This article was written by Crystal Lawson.
As a certified yoga instructor and advocate of all things well-being, the most common question I get asked during quarantine is, “How the heck do I find balance during a pandemic?!” Not to brag, but I have the answer. And in a few short minutes, you’ll have the secret to unlocking balance too.
When quarantine started, I knew that other aspects of my workout routine were going to have a major shift. It was concerning that gyms were closed and there weren’t any timelines for when they’d reopen. Even outdoor parks were shutting down! There were definitely a few days (okay it was probably more) of uncertainty, and I was worried that my fitness was going to take a big hit.
However, it was during this time that I decided to focus on finding the key to unlocking balance through Vinyasa and Yin. If you’re wondering what Vinyasa and Yin even means, you’re not alone. I get asked the differences a lot, so let me break it down for you.
What is Vinyasa?
Vinyasa is considered to be a “flow” style of yoga because you are using breath to move from asana to asana (pose to pose). It focuses on building muscle, strength, balance, and cardiovascular health. You know those crazy headstand poses filling up the feed of your Instagram Discover section? That’s Vinyasa.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin should be practiced with your body cold or cool and is the perfect compliment to Vinyasa. Rather than moving from pose to pose, Yin is slow and steady. It is sometimes called the acupuncture of Yoga because it enables you to get deeper into your ligaments, joints, and even bones. Yin “shapes” are meant to be held anywhere from a minute and a half all the way up to 20 minutes. For this reason, you may only use a couple of postures during an entire session. Yin is actually going deep into our connective tissues and healing these spaces from the inside out. So if you’re looking for a recovery tool this quarantine, Yin Yoga is a must!
Four Ways to Find Balance through Vinyasa and Yin Yoga
Create Your Happy Place. Guess what? You don’t need to drive to enjoy the benefits of yoga. You can create your own sanctuary! Turn a spare bedroom or a small corner of your home into your own private yoga studio. All you really need is your mat, but the options are endless. If you’re lucky enough to have the extra space, amp up the relaxation vibes by adding candles, greenery, or incense throughout the room.
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. Virtual workouts via Zoom and YouTube are not only accessible, they’re aplenty! You can now practice with teachers from all over the world with the click of your mouse. Just look up Vinyasa Flows or Yin Yoga , and dive in! Most local studios and teachers also offer online classes now as well.
Create a morning routine. Timing is everything. My favorite way to incorporate Yin into my day is to do it first thing in the morning when my body is cold and my muscles won't interfere. Not a morning person? Practicing Yin is also perfect in the evening if you’re strength training or running and feel that more recovery is needed. And since a huge aspect of the practice is opening up the hips and lower body (areas that can hold a lot of stress and anxiety), doing Yin Yoga before bed can be a great way to wind down at the end of a long day. But you want to know the best part? Most of the postures are on the ground, so you can quite literally do Yin in bed.
Make goals along the way. Challenging ourselves and having something we are working toward is very important to our well-being. It gives us a sense of purpose. Whether you want to improve your handstands and headstands or make your backbends deeper and more meaningful, set goals for yourself. Some of these poses can take months and even years to master, so they’ll definitely keep you busy!
These are just a few ideas. The most important thing is you choose the routine, goal, and pace that’s right for you. Yoga is about embracing challenges and going with the “flow.” Tune into your inner self, tune out the world, and find your balance. You got this.