The Stretch Solution: Yin Yoga

Stretching is an integral part of the workout process that often gets neglected.

And, I will be the first to admit that I do not dedicate the time that I should to stretching. Yesterday, however, I experienced the stretch of a lifetime and the impact on my workout performance was outstanding. If you have tight hip flexors or knotted shoulders, you have to experience Yin Yoga, it is the stretch solution for athletes and avid fitness fanatics.

I went for lunchtime Yin Yoga class with my boss and co-worker. As you may have read in previous posts, yoga is quite new to me. In fact, yesterday was only my third class, but I left feeling “unwound” and excited about the possibility of more yoga in my future.

I didn’t realize until today just how valuable that stretch was to me and my endurance and the overall effectiveness of my workout. If you have been following my feeble attempt at half marathon training, you know that after about three weeks, life got the better of me and I slacked off. Today, I ran 5 miles. It was amazing. For the first time in forever, my body didn’t ache; my legs were not begging me to stop. It was like someone had broken the rubber band that had previously seized my joints and I was free. Free to run. Now, all my slacking has left my respiratory endurance in bad shape, but I was on fire!

If you are not a yogi, you still need to go make Yin Yoga a regular part of your bi-monthly (at the least) routine. We held each pose for 2 to 3 minutes and, although, there were times when I wanted to die – my body shaking in angst to hold the stretch for more than a few seconds – it was well worth it. I am flexible, getting into the poses was no problem, but holding them for extended periods of time, well that is something else all together. You will literally stretch your body from your neck down through your feet (if you wear high heels all the time like me, the foot stretch is incredible!)

I have taken stretch classes, I have written articles about stretching, I have had stretch sessions from some of the top trainers in this city, I have done foam rolling classes, but nothing has unclenched and literally freed the movement of my joints like Yin Yoga. Phenomenal – there is no other word for it.

The class I took was at Yoga South in Boca Raton, Florida and led my Tammy Heckman, who was an excellent instructor. Being new to the “sport,” I still feel very nervous about my abilities, but Tammy demonstrated and explained each pose, while keeping the class flowing. Offering modifications for the advanced students and rookies, like me. If you live in South Florida, I highly recommend her class – I know I will be going back!

If you don’t live in South Florida, explore yoga studios in your area or at your gym. Everyone –men and women – will benefit from attending yoga classes and particularly Yin Yoga.

I plan on trying Bikram next – I hear that it is good for building strength – I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

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3 comments

  1. NF Hannibal · · Reply

    That bald guy’s position looks rather painful. But I would love to be that flexible, I’ve been researching yoga a bit but still don’t really know how to start – can you tell me some of the psychological/mental benefits of yoga, and where to start?

    1. Yeah, his pose looks pretty intense, I’m definitely not there yet, but one woman in my class last week was! I honestly just started yoga myself – had my fourth class ever last night. I don’t know all the psychological/mental benefits, but what I can tell you is that it has renewed my spirit across all my workouts. I think it has a lot to do with the stretching because I just feel so much better before, during and after my workouts. There are a lot of people who practice yoga for the benefits of the mind. One of the doctors I do ghostwriting for recommends yoga to all her patients for stress reduction. I definitely recommend giving it a try. Before I tried yoga, a story made headlines that discussed the roots of certain types of yoga, if your interested in learning more: http://bit.ly/WhIs1S

  2. NF Hannibal · · Reply

    Good stuff, thanks for the link and info, I will check it out!

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