(picture from indabayoga.com)
This week I tried something new at Meadowlark yoga studio – hot yin. After doing the 5×50 challenge, which consisted of 30 minutes of yoga every day for 50 days, I’ve got quite into the habit of doing yoga and I have already noticed positive changes in my flexibility in even the simplest of stretches, touching my toes! I was out of running for a couple of months with a really annoying hip injury that rest didn’t solve, so it was down to physio appointments, dry needling (bizarre experience), strength exercises and lots of stretching.
Yin yoga aims to target the connective tissues of the body, so the tendons, ligaments and fascia surrounding the muscles. It is possible that one of these pesky things was the cause of my hip injury so my physio recommended hot yin to really get into the niggles. Hot yin flip-turned my normal yoga practice as instead of the almost continual movement I am used to in vinyasa flow or ashtanga classes, which are aimed at strength and flexibility, it required holding the same posture for 4-5 minutes at a time. The postures are often supported by a yoga brick or bolster so you aren’t relying on the strength in your arms/legs/shoulders etc. to hold you in position. This allows stimulation of the connective tissues to help to create space in the joints and is just heavenly! Allowing yourself time to relax into postures with the help of props, in a warm room, with a lovely instructor helping you along is a great way to spend an hour.
I’m sure that if I keep it up it will really help my tight hips, back and hamstrings that have become so used to being like this after years of running with very little stretching (oops). It may also mean less annoying injuries in the future – fingers crossed!