Yin yoga is a therapeutic form of yoga that focuses on the connective tissues in the body. It can be used as a postpartum fitness tool because it helps mend and restore these tissues that are often weakened during pregnancy.
In this post, we are going to be answering the question, ‘does yin yoga tone your body’ in-depth and help you decide whether or not Yin Yoga is for you!
The short answer is, yes, Yin Yoga does help to tone your body as Yin Yoga poses are held for longer periods of time. This also provides relief from pain and stiffness in joints.
The focus is to relax muscles, which will help with sleep quality after giving birth. With more restful sleep comes increased energy levels and overall well-being.
All this plus you’ll feel great about yourself while improving your self-esteem!
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is an approach to yoga that targets the connective tissue or fascia. During pregnancy and after giving birth, these tissues typically weaken due to hormonal changes in a woman’s body. This causes the hips, pelvis, back, and other joints to be less stable than they once were.
Yin Yoga originates from a more traditional Chinese medicine perspective, which believes that joints hold our energy, and we lose these energies as we age. If you think of it in this way, our joints are like a battery for our bio-energy. With continuous practice of yoga poses – especially Yin Yoga postures – the connective tissues (the needle and thread) will begin to tighten and restore the bio-energy flow.
As you can imagine, this is not only good for your physical health but also your mental well-being as it helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, thus helping you feel calmer and more relaxed. The practice of Yin Yoga postures focuses on slower movements, breathing techniques, meditation, and mindfulness.
Yin Yoga is an excellent choice for postpartum fitness because it allows you to go at your own pace. The poses are slow and gentle, targeting the connective tissues, which will be strengthened over time with practice. Poses such as Butterfly (yin) pose, Saddle pose, and Shoelace pose are all great places for new moms to start their journey into yin yoga.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Yin Yoga?
The main health benefit of Yin Yoga is that it can influence the internal system of our body, such as hormonal activity and organ function.
Because we use Yin Yoga postures that focus on connective tissue, the hormone regulation aspect becomes a home run in this practice. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it’s believed that there are 12 meridians in the body which are the paths for our energies to run through. The hip is a point of control for these meridians, and when we use Yin Yoga postures that target this area (such as Butterfly pose), it helps regulate hormones and increase blood flow.
Yin Yoga loosens up your tight muscles, which in turn allows your internal system to function more smoothly. The result is a more regulated body and improved organ function leading to better overall health.
How Does Postpartum Fit Into All Of This?
Because Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, it’s an excellent practice to engage in during and post-pregnancy. During pregnancy, there are so many changes that occur within your body – the main one being size!
Yin Yoga is perfect for helping the body regain its original shape by targeting those tissue weakened during pregnancy. Because you will be holding these postures for longer periods of time, your joints and muscles will receive maximum relaxation, which in turn helps with sleep quality and energy levels throughout the day.
What Does It Mean To Tone Your Body?
To ‘tone’ your body means to make muscles firmer and stronger, giving them a nice sculpted look. This can be done with cardio work such as running or walking and resistance training such as weights or calisthenics.
A more ‘toned’ body is commonly thought to be a healthy one. However, this is not always the case as many people rely on cardio work such as running to obtain their level of fitness – which isn’t that balanced! It’s much better for your health and overall well-being if you engage in a variety of cardio and resistance exercises. This helps to keep everything in balance, preventing anyone system from dominating over the others.
Does Yin Yoga Tone Your Body?
The short answer is YES! Yin Yoga helps to tone your body and is a good choice for post-pregnancy fitness because it encourages relaxation and healing while strengthening the body’s natural systems. However, just like any other physical activity, Yin Yoga should not take the place of your usual cardio work (running, walking, swimming, etc.). This will not be considered an effective form of exercise for health and well-being if you engage in only one form of physical activity to tone your body.
Yin Yoga can be a great choice for postpartum fitness because it targets those weak and stretched-out muscles, but it should be done alongside other forms of exercise like cardio or resistance training.
Yin Yoga And Flexibility
People often think that the main health benefit of yoga is flexibility. While this can be a nice bonus, it’s not the main reason why we practice yoga. The health benefits from yoga come from engaging in physical activity, which works to strengthen our mind-body connection and systems working together as a whole unit. Flexibility just happens to be one of the side effects that we enjoy from practicing yoga.
Yoga has been proven to work because it encourages us to slow down and focus on our breathing, which calms our mind and allows us to engage with our body in a different way than where we are usually focused on daily tasks like running errands or cleaning the house.
We become more flexible through yoga because we are slowing down our movements and working with ourselves instead of against ourselves, as in many other physical activities. We can’t be resistant to the pose if we’re sitting still, so there is an automatic release that is gained through the mind-body connection (which is what yoga aims to create). Does that mean you will never become stiff or inflexible again once you start practicing yoga? No, not at all! Does it make you more flexible in comparison to someone who doesn’t practice yoga? Absolutely.
Yin Yoga differs from other forms of yoga because instead of doing poses that are isometric (where the muscles are contracted), they are done by holding still and relaxing into the pose until you feel like you can release and come out of it. Because these poses are so passive, they target connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and fascia.
Does Yin Yoga Count Towards Strength Training?
No. Yin Yoga is not considered strength training. Strength training targets muscular systems by using resistance to contract them and create strength in the muscle fibers.
Strength training is important because it stimulates our muscles to get that extra boost, which then releases endorphins and other chemicals that encourage cellular growth. This leads to developing more lean muscle mass through the increase of metabolism.
If you wish to do the above, it is recommended that you incorporate strength training at least twice per week by doing 20 reps of whatever you want to do, about three sets (with rest in between). For cardio, it is recommended that you engage in jogging, swimming, or bicycling for 30 minutes at least four times per week.
Yin Yoga And The Mind
Yin Yoga is also a great mindful exercise and encourages you to slow down in order to seek a state of relaxation (something that many modern-day individuals crave).
The relation element of Yin Yoga is why I recommend it for postpartum fitness because it encourages us to relax and sit still as we heal. Doing this after birth can be difficult because many new mothers are so busy taking care of their newborns that they forget about themselves, which isn’t good for anyone involved.
Postpartum women should take time out of the day to relax. If they do not, this can lead to many negative effects such as postpartum depression and decreased milk supply.
How To Practice Yin Yoga
To do Yin Yoga effectively, follow the steps below:
– Find a place that is quiet for you to lay down (without distractions). The floor works well because it won’t be as uncomfortable as the couch or bed.
– Lay down on your back, place a pillow under your head and take a few deep breaths to relax yourself.
– Once you are relaxed, close your eyes and begin to focus only on your breath coming in through your nose and exiting through your mouth. Try to relax every muscle that you can find.
– Start with the lower part of your body. Try to relax each toe, then move up to your feet, ankles, and calves without moving anything else.
– Once you feel that your lower half is relaxed, try to do the same for the rest of your body is a visual attempt to go through every muscle group (don’t forget about the jaw).
– When you think that you have relaxed every muscle in your body, take a few more deep breaths and imagine that there is an invisible string running through the center of your body from head to toe. This string keeps all of your muscles together and attached. Inhale deeply as you follow this string from the top of your head down to the tips of your toes and then exhale as you imagine it running in the opposite direction. Do this a few times, focusing on being completely relaxed and aware.
– Stay relaxed for about 10 more minutes or until you feel that you can come back into reality again without feeling anxious. During that time, try to continue to practice mindfulness by being aware of how calm you are.