They go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.
Practiced together like shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom.
There are many classic combinations such as; strawberries and cream, chocolate and chilli and pizza and pineapple, that were all dismissed when the suggestion of them coming together first came about, but have since made it big. People have been combining their favourite things forever and will continue to do so (even if it is considered odd like, Marmite and peanut butter – what is that about???).
The fact is I love gin and I also love yin yoga, so why not multitask and combine the two?
Gin and yin yoga is a growing yoga trend amongst a lot of modern yogis that you’ll either love or hate. So what is yin yoga and why should it be best friends with gin?
What is yin yoga?
Yin is a slower practice of yoga and is a fabulous partner for pairing with another task if you choose to. Often whilst practising yin I use the practice to combine with meditation, reiki self-healing, reading a book, listening to music or even watching TV (depending on my mood and time I have available), so why not try combining it with gin for the social aspect?
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Yin and Yang. This is a Chinese philosophy that describes how opposites are connected to bring balance (light and dark, day and night, good and evil, pie and peas etc). Remember yoga is also all about balance (cliché I know) and uses the yin and yang philosophy too.
A Yin yoga practice connects with the left side of your body, the feminine energy, the moon and a slower, cooling energy.
A Yang yoga practice connects with the right side of your body, the masculine energy, the sun and a quicker, heated energy.
Yin yoga is mainly a seated practice (very little if any standing postures). In yin yoga we hold poses for between three to five minutes rather than quickly moving from pose to pose as we do in a yang yoga practice. This means yin yoga focuses on stretching deeper connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons and deep fascia that surrounds the muscles.
Fascia is a type of connective tissue that is like a bandage or a wrapping for the body, that envelopes the muscles to help us maintain posture, a particular repetitive position such as sitting or typing on a keyboard and helps co-ordinate our movements, knows as the “slide and glide effect”.
Fascia can become dehydrated, still and less elastic due to lack of variety of movement in our lives. As this happens fascia fibres start to stick to each other which creates adhesions. This then leads to a decrease in mobility, body pain and body fatigue. Yin yoga is a fabulous way to stretch and is often called the
“yoga of the joints”.
Benefits of yin yoga?
Yin yoga can help with many physical, mental and emotional issues such as;
1 – Increases mobility
2 – Decreases body pain and fatigue
3 – Strengthens connective tissues
4 – Lubricates joints
5 – Increases flexibility
6 – Increases blood flow
7 – Improves lung capacity
8 – Stimulates digestive system and improves kidney and intestine function
9 – Relieves stress and anxiety
10 – Improves sleep
11 – Helps quieten an overactive mind
12 – Helps alleviate anger
As you can see yin yoga is a slow, cooling, calming practice with many, many benefits. So why not combine those benefits with the social and community aspect that gin brings?
What is gin?
Stupid question right? But let’s look at the basic history of gin.
Gin originated from the Netherlands in the 13th century and was known as “Genever”. It was made by distilling malt wine to a strong 50% ABV (alcohol by volume) and was very different to the gin we know and love in the UK today.
The drink wasn’t very palatable and so various herbs and spices were added to improve the taste (including juniper berries).
The British soldiers discovered this drink whilst fighting alongside the Dutch against the Spanish in the 80 Years War of the late 16th and early 17th century.
They got the habit from the Dutch soldiers of drinking Genever before a battle due to its calming properties (Now you can see why gin goes so well with yin yoga?) and this is where the phrase “Dutch courage” came from.
English distillers began to make their own version of the drink and shortened the name to “Gin”. Since arriving in the UK in the early 17th century, it has been a staple drink of the British.
Yogatonic Yorkshire’s top 3 gins.
I love gin and have been drinking gin since my first airplane journey as an adult some 23 years ago. Granted, it was a bog standard gin and tonic with a slice of lemon back then as we didn’t have as much choice as we do now, but I loved the drink as an aperitif as it made me feel relaxed and brought back memories of sunny holidays.
In recent years the gin industry has boomed and now there are so many different types of gin to try with so many different combinations of tonics and garnishes it can be hard to decide what to have and where to start.
Obviously everyone’s palate is different, and I’m not gin expert (I did do the VIP tour of Edinburgh gin distillery for my 40th birthday and do own over 18 bottles of gin with various bottles of tonics and garnishing’s so in my own mind I do think I’m close enough though).
So here we are, my current top 3 favourite gins. I say current as it changes so often depending on the weather, the season, my mood and what new gins I’m trying at the time;
1 – Warner’s (Formally Warner Edward’s) Rhubarb gin
This is my long standing favourite gin and was the first full strength rhubarb gin made in the UK and has since made rhubarb gin a “thing”. The gin’s botanicals include freshly pressed rhubarb juice, juniper, coriander seeds, elderflower, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, angelica root, orange peel, lemon peel plus a secret ingredient.
This gin is by far my favourite rhubarb gin as it still has that tart rhubarb taste and is less sweet than the others I have tried. I love this gin with a premium full fat tonic and a garnish of a slice of grapefruit. Yum!
2 – Jaffa Cake Gin
This one is a recent addition for me. One taste of this brand new gin and it immediately went into my top 3 gins. I love Jaffa cakes, and I love gin – what a combo right there!
It is distilled with oranges, fresh orange peel, cocoa and real Jaffa cakes!!!! It actually tastes of Jaffa cakes and again isn’t as sweet as most of the orange flavoured gins I have tried. I love this gin with a premium full fat tonic and a slice of orange.
3 – Gin Mare
Gin Mare is another long standing favourite of mine and is distilled in a 13th century chapel located in an ancient fishing village between the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada
Its botanicals include; olives from Spain, rosemary from Greece, basil from Italy, thyme from Turkey, orange, and lemon from Seville and coriander, juniper and cardamom.
This gin is so clean and fresh it’s easy to feel as though I’m by the Mediterranean Sea on a summer’s day when drinking it. I love this this gin with Mediterranean tonic and a sprig of rosemary. Bliss!!!!
So in conclusion, I love gin and find it relaxing. I also love yin yoga and find it relaxing. It seems a natural combination to me to combine the two for the physical, mental, social and community benefits.
It’s multitasking at its finest and I intend to do both this Saturday evening.
Keep an eye on the Yogatonic Yorkshire Facebook page for our exclusive Gin & Yin yoga workshops coming soon. These workshops usually involve a 1 hour relaxing yin yoga class followed by gin – a great way to combine relaxing yoga with socialising.