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Yin Yoga class stretches joints, relieves stress

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
After a long week of work, stress can be felt not only in the mind, but in the body as well. The Health and Wellness Center in the gym offers a release from that stress in the form of Yin Yoga Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

There are many styles and forms of yoga. Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, tendons and even the joints of the body that normally aren't exercised very much. It is the counter-part of Yang Yoga which is a more dynamic and muscular style of yoga emphasizing internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of muscles.

"It's different from, say, Vinyasa, where you're flowing and moving, and may feel your body, but you don't really get the chance to tune in to yourself and see where you hold your stress," said Donna Parr, Yoga instructor.

Many of those who come to yoga classes look to increase flexibility, but many find they leave each session with much more than what they were searching for.

"It's just a wonderful time enjoying the relaxation of having solitude and some quiet time to level myself off from work," said Airman 1st Class Danna Osgood, 27th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

"We're really blessed to have the opportunity to take advantage of what this class has to offer while being all the way from home and family. It's my chance to come and de-stress," she continued.

While this style of yoga may seem passive or soft to some, Yin Yoga can be quite challenging due to the long duration of the poses. One can remain in a position anywhere from one to 20 minutes. This opens the opportunity to focus inward.

"It's designed for your mind, body and spirit," Ms. Parr said. "It can be very spiritual, though I try to keep it more focused on your breath, flow and how you feel about the pose. People will get what they want out of it."

Ms. Parr encourages everyone to share in the personal experience, regardless of their flexibility initially. Certain poses can be modified to suit them and their performance in yoga will get better with practice, she said.

"Even if you can't do the warrior pose like everyone else, it's about you and not the person next to you," Ms. Parr said. "In the end you'll be stronger, more flexible and more flowing. If you do it and practice it, yoga can be a beautiful part of your life."