Virtually every yoga studio has a list somewhere of the general precautions their students should take before practicing yoga. Sometimes these precautions, or guidelines, are posted on the studio’s Web sites. Many books on yoga have similar cautions. Even though Yin Yoga is considered a gentler practice than its yang brother, these guidelines still apply. Below is a summary of many of the most common precautions. Once again, this is not an exhaustive list. Please take note and adapt your practice accordingly. If you have any questions, please talk to a teacher or your health care professional
- If you are pregnant or have serious health concerns such as joint injury, recent surgery, epilepsy, diabetes, or any cardiovascular diseases (especially high blood pressure), be sure to discuss your intention to practice yoga with your health care professional.
- Don’t wear perfume or cologne when you practice. Deep breathing is part of the practice and you do not want to be deeply inhaling these fumes.
- For Yin Yoga, do not eat anything for at least one to two hours before class. And no big meals at least three hours before class. Give yourself time to digest before your practice. (For a yang practice you would extend the waiting times before practicing.)
- Before you begin it is nice to have a shower. Be fresh. Evacuate bowels and bladder.
- If you are already physically exhausted, keep the practice very brief and gentle.
- Avoid practice if you have had a lot of sun that day. Prolonged sunbathing depletes the body – let it recover before stressing it further.
- Remove wristwatches and anything metallic that makes a complete circle around the body.  If practical, remove glasses too.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing, so that the body is not restricted.
- In Yin Yoga, you will not generate heat internally. Feel free to wear extra layers of clothes and socks: keep the room a little warmer than normal.
- Have cushions, blocks and blankets handy for padding, and to sit up on for most forward bends and meditation.
- Remove obvious distractions: unplug the phone, put out the cat, tell family members that you need some quiet time now.
- Avoid drafts and cold flowing air.
Above all, practice in a relaxed manner. If you have something to do right after your practice, decide up front to finish earlier than necessary, so you don’t feel rushed at the end. Don’t expect to have a “great practice” that kind of expectation can be counter-productive. Expect to do the best you can do and just be present to what arises.
Now on to how to practice Yin Yoga.