The benefits attributed to yoga – increased flexibility and strength, more energy and better posture should be enough to get anyone on the mat, especially now there is a plethora of classes to choose from if you want to work on your core, break a sweat or even learn handstands. But what is on offer for those who just want to relax, or runners and amateur athletes who want the benefits of stretching without exhausting themselves for future training sessions? Yin yoga can complement an already active life or help those who feel distracted by “mind chatter”. Constantly emailing, texting and posting social media updates has led, for some, to mental overload and a feeling that we are not good enough or achieving enough. Yin yoga can provide an antidote to this. The term “yin yoga” comes from the Taoist tradition. Yang relates to movement, often repetitive movement, creating heat in the body. Yin is about finding stillness and cooling the body. And, the theory goes, we need both to come into balance to stay in optimum condition. Running and cycling are yang activities. Even some vigorous forms of yoga, such as ashtanga vinyasa and Bikram yoga (the hot one!) are – arguably – overwhelmingly yang. But if you focus only on the yang, your body can suffer from fatigue and burnout. Yin yoga is practised sitting or lying on the floor. There are no planks, no warriors, no core work. No dynamic sun salutations. No standing poses. The pace is slow, so you need to wear comfortable, warm clothes and maybe keep your socks on. The classes are suitable for beginners and more experienced practitioners alike. Yin yoga is a simple, quiet practice, but – make no mistake – it is not always an easy or comfortable one. One of the leading teachers of yin yoga, Bernie Clark, says: “Yin yoga is not meant to be comfortable; it will take you well outside your comfort zone. Much of the benefit of the practice will come from staying in this zone of discomfort, despite the mind’s urgent pleas to leave.” But if you can stick with it, people who regularly attend yin yoga classes say it stimulates perception and awareness of the quality and joy of the breath, and therefore of life itself.