Yin Yoga in the Time of Covid
The Coronavirus pandemic that wreaked havoc in our lives nearly three years ago is back with another variant. Omicron XBB.1.5 and BF.7 are among the new variants on the block, with symptoms ranging from fever, cough, sore throat, running nose, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and body pain. As we know, those with low immunity are more likely to catch the virus.
While the stress of commuting and bearing the brunt of traffic is less, a different kind of stress takes over every time we hear of a new variant. Isolation from family, friends and loved ones causes anxiety and depression. If our homes are not equipped to allow us to work productively, our jobs are harder to excel at. Not to mention, the thought of being ‘locked in’ is never an assuring or positive one for the human mind.
In a way, yin yoga provided a safe space since the first Covid wave. Many turned to online Yin yoga courses and classes, and some took up 50 hour Yin yoga teacher training online programs. Even today, yin yoga continues to be a way for practitioners to rest and restore, while improving health and well-being from the comfort of one’s home.
So, how, specifically, is Yin yoga helpful in the post-covid world? Let’s look at how this practice can help us navigate the new normal.
- Improving physical and physiological health: The effect of Yin yoga on the connective tissues, and within the muscles, nervous system, immune system, endocrine system and even the epigenetic system is remarkable. Holding postures for longer has a deep, nourishing effect on the targeted area, improving strength. A long-hold stretch has an anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic impact on the body. Thus, in a Yin yoga practice, when a stretch is held for 3-5 minutes (or more), there is a positive improvement in the body’s immune response and a reduction in movement restrictions. Backbends open up the chest area, improving respiratory function. During Sampoorna’s 50 hour Yin yoga TTC, we help you understand more in detail the short and long-term effects of stressing tissues in a Yin way.
- Mental well-being: Isolating yourself during covid can take a toll on your mental health. Not only that, the thought of catching the virus and what could happen often eats us up from the inside, if we are not careful. To navigate this, mental strength is key. Yin yoga is known to release stress, anxiety and other mental conditions. Similar to meditation, it reduces stress, stress-related illness, blood pressure, risk of heart disease and other problems stemming from stress. It also has a positive impact on the nervous system where each posture, when held for a few minutes, provides the nervous system with a certain stimulus. This gives a deep stretch to the tissues and joints in the targeted area. The sensory nerves around the tissues detect these stimuli and send nerve signals to the spinal cord and brain for processing. There are also sensory nerve endings in the joint ligaments and capsules which also send information about the range of motion, muscle memory and strength to the nervous system. This improves awareness of our body, and the ability to stay in a relaxed state of being.
- Mindfulness: Sometimes, our own monkey minds are the cause of all problems. Even when we have not come in contact with a covid-positive person, we are worried. Our mind has the ability to convince us of having symptoms when our body is perfectly fine. Staying mindful and aware is critical to maintaining a steady state of mind. The slow-paced Yin practice encourages you to be present here and now. It stops the mind from wandering into a place of fear and ‘what-ifs’. As you hold each posture for a few minutes, the stillness allows you to take your attention inward. Slowly, you will begin to take this awareness off the mat and into everyday life. Read more about the benefits of Yin yoga here.
- Emotional support: Yin yoga brings us in contact with our emotions. Sometimes the practice can trigger emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, etc. This is because there is trapped energy holding these emotions and storing them in the deep connective tissues in various body parts. Confronting and releasing these emotions will present a sense of peace, balance and calmness to the mind and body, irrespective of what is happening in the world.
- A supportive community: Joining an online Yin yoga class or taking up a course allows you to be part of a supportive community in trying times. What makes it better is the group is coming together to achieve the same goal – learn methods and practices to improve well-being and quality of life. Everyone has similar feelings of uncertainty, fear and worry. So being together provides support like no other. It becomes a safe space for like-minded folks to communicate, learn and grow. Even as teachers, many have gone from teaching in large studios to looking at small squares on a screen. Navigating and making this shift together improves confidence to adapt to the new normal. You’ll even be surprised at how much gratitude fellow-practitioners will express at being in that Yin class!
While covid variants look like they’re far from over, we say there is still no better time to explore Yin yoga. Whether it’s joining a class as a student or taking the plunge and starting your teaching journey. Or, if you’re already a teacher, advance your practice with some of the best online Yin yoga teacher training courses. You will get a deep understanding of how energy runs through connective tissue and how emotions are carried through every organ in our body. You’ll even explore how Yin yoga is so much more than physical postures by improving your well-being, emotional and mental balance, and much more.
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.