For Flexible Students: Yin Yoga Overview

Rachel Land does an excellent service (in this Yoga International article) by providing specific considerations for flexible students.

For flexible students, instead of making their already supple tissues weaker, yin can actually encourage their fascia to become stronger and more resilient; the key is to set up in yin poses in a way that creates a gentle, sustained sensation rather than a deep stretch. – Rachel Land

She explains that very flexible students can follow these guiding principles when practicing Yin Yoga:

  1. Reduce depth to perhaps 50% of full range of motion. The “aim is to feel some sensation, but the key word is some.”
  2. Relax muscles as completely as possible using props, the wall, or your arms.
  3. Hold the pose in stillness for several minutes.

Land provides the following example (and photo) for how a flexible student can set up to prioritize sustained “stress” rather than a deep stretch: In Butterfly Pose (the Yin Yoga version of Baddha Konasana), prop knees on blocks and place hands on floor “with arms straight to support the spine.”