We generally say that Yin Yoga works on the ligaments, tendons, and fascia. As opposed to more vigorous (yang) yoga styles, which work on the more superficial (muscle) tissues, Yin Yoga works on the deep connective tissues. But Yin Yoga also stimulates and improves the functioning of the internal organs. This stimulation happens by the deep, yet gentle, stress we place on the deep (visceral) fascia, which is wrapped around the organs. the yin poses effect these organs.
1. By stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system
Yin yoga effectively stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). PNS is activated with easy and calm breathing and gentle body movements. PNS is our rest and digest mode. When this system is activated, the body provides blood and resources to the brain and internal organs. This improves the functioning of digestive & lymphatic system. The body goes into healing and growing mode.
2. By stimulating organs in the abdominal cavity
Gently forward and back bends of yin poses effects the digestive organs. The long holds create squeeze and release effect on these organs. This results in the improved functioning
3. By toning the vagus nerve
Below you can find a Yin Yoga sequence to improve digestion. This sequence doe not include any challenging poses so almost everyone can do the practice easily.
Before starting the practice I recommend to prepare the space. To get best out of your practice, clean up the practice area. Light some candles, place a small plant and if you like a small statue of Buddha. Space should be well ventilated, well lit. Natural light is best.
Wear breathable and stretchable clothes. I personally recommend wearing cotton clothes rather than polyester yoga pants and tops. Clothes should be clean and smelling good.
I recommend playing some background music to enhance the mood. You can check out my Spotify playlist for Yin Yoga. Make sure the volume is low and music stays in background only.
I prefer to use a mild incense in the room, before the practice. I use sandalwood incense, but feel free to use incense of your choice. Some people don’t like incense and that is fine too. Just make sure the room doe not smell bad.
For yin yoga I suggest use of 6 – 12 mm thick mat. It provides good cushioning to the bones pressing in the ground during the long holds. The mat should not be too sticky.
Arrange your meditation cushion, bolster, blocks. Props if used correctly help us in many ways. They can help us to reduce the stress on particular area. They can help us to access the poses which are otherwise too difficult. They can help us to stay in the pose for long duration. They can help us to protect from too much pressure on the joints which are pressed against the ground.
This is a gentle sequence which lasts one hour. It focuses on the digestive organs and the vagus nerve.
Ram Jain (40,000 hours teaching experience) is the Director of Arhanta Yoga Ashrams in India and The Netherlands.
Born and raised in India, his Yoga education started from the age of 8 years as a part of his primary school education. Ram is teaching since 1998 & he has been teaching Yoga teacher training courses since 2009. He has trained over 5,000 yoga teachers in last 10 years. Ram has studied Yin Yoga directly with the founder Paul Grilley & his wife Suzee Grilley in California. He has trained over 2000 yin yoga teachers since 2016.