Yin yoga is loved by Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa and Rihanna - how it boosts calm and strength from home

And... breathe.

Woman practicing yin yoga in class
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Consensus is, we’re collectively cream-crackered. Turns out that navigating an endlessly scary news cycle while attempting to stay informed ahead of July’s election and juggling jobs, families and general daily responsibilities is pretty mentally draining. If you’re looking for a way to relieve stress right now, might we suggest giving yin yoga a go?

By no means an antidote for anxiety or anguish at the current state of the world, a once-weekly flow obviously won’t rid you of life’s worries. But, there’s plenty of research to back up many benefits of yoga and yin yoga having a positive impact on health, in particular. Take this study, which suggests that it may help to decrease biomarkers linked with premature mortality. It's also been associated with reduced sleep problems, stress, depression and anxiety in highly stressed adults. All that to say: it’s a good addition to your toolkit for managing your mental wellbeing year-round.

Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham and Hailey Bieber are all known to be yoga fans, but unlike vinyasa, for example, which is characterised by its smooth transitions between postures, yin is a type of yoga that involves more stillness and typically less intensity.

Intrigued? We asked Clare Walters, Mind & Body Master Trainer at Third Space London, and Jenny Haynes, Yoga Teacher at Third Space London, for the low-down on yin yoga. Keep reading for an expert explainer - and don't miss our guides to yoga for flexibility, yoga for energy, and yoga for beginners, while you're at it. 

Celebrities love yoga for boosting calm and building muscle - your guide

What is yin yoga?

“Yin yoga is a slower, more introspective form of yoga that has roots in both Indian yoga and traditional Chinese medicine,” Walters explains. 

It involves holding passive postures, which are usually floor-based, for durations of around three to five minutes while supported with props such as bolsters, blankets and bricks. 

“It shouldn’t be an intense practice – we don’t look to move into our full range of motion, and we’re not looking to push or pull ourselves into the postures,” Walters says. “Instead, we relax and let gravity do the work for us only moving to about a five out of ten intensity-wise.”

According to Haynes, the majority of the postures are focused around release. "It's about getting into the fascia, joints and deep tissue, rather than building muscular strength or dynamic movement," she says.


♬ original sound - Dlipalon

What are the benefits of yin yoga?

The long posture holds which are characteristic of Yin yoga help to target the connective tissue of the body – namely the fascia, according to Walters, which she describes as a spider web of stringy collagen fibres that runs throughout the whole body. Fascia surrounds and provides support to every organ, muscle, tendon, tissue, nerve, bone and joint. Health fascia helps your body move with ease, while fascia that’s tight can restrict movement and result in pain. 

“There are many layers of fascia in the body but in yin we’re predominantly targeting the Myofascia, which runs through and around the muscles,” she says, explaining that often when we experience feelings of tightness within the body what we’re feeling isn’t the muscle fibres themselves, but rather the fascia that surrounds them. “The way we find release in the fascia is different to how we would stretch the muscles in that it needs a gentler, more sustained approach,” Walters explains. “The long holds of gentle stretches in the yin practice are perfect for helping to find release in the fascia which allows us to feel ease within the body and increase our range of motion.”

We’ve already touched upon the potential of yin yoga to support mental wellbeing too; Walters says this is because it helps to down regulate your nervous system, tapping into the relaxation response. “This allows us to regulate our breath, bringing rest into both the mind and the body, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure, and inhibiting the release of adrenaline – essentially allowing us to rest and digest,” she says. “With the practice being slow and still, it’s very meditative and can be a time for introspection and sorting through your thoughts.”

As I learned after attending weekly yin yoga classes for a period of time last year, it can have a powerfully positive impact on your mental state in the moment. 10/10 would recommend. 

Who could benefit from yin yoga the most?

Generally speaking, most people stand to benefit from introducing yin yoga into their routines. “However, it’s especially good for people who find themselves quite tight, whether that’s from everyday life or training,” says Walters. “It’s also great for people who love to lift weights as it can really help to improve range of motion which makes lifting more efficient.”

That said, she recommends attending a class, before doing a flow from home, if you’re new to yin, to receive feedback and adjustments from a professional where necessary. It’s also worth considering an in-person class or 1-1 session if you’re pregnant. “During pregnancy, the body releases the hormone relaxin which causes the connective tissues to become more lax, meaning you’re likely to have more range of motion than normal – so you don’t want to be moving too deep into postures,” Walters says. “There are pregnancy specific modifications needed for some of the postures too.”

Similarly, you may want to seek the support of a yoga teacher if you’re hypermobile, and therefore also have a larger range of motion. 


Yin yoga has my heart 🤍

♬ original sound - hannah_harpist

5 yin flows to try today, recommended by a yoga instructor

1. Healing Yin Yoga for Lower Back Relief

What? A yin flow specifically for releasing the lower back.

Why? "Travis's sequence here is beautifully clear, easy to follow, and has moments of clear guidance, knowledge, and silence for you to really drop in," says Haynes. It's an ideal sequence for releasing the back when you're short on time, she adds.

How long? 30 minutes

Healing Yin Yoga for Lower Back Relief | 30-Min Deep Release - YouTube Healing Yin Yoga for Lower Back Relief | 30-Min Deep Release - YouTube
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2. Yin yoga melt and stretch

What? A lower-body routine for your hips, hamstrings, thighs and psoas.

Why? "Kassandra's lower body yin session gives you a full juicy hour to practice here, which is great for Yin," says Haynes. She recommends it for releasing tension in the hamstrings, hips & thighs. 

How long? 1 hour

1 hour Yin Yoga MELT & STRETCH - Hips, Thighs, Hamstrings - YouTube 1 hour Yin Yoga MELT & STRETCH - Hips, Thighs, Hamstrings - YouTube
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3. Throat chakra yin yoga

What? A 30-minute practice focused on the throat chakra.

Why? "I like this practice as it's creative, and targets the upper part of the body – an area sometimes less focused on in Yin," says Haynes.

How long? 30 minutes

Throat Chakra Yin Yoga | 30 Minutes - YouTube Throat Chakra Yin Yoga | 30 Minutes - YouTube
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4. Yin yoga for anxiety

What? A practice for soothing anxiety.

Why? "This is a beautifully guided Yin Yoga session from Devi, focused around calming anxiety," Haynes says. "The simple – but effective – guided meditations, the sound of the waves, and the setting of the beach all make for a steady, soothing practice."

How long? 45 minutes

Yin Yoga To Calm Anxiety {45 Min} | Devi Daly Yoga - YouTube Yin Yoga To Calm Anxiety {45 Min} | Devi Daly Yoga - YouTube
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5. Full body yin yoga practice

What? A flow for the whole body.

Why? "For those who prefer to choose their own music, or work with a silent practice, this 50-minute session from Breathe and Flow is great," says Haynes, adding that it's clear, concise, and targets the whole body. 

How long? 50 minutes

50 Minute Full Body Yin Yoga Practice | Breathe and Flow Yoga - YouTube 50 Minute Full Body Yin Yoga Practice | Breathe and Flow Yoga - YouTube
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Abbi Henderson
Health Writer

Abbi Henderson is a freelance journalist and social media editor who covers health, fitness, women’s sport and lifestyle for titles including Women's Health and Stylist, among others. 

With a desire to help make healthcare, exercise and sport more accessible to women, she writes about everything from the realities of seeking medical support as a woman to those of being a female athlete fighting for equality. 

When she’s not working, she’s drinking tea, going on seaside walks, lifting weights, watching football, and probably cooking something pasta-based.