“Stressing” or “Loading” Connective Tissues: Yin Yoga Overview
- The intention and primary focus of Yin Yoga is stimulation of connective tissues such as ligaments, bones and joints.
- It’s commonly accepted that stretching connective tissues such as ligaments is unsafe and potentially injurious. The purpose of Yin Yoga is not to stretch such tissues, but rather to appropriately “stress” or “load” them. (See more on stretching here.)
- Rachel Land provides detailed theory here on how the practice stimulates fibroblasts within fascia to encourage the fascia to become more resilient as well as how the practice rehydrates fascia and why this is so beneficial.
- Although the upper body may also be addressed, the primary focus of Yin Yoga is often on the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis and lower spine.
Potential Benefits, Even for Flexible Students Who Practice in Particular Ways
There’s no doubt that yin yoga can help those who would like a little more mobility. But it also has the potential to maintain well-hydrated, elastic, and resilient soft tissue, rebalance the nervous system from the constant stimulation of modern life, and regulate the flow of energy. Even the most flexible students can realize these benefits by practicing yin with a subtle approach — not going as deep, finding a shape they can relax into, then staying patiently still. The key, as with any yoga practice, is not in what we do but how we do it. – Rachel Land