Yin Yoga New York Style

by Monica Øien

This post is also available in: Norsk (Norwegian )

Living in California is such a blast. It´s like you dont want to miss any opportunities. At least that`s what I feel. I have almost been here for a year, my plan was actually to relax a bit more these last weeks of my american journey. Finishing the book I am writing. Meditating and enjoying the sunsets as much as I could. Then Yin came along my way. Hmm, I emailed Adrienne Smith, the owner of Power of your OM, one of my favourite places to hang out, in dogs and cats. She answered: “Braxton is one of my favorite teachers…. he is extremely knowledgeable, passionate and relatable! ” – Ok, it was impossible to turn this down. So Yin happened.

Braxton and Adrienne at the teacher training!

The whole year has been like this, weeks and days filled up with exciting courses, workshops and meetings. Conversations about workouts, intentions, life and the meaning of all that we do. New York based Braxton Rose is one of these meetings. We had such a wonderful time doing the Yin Teacher Training and these days only added up on my wishlist of how I want to spend my days. Always learning, asking questions and being aware.

Yinning up with Braxton in a 120 minutes class….

So we did find time for a little chat. Afterall Yin is kind of new to me, and I guess for all the Yinilicious people out there, there is always more to learn!!!

Does`t hurt that Braxton is hensom too….

In your opinion, what is yoga?

Yoga is whatever it needs to be. This is what makes Yoga so powerful: It means different things to different people.
And what is yin then?
In every Yoga posture there is Yin and Yang. We feel this in a posture like Warrior Two, where we are active and engaged in our legs core and arms, but our eyes are soft and face relaxed. Yin Yoga is a practice where instead of being mainly Yang with a little Yin we are mainly Yin with a little Yang. It is designed to stimulate the connective tissues of our bodies (tendons, ligaments, fascia) in hopes of creating range of motion in the body.
Why is this good for us?
Physically it allows us to release tension, heal injury, create deeper range of motion, stretch our deep connective tissues and detoxify our organs. Mentally and Spiritually it allows us to heal past trauma, release stress and anxiety and open our minds in preparation for mediation.

Striking a pose here

Since I live in California and its always warm here, and I have noticed that there are many studios who offer Warm yin, could you explain the differences in the effect of Yin doing it with a cold body or a warm (hot) body?
When your muscles are warm the stretch primarily goes into your muscle. For instance, if you are tight in your hamstrings doing a stretch in a heated Vinyasa class may give you more range of motion.. However, when your muscles are cold, instead of the main stretch going into your muscle, the stretch goes into your connective tissue. This lubricates the tissues which allows your joints to move with more fluidity.
How do we avoid injuries in the Yin practice?
Listening to your body is crucial in the practice of Yin Yoga. As you practice is it is important to not have the sensation you experience in the posture to go too high. If you think of a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest try and keep yourself around a 7. If we listen to our need to go further and push past this level of sensation this can cause injury. Think listen to your body not your ego!
Think listen to your body not your ego!

My Yin sisters and brothers

What effects does Yin have on our mental state?
In the Yin practice we hold postures for up to 5 minutes. As we hold these postures it creates a therapeutic environment for your mind to be still. As our mind becomes still our para-sympathetic nervous system takes over; which creates a relaxation response inside our minds. Our muscles start to heal, the food in our stomach and digestion track starts to get processed and our bodies start to recover from all the action of day to day life.
If you are curious about this Teacher Training, feel free to contact me, I am – believe it or not – considering bringing Braxton home in my spiritual suitcase 🙂
Yinny and sunny smiles all the way,
PS: You can find Braxton here:
To flow Power of your OM:

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