Bad Yogi Andrew Hampson has been practising Yang yoga for 18 years and Yin for a decade. He enlightens us on the life-changing impact of Yin...
So what is Yin?
“Yin yoga is a passive practice done mainly on the floor. It's unique in that you are asked to relax in the posture, soften the muscles and move closer to the bone. Yin offers a very deep access to the body. It's not uncommon for postures to be held for three to five minutes, even 20 minutes at a time. Hence the time spent in these postures is much like time spent in meditation.
“It requires students to get intimate with themselves. With feelings, with sensations, with emotions. Something that can be missed in fast paced practices. People fall in love with yin.”
What made you fall in love with the practice?
“For many years I rowed surfboats in summer and played rugby in winter, and lifted heavy weights to keep bulky and strong. It was only at the end of my career that the imbalances I had picked up over the years became apparent and I started having regular issues with my spine. Massage, chiropractors and snake oil offered no long term fix, and finally in an act of desperation I joined a yoga class. I hated it, I was no good at it, I had zero range of flexibility. I truly sucked, but at the end of the class, my back felt better. So I came back the next day, and the next. Gradually my range of movement increased, my back issue evaporated and over time my practice of yoga evolved into a 'moving meditation'. By that point I was hooked.”
Andrew Hampson, Bad Yogi Retreats
How often should one do yin yoga to reap the benefits?
“As often as you wish. With anything that is good for your soul, be it a beach walk, a relaxing swim, a yoga class or a yin yoga class ... twice a week is better than once, three better than two, etc etc. You get my drift. It comes down to your lifestyle and how much time you can devote to investing in yourself.”