Teaching Yin Yoga: 10 Tips for Teachers

Slow-paced and gentle, yin yoga is a practice that stresses the deep connective tissues. It provides a chance to get away from endless to-do lists and de-stress the mind and body, and is suitable for anyone looking to engage in a quiet and reflective practice. In a yin yoga class, since each posture is held for 3-5 minutes, it positively impacts the deep connective tissues (bones, joints, fascia and ligaments) in the body. When these tissues are stretched, they become healthier and stronger. To be an effective teacher it is important to provide the right information as well as guide students in a gentle manner. A 50-hour yin yoga teacher training online explores the different teaching qualities and techniques to make the class effective and enjoyable. While a 50-hour yin yoga TTC is a must to gain this knowledge, this article looks at the key points.

  1. Monitor comfort levels: During each pose monitor your students comfort level. You can use the system that follows the red, orange, green zone (traffic light system) to observe and judge pain or discomfort. In this system, green means students are completely comfortable in their posture and the effect of the posture is minimal. Orange indicates a mild discomfort and the stimuli are being effective. Red is the danger zone, indicating pain and risk of injuries. In the beginning of the class tell students about the zones, and continuously remind them of the zones throughout the class.Ideally, students should be in the orange zone as this means they are stressing the target area and getting the benefits of the posture. Care must be taken not to crossover to the red zone. To learn how to differentiate between zones, we recommend taking up one of the best Online Yin Yoga Teacher Training programs at Sampoorna Yoga Online Academy.
  2. Use props effectively: Familiarize yourself with the different props and their purpose. Inform students that props can make a practice more effective when used correctly. For example, a strap will act as a catalyst for practitioners to hold a posture for the intended duration and to even go from the green zone to orange. It even takes stress off the areas that are not actually being targeted in a posture. At the same time, as teachers, ensure the props are not deterring one’s practice. Of course, in our online yin yoga training we will help you learn how props can be used effectively.
  3. Voice modulation: Similar to modulating your voice between different yogic practices (for example, instructing asanas versus guiding a meditation), in yin yoga modulating your voice is a beneficial skill. Maintaining a firm and clear, yet gentle and soothing voice is helpful. Students will be more receptive and attentive when you are delivering instructions with emotion. Modulating your voice will also keep students from getting bored or zoning out (as the class is slow-paced).
  4. Create the right ambience: Consider lights, scents and eliminating external noise when thinking of the kind of ambience you wish to create. Remember, keeping your students relaxed yet engaged is the key. So, your atmosphere should be soothing but not boring. Soothing scents like lavender, jasmine or sage are popular relaxants. Avoid anything that is stimulating or too strong. The goal here is to create a safe and warm environment where students feel comfortable experiencing real sensations, feelings and thoughts that come with the practice.
  5. Focus on function: You don’t want to get stuck on the shape or form. It’s not about the aesthetics of the pose, but what effect the pose has on the mind and body. Repeatedly tell students it is okay to try variations and use props when needed. Teach students to listen to their bodies. Each student’s ideal alignment might differ slightly based on their body shape, weight and height. The key is for students to find what works for them by listening to physical cues, and for you to encourage this. This way, there is less risk of overstraining tissues or injuries. To understand this completely, we recommend doing an online yin yoga teacher training that carries a functional approach to yoga with a strong curriculum in anatomy of movement.
  6. Transitions are important: As each posture is held for long and there is a deep impact on the connective tissue, exiting a pose can be challenging for students. They might feel various sensations, stiffness or difficulty between postures. Be attentive to how they feel and offer rest time to experience all the rebound when coming out of a pose. Ensure they feel comfortable before moving onto the next pose by allowing them time to concentrate on each movement.
  7. When to speak and when to stay silent: You are trying to ensure your students have a meditative and calming experience. While instructions are important, so is staying silent. Speaking too much will interrupt a student’s experience and concentration. Try to speak only for 30-40% of the time your students are in a posture. Be short and sweet during transitions. Allow your students the time and space to go inwards. If you are helping an individual student, speak in a low yet clear voice so it doesn’t disturb the others.
  8. Plan a sequence with modifications and options: Think through your sequence (and practice it) before the class.. This way you can feel if the transitions you created in your mind actually make sense in your body. Account for counterposes and beginner to advanced versions. Consider starting with more accessible postures and variations, and offer two to three options per pose. This way, students will feel like they are working around the body in a logical way. Depending on your theme of the class, there may be a deeper focus on a specific area. So, it is important to add the right variety of poses to work through that region and to offer counterposes to balance it out.. For example, in a lower body routine, you will want to cover everything from the hip to the foot, so there is a full experience for each leg.
  9. Give time for rebound: Rebound refers to experiencing the effect of the pose. It gives the body time to relax and recover from the position it was in. During this phase, blood flow to the stimulated area increases. Skipping rebound time takes away the experience and does not allow the specific region to come back to normal. It can also lead to injuries, soreness or strain in the affected area. This also happens during transitions. Since there was a fair amount of stress on the connective tissues, students need this time to recover and restore. If you are unsure how to account for rebound time, just pause when releasing the posture, allow your students to remain in stillness and observe anything that may arise. In a yin yoga certification online you can learn more about rebound time.
  10. Offer guidance and adjustments: Make poses accessible for all students by offering variations and adjustments. It can get frustrating when poses are too challenging. Asking them to rest and wait is not very encouraging. Instead, offer variations. This way you are also showing students you care about their experience and progress. Show them how to do the pose with the help of props. After all, yoga is for all.

A yin yoga class can be a wonderful experience. As a teacher, approach your classes without expectations. Don’t overthink how the class will unfold. There should be no room for negative thoughts or feelings of ego, impatience or lack of interest. You are a guide to your students and your goal should be to support them in their journey, irrespective of their level, body structure or anything else. A yin yoga TTC online is a great place for you to start.

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the healing benefits of yin yoga or discovering how you can make it part of your lifestyle. At Sampoorna Yoga Online Academy, you will find specialized help focusing on your well-being, no matter where you are.

5 Common Questions About Yin Yoga

It takes time and effort to calm our “monkey mind” that is constantly in a state of ‘go-go-go’. Gaining immense popularity worldwide is yin yoga, a slow-paced and mindful practice. Compared to the traditional and common ‘yang’ practices of Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow yoga among others, which involve more dynamic movements, yin yoga primarily works on the deep connective tissues.

Yin yoga is practiced by holding each posture for long periods of time (anything from 3-5 minutes up to 15-20 minutes, maybe even more). By holding the posture, the practitioner is targeting the body’s deep connective tissues, rather than only muscle groups in a specific region. You might think holding the Cobra Pose for a few minutes doesn’t seem so hard. However, it does take a lot of mental focus and determination to hold still. A yin yoga certification online gives aspiring teachers a thorough understanding of the impact of these still holds on the body. If you are considering an online yin yoga teacher training, this article addresses five common questions you may have about yin yoga. 

1. What is yin yoga? 

The biggest difference between yin and yang approaches to yoga postures is the way we stimulate the targeted area. Yin yoga targets tissues like fascia, ligaments, joints and bones in a passive manner,  encouraging practitioners to be aware of their body while going inward. Yin yoga stretches, contracts and twists deep tissues that are neglected on a regular basis. By staying still in each posture, one also learns to breathe through discomfort or new sensations in the body. The longer hold and deepening of poses also helps open up blockages and releases energy or life force (known as prana).

Yin yoga classes also have a sequence or flow of poses. A 50-hour yin yoga teacher training online will teach you how to create these sequences, starting with simpler postures and moving onto more challenging/complex ones. The best online yin yoga teacher training programs will also help you understand more about transitions between postures and how to guide students. Postures are typically seated, prone or supine as you need to be relaxed while holding still. Various props can be used for support or to help practitioners go deeper (bolsters, belts, cushions, blocks etc.). 

2. What are the benefits of yin yoga? 

Yin yoga has a positive effect on the physical and mental states. Physically, as it stretches, compresses and twists deep connective tissues, It makes these tissues more flexible and stronger. The connective tissue consists of tendons, ligaments, bones, etc., which are constantly supporting muscles and joints. When they are not given due attention, they begin to lose elasticity, leading to stiffness, joint pain or lack of mobility. Yin yoga is one practice that can prevent this. There is also an increased amount of blood circulation and oxygen to these deeper regions. 

Yin yoga also relieves stress and anxiety. It balances the nervous system by providing a certain stimulus in the targeted area, which is then detected by the sensory nerves around the tissues. This sends a signal to the brain and spinal cord for processing. Over time, this improves awareness of one’s sensations and the nervous system learns to relax. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, calming the mind and body, lowering cortisol levels and the heart rate. Regular yin yoga practice helps one stay still for a period of time. This is very useful when learning to meditate or simply sit still and focus on the breath for 15-20 minutes. You can read this article to understand more benefits of yin yoga here. Another great place to dive deep into yin yoga is a 50-hour yin yoga TTC which educates you on the what’s, why’s and how’s of yin yoga.

benefits of yin yoga

3. Are postures different in yin yoga? 

In yin yoga, certain postures and alignment of the postures can be different. This is because the idea here is to induce deep stress on the targeted area to stretch, strengthen and lengthen connective tissue. In yin yoga, gravity supports a posture to help one relax in the pose, and hence postures may be done a little differently. For example, in Hatha or Ashtanga poses one is used to always being told to keep the spine straight. Whereas, in a yin yoga certification course online you will learn that in certain postures (forward bends, for example) the practitioner can curve the back slightly to relax and hold the position. 

As a teacher, it is important to know the student’s history of injuries and ailments, as these factors will influence the posture. There is no correct alignment – each practitioner finds what works for their body and identifies good discomfort versus bad pain. To guide students in the right way, it is important for you to observe and understand. You can learn how to develop this skill through an online yin yoga teacher training program, like Sampoorna’s 50-hour yin yoga training. A good example of how a posture might look different for each individual is the Baddha Konasana Pose (called Butterfly Pose in yin yoga). If one has tight hamstrings and is targeting the connective tissue along the back of the legs, keeping the heels farther away from your groin will be more beneficial. Whereas if one is targeting the adductors, keeping the heels closer to the body is helpful. 

4.What to do when practitioners get distracted, restless or can’t hold the posture?

The thought of holding a posture for a few minutes can be daunting. Many will get restless or even be fearful. Sometimes, holding still will make the mind wander, causing suppressed emotions to arise. It takes mental strength and patience to stay focused. At the beginning of a class you might get questions like ‘what should I do when holding a pose? What if my arm starts aching? What do I do if I feel a cramp coming on?’ If you’re wondering how to address such questions, we recommend considering our online yin yoga teacher training course, approved and recognized by Yoga Alliance. 

One way for students to stay focused is to keep their attention on the breath. This way, one can use this time to balance any thoughts or emotions. Similar to meditation, one learns to be an observer of thoughts. Even if pain or any emotion arises, one observes like an external spectator, rather than reacts. Focusing on the breath also allows one to become aware of sensations or feelings in the body. For example, one might notice extreme stiffness in the lower back during the Cobra Pose. Time in the posture allows one to think about whether this could be due to sitting hunched over a laptop regularly? The best yin yoga online courses will equip you to guide students towards finding stillness in each posture.

online yin yoga teacher training course

5. Who is yin yoga good for?

Yin yoga is for anyone looking to slow down and let go of their to-do list just for a little while. It’s also for anyone keen on slowing down the effects of aging. Yin yoga is not limited to a specific age-group. It also works as a healing practice for anyone recovering from injuries or managing chronic conditions. Of course, it is important for students to get a medical opinion before starting the practice. The practice is also great for anyone trying to learn to meditate. 

The best yin yoga course online will address all these questions and more in a detailed fashion. With the fast-paced lives and largely sedentary lifestyles most of us lead, yin yoga helps us find a balance. Initially, students might find it too slow. Guiding them in the right way is critical for them to experience the benefits. Once this happens, they will be keen to continue their practice. Sign up for a yin yoga certification online to gain a holistic understanding of the practice. 

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the healing benefits of yin yoga or discovering how you can make it part of your lifestyle. At Sampoorna Yoga Online Academy, you will find specialized help focusing on your well-being, no matter where you are.

What are the benefits of Yin Yoga?

We live fast-paced, stressful lives that take us from one task to the next without much time to pause, reflect and relax. Our parasympathetic nervous system gets little time to be active as compared to our sympathetic nervous system. While yoga asana practice itself provides  calming and relaxing benefits, there are certain styles of yoga that provide a deeper relaxation to the mind and body. One such style is Yin Yoga. 

In contrast to the dynamic and challenging nature of styles like Ashtanga Vinyasa (practiced in a more Yang way), Yin yoga is a slow-paced, meditative practice. This style of practice provides practitioners dedicated time and space to pause, stretch and breathe mindfully. It helps let go of to-do lists and demands of our daily lives to go within and become aware of our internal world. If you’re considering an online yin yoga teacher training, this article explores the benefits of yin yoga.  

benefits of yin yoga

Understanding Yin Yoga 

Being slow-paced, yin yoga is soothing yet challenging. Each posture is practiced in a gentle and sensitive way trying to find that place where it’s neither too much or too little. The breath is slow and steady allowing the practitioner to recognize sensations in the body. Postures are held for 3-5 minutes (or more), targeting the deep connective tissues (bones, joints, fascia and ligaments) in the body. When the deep tissues and fascial system are stretched and stimulated, they become healthier and resilient. Being still in certain poses helps keep the body nourished and healthy even as we age. 

An online yin yoga teacher training will allow you to understand the effects of holding poses for a longer period of time in the body and the mind. A yin yoga certification online will also enable you to help students to find the variation of the posture that works for them. 

Let’s see the benefits of Yin Yoga in more detail

Yin yoga benefits for the body

yin yoga benefits for body
  • Yin yoga slows the aging process: As we grow older, our bones begin to degenerate. Mobility in the joints and overall flexibility reduces. Our fascia also tightens. Regular Yin yoga practice helps maintain and even regain mobility, reduces pain and pressure on the joints and stretches the muscles by applying the right amount of stress to the joints and giving a gentle, soothing stretch to the muscles. 
  • Improves circulation: By holding the stretches for long, all the organs get a good massage, improving blood circulation to different parts of the body. This also balances the various systems. Blockages are released, improving the flow of prana. 
  • Perfect for slowing down: The slow-paced Yin practice provides a deep relaxation to the mind and body. It is particularly helpful in balancing the nervous system and activating the rest and digest response (parasympathetic nervous system).

Yin yoga benefits for the mind

yin yoga benefits for mind
  • Reduces stress and tension: Yin yoga is a slow-paced practice that encourages practitioners to confront thoughts and emotions that may arise during the practice. The stress applied to the tissues in each posture may help to release energetic blockages, arising in the form of physical sensations, emotional connection, and/or mental relief. Furthermore, as yin yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system and stimulates the vagus nerve, it effectively relaxes the mind and body, relieving stress.
  • Improves mindfulness: As this is a style practiced at a slower pace, it encourages to be present here and now. The silence experienced during the practice helps one draw their attention inward and focus the mind. There is greater awareness of what is happening within the body too. Practitioners will slowly be more aware of any sensations in the muscles, joints or other parts of the body and mind. 

A yin yoga practice might trigger emotions for practitioners such as happiness, sadness, fear, etc. This is because the energy of these feelings and emotions can get stored in the body in the deep connective tissue and in the form of pain in various body parts. A yin yoga course will help you -as a teacher- to handle any such responses or reactions from students. Moreover, the 50-hour online yin yoga teacher training will equip you to understand how this style of yoga can help you improve your physiological and psychological well-being. 

By the end of this yin yoga teacher certification online you will be prepared to teach and modify poses, understand where and how students will feel the effect of postures, create sequences, understand emotions and their relation to the connective tissue and more. The online yin yoga teacher training helps you find balance, feel complete and whole. Over time, one will notice progress and growth within the body and mind. The best part is one begins to understand the art of slowing down.