your yang practice

Incorporating both a regular yin practice and a yang practice will help create a more well rounded practice.