Should I workout on my rest days? Workout no. Should you remain active? One hundred percent. Your body needs rest, but that doesn’t mean bed rest. On your off days, you can take long walks or try a gentle yoga flow, and not interrupt recovery.
We also want to point out that as important as your physical health and fitness is, your mental health is just as important. Being in the right headspace is crucial to seeing through new lifestyle changes. Think of your active rest days as a way to find mental clarity through movement. We love Yin yoga as a way to stay active, get a good stretch, and reinforce your intentions.
Restorative or Yin yoga
In Yin yoga, positions are held for longer periods of time. By holding the asanas for a longer duration you release tense muscles. Most of us know Yin as the calm to Yang’s moving energy. But for Yin yoga we are particular to Yoga Journals description: “[Yin is] stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things.” Find your anchor with this practice, what holds you down when the waves get choppy? Embrace and ground yourself in the stability of a Yin yoga practice.
Stretch And Strengthen Your Connective Tissues To Prevent Injury
Yin yoga has another powerful purpose...to stretch your connective tissues. We work our muscles with repetitive motions like a tricep dip, but to strengthen our connective tissues Yin yoga gets the job done exceedingly well. Slow and steady is the safest way to add stress to connective tissues. Paul Grilley tells Yoga Journal this;
If you gently stretch connective tissue by holding a yin pose for a long time, the body will respond by making them a little longer and stronger—which is exactly what you want.”
Grilley says the idea of stretching out your joints could make you shudder. After all, a stretched-out ligament can cause a world of pain. You want to keep this in mind during your practice nothing should hurt. Slow and steady wins this race.
Step It Up A Notch With Body Scanning
Using deep breathing throughout a restorative yoga or Yin yoga practice also encourages a soothing mind-body connection. But if you’d like to take your practice deeper try body scanning.
Body scanning is a meditation practice that involves walking your “mental eye” through the entirety of your body. VeryWellMind.com describes it as, “paying attention to parts of the body and bodily sensations in a gradual sequence from feet to head.” Whenever I practice body scanning I sync up my breath with my scan and that really tunes me in.
Be Ready And Conquer The next Workout!
Why are you working out? What does health look and feel like for you?
Start with these questions as you prepare yourself for your Yin yoga flow. The success of every workout is dependent on your headspace when you step into the gym or onto the mat. Use your off-days as a chance to reset your mind so you can go into the next day (and workout) and absolutely crush it.