Yoga is an excellent way to hone your strength, flexibility, and endurance, but some types work better for specific goals. For example, higher-intensity types like Ashtanga and Bikram yoga are a better fit if your goal is to burn the maximum amount of calories in a single yoga session. While slower types, like Yin yoga, will burn calories, they don’t burn near as many calories as a higher-intensity class.
Here’s what you need to know about Yin yoga and how it fits your fitness goals.
What Is Yin Yoga?
Yin yoga is a slower-paced approach to yoga, unlike Ashtanga or Bikram yoga, where your heart rate skyrockets and the sweat begins to pour. It offers a slower, more contemplative approach to the practice, allowing you to take your time through the movements.
Yin yoga targets deeper tissues throughout the body through long, passive holds. It works into the connective tissues, including your ligaments, joints, bones, and deep fascia networks throughout the body. This is quite the opposite of other types of yoga, which target the muscles throughout the practice.
Much of a Yin yoga class takes place on the floor, targeting the lower half of the body, like the lumbar spine (lower back), adductor area (inner thighs), pelvis, and hips. These areas are packed with connective tissues, hence the focus.
Aside from the deep, passive poses, Yin yoga facilitates energy flow, encouraging the flow of chi in the organs. Some folks may also notice emotional and mental health benefits with a routine Yin yoga practice. So, Yin yoga, like most types of yoga, works throughout your body and mind.
Benefits Of Yin Yoga
Like other yoga varieties, Yin yoga offers a unique set of benefits. The most notable benefits of a regular Yin yoga practice include the following:
- Encourages balance throughout the organs via meridian stimulation
- Aids in stress and anxiety reduction
- Soothes the mind and body
- Improves circulation and flexibility
- Improves joint mobility
- Releases fascia
- Can help improve your mood
- Can aid in improving concentration and focus
How Many Calories Does Yin Yoga Burn?
Since Yin yoga is more passive than other forms of exercise, it doesn’t burn as many calories. On average, a 30-minute Yin yoga session burns anywhere from 100 to 165 calories. While this might seem like a considerable amount of calories, let’s compare it to your calorie burn doing absolutely nothing.
Your basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories your body burns while upholding fundamental life-sustaining activities (breathing, digestion, etc.), is responsible for a substantial portion of your daily calorie burn. For most folks, the calories burned during exercise are only a small portion of their daily calorie burn.
So, now that we know what BMR is, how many calories do you burn doing nothing? On average, people burn between 80 and 150 calories in an hour while resting. You could be sleeping or sitting on the couch watching TV – it doesn’t necessarily matter.
For example, let’s say you burn 115 calories per hour doing nothing. In half an hour, that amounts to approximately 57.5 calories, slightly over half the amount you’d burn in a Yin yoga session.
Our point here is you’re not going to get a major calorie burn through Yin yoga. So, if you’re hoping for a dramatic calorie burn on your watch after your workout, you might want to consider a more intense yoga style, like Ashtanga yoga or hot yoga.
Does Yin Yoga Help You Lose Weight?
Yin yoga might not be the most suitable approach to weight loss, especially if you’re trying to shed more than a couple of pounds. The practice, while beneficial, doesn’t burn a significant amount of calories. On top of that, it targets the connective tissues instead of the muscles, which doesn’t work in favor of your weight loss goals.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use yoga to lose weight – you simply need to choose a different type of yoga. Of course, you can use Yin yoga for weight loss, but it might not be very effective, especially if you’re hoping for dramatic results.
So, we recommend choosing a yoga variety that results in a higher calorie burn, like Ashtanga or hot yoga. We explain calorie burn and how you can incorporate these yoga types here.
You can always incorporate Yin yoga as a recovery-style workout on rest days, as its slower pace works in favor of rest. For example, you could do Bikram, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa yoga throughout the week, with a rest day between each workout. You could add a Yin or restorative yoga class as a recovery workout to stay active on your rest days.
While Yin yoga might not achieve your weight loss goals on its own, it doesn’t mean you have to cut it out of your routine altogether!
Is It OK To Do Yin Yoga Every Day?
As mentioned, Yin yoga is slow-paced, so it isn’t overly taxing on your body. It’s an excellent way to stretch the connective tissues throughout your body, working on them instead of challenging your muscles. Because of its nature, you can safely do Yin yoga every day.
However, while your body can likely handle Yin yoga every day, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. It’s still essential to take rest days, as there might be days when your body feels sore or exhausted.
When you feel overtired or need a break, listening to your body is critical. You can throw in a few Yin yoga sessions throughout the week if your body is comfortable doing so, but be sure to pay attention to your body’s cues.
For example, if you feel pain or discomfort in a particular pose, stop and take a break. You might need to back off entirely for the rest of the session, but in some cases, you might be able to come back to the pose and work slowly back into the movement.
More experienced yogis are unlikely to have any issues with practicing daily, but this isn’t true for beginners. So, when you start practicing regularly, work within your limits and listen to your body.
When Should I Practice Yin Yoga?
Unlike other types of yoga, you should practice Yin yoga when your muscles are cold. By practicing with cold muscles, you maximize the benefits of the session and improve your flexibility. If you warm up your muscles before doing Yin yoga, the flexibility and looseness detract the tension in the stretch from the connective tissues.
So, practice Yin yoga when your muscles are cold. The morning, shortly after waking up, is an excellent time to practice, as your muscles are “cold” from inactivity throughout the night. Alternatively, you could practice in the evening to wind down from the day, but don’t warm up before the session.