Y'all. I've found the best way to unwind after the weekend and get the week started off right! It's name is yin yoga.
My boyfriend started going to Sunday night yin a few months ago at Modo Yoga Seattle in Greenlake. After a week of sitting at work then cross-training in MMA, lifting, running and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, yin is the perfect way for him to unwind and really stretch out the muscles. For me, yin is the balance I need between running (a new endeavor I'll get more into later), sculpt and cardio cross-training and long hours at my desk.
So what is yin yoga, you ask? Per Modo Yoga:
Yin is both a gentle and challenging yoga practice. All poses are seated or reclined and are held for 3-5 minutes, stretching deep muscle tissue and fascia. The slower nature of this practice is often described as a "moving meditation". A great compliment to your regular practice. Suitable for all levels.
More about yin at MindBodyGreen
Jacob raved about yin and I finally joined him for the first time about a month and a half ago. I've been hooked since, and I've noticed so many changes in my body and my life already.
I sleep so damn hard after a yin yoga class, all the way through the night so that it's almost hard to wake up in the morning. My dreams are vivid, and I remember more of them. My hips, shoulders, knees and other joints have never felt so relaxed.
When I'm sore or stressed during the week, I use the stretches I've learned in yin to help counter and relieve the tension in my muscles. This has been especially helpful for my shoulders, neck and chest since they get the most tense from (probably excessive) computer and smartphone use.
Yin is different from normal yoga in that it's all mat/floor-based on your back or stomach, and much slower so anyone at any level can get what they need out of any given stretch. Yin creates the space to focus on stillness of thought and mind while slowly stretching your physical body out. I am still working towards (a.k.a. struggling with) incorporating a regular meditation in my life, but yin yoga is a guaranteed 75 minutes of it.
If you're looking for a new way to practice yoga or get some restorative fitness in your life, I highly recommend checking out a yin yoga practice at a studio near you (or see you at Modo Yoga Seattle!)