One of the many benefits of a regular yoga practice of any type is the way it can affect your life off the mat. The benefit I first noticed was the physical state of relaxation after a class. This relaxed state of being helped to reduce feelings of anxiety and helped me to sleep better at night. These benefits kept me coming back to my yoga mat day after day.
Something unique to Yin Yoga is the way poses are held for several minutes at a time. Through this holding, I learned how to feel okay in my body while experiencing sensations that are uncomfortable This translates into everyday life as the ability to handle uncomfortable life situations. Maybe it's a confrontation with someone or dealing with the ramifications of a family member's disease or making a life transition. All of these situations can bring on feelings of discomfort but because of a Yin practice, I can be okay being uncomfortable today.
Something unique about the Yin classes I teach is the incorporation of mindfulness meditation techniques. I found that by learning to use these techniques in all the various poses, I could translate these techniques into all my daily experiences. No matter what I'm doing, I can always stop and focus on my breath and the way that it feels in my body and take a break from the chatter in my mind. By relaxing my mind, I can relax my body by triggering the physical relaxation response.
A third benefit of a Yin practice is the ability to take the attention inward and let go of the outer world. Through this practice, I can connect with what's going on below the surface. I can take time to notice the emotions I'm holding in my body. By doing this on a regular basis, I've learned to be more attune to my feelings and emotions. I believe this type of practice has helped me be less emotionally reactive through giving me the ability to pause and breathe.
To reap more of the benefits of this type of practice, I encourage you to try to practice a little every day. Even doing just one pose can be beneficial. Do whatever pose is your favorite or try Butterfly pose (below). It's a great one to stimulate all the meridians.