Yin Yoga at Ping challenges both physical and mental sides

Yoga is a universal exercise that can be practiced by people of all ages. The practices can vary in concentration, whether focusing on strengthening muscles, the mind, or balance with the world. The practice of Yin Yoga is specific to stretching and getting in touch with the personal meditative state and it is the newest addition to the group fitness classes at Ping Recreation Center.

Yin Yoga is a slow-paced form of yoga that focuses on seated or lying postures that are usually held for three to five minutes. These poses are intended to loosen connective tissue around the joints, such as the pelvis, knees, sacrum and spine. It is a calm and cooling practice that is designed to challenge people physically and mentally and since the poses are intense it is suggested that participants bring their own yoga mats, firm pillows, or blankets to enhance their comfort.

Yin Yoga classes are held Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:05 a.m. to 9:05 a.m. Both classes are taught by Kaya Mallick, a junior studying theatrical playwriting. 

“Yin is often mismarketed,” Mallick said. “Yin is the cooling energy, it’s the slower holding of postures for a long time, but it is still active, more active than a deep stretch or a restorative class.”

Mallick has been practicing yoga for three years. She took the history of yoga class at Ohio University and met a scholar of American Yoga named Christa Schwind who taught yoga in her hometown of Denver. The yoga studio in Denver was offering an instructor training course, with Schwind teaching and Mallick decided to take it, fulfilling her 200 hour requirement over the summer. 

She started practicing Yin six months ago so she could find a balance for her Power Vinyasa Yoga class. When Yin Yoga training came to the Denver studio where she trained, she decided to get certified so she could bring that balance here to OU. 

Students who attended the class were excited to try something new and pleased with the outcome of the practice.

Destiny Hunter, a freshman studying education, was excited to attend this yoga class.

“It felt so rewarding,” Hunter said. “It was very relaxing and I loved it.”

Hunter’s friend Claire Milano, a freshman studying journalism, was also excited by this new practice.

“I almost fell asleep I was so relaxed,” Milano said. “I had a lot of built up tension in my body and this class got rid of all of that.”

The poses done in Yin Yoga are deep stretches and very intense. One of the poses requires standing on all fours, bringing a knee to the adjacent hand and bending the leg so the knee faces outward. The next step is to place the chest on top of the bent leg, and stay in this position for three to five minutes. When the time is up, the practicers switch to their other leg and repeats the stretch accordingly.

Once the deep stretches are over, the practice is completed with a five minute meditation laying flat facing upward, feet mat-length apart and focus on breathing and cooling down from the exercise. This way people are able to unwind from the intense stretches. This meditation also provides time to focus on the personal class intention, which is a mantra or what the practicer wants to take away from the class, which is set at the beginning of the practice.

Although Yin is less intense than Power Vinyasa or other physically challenging yoga classes, it’s still a demanding and rejuvenating workout for the body and mind. 

“It can be really challenging obviously,” Mallick said. “But I think it’s a really good workout physically and mentally, and it helps you find that balance and find those poses that are relaxing and rewarding.”

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