Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with asanas = yoga postures that are held for longer periods of time. Yin yoga is a passive practice which in best occasion can be also very meditative. Blocks (yoga block is a thing that looks like a brick) and bolsters (pillow which shape reminds of a pipe) are used during the yin practice to open and support the body. The time spend in yin yoga poses is usually 2-5 minutes and most of the poses are seated or reclined poses. The aim of the poses is to affect on connective tissues; the tendons, fascia, and ligaments and increase circulation in the joints and improve flexibility. The secret of the meditative aspect of yin yoga lies in the length of the hold in each pose, which helps to relax the physical body but also the mind.
Unlike other types of yoga, Yin yoga’s roots are actually in Chinese medicine and taoism.
At first Yin philosophy was based mainly on Taoist concepts. Later theories from Indian yoga philosophy was brought to Yin yoga philosophy also. And combination of these two form the Yin yoga philosophy today.
In order to understand the taoism principles, you should learn to be observer of the life around you.
First of the taoist principles is oneness which means that we need to learn to understand that all in the universe is connected. The second of the taoist principles is dynamic balance, two opposites working in motion and balancing each other in the effort to form one. This principle introduces you the yin & yang. Two different, opposite, energies which once joined form a complete energy. The third of the taoist principles is to be the observer and in this role of observer we need to understand the cycle of life. Everything in nature has a cycle and a rhythm; day and night, sun and the moon, four seasons. And of course all living beings have the cycle of birth and death.
The fourth of the taoist principles is harmony. This is the natural state of universe, meaning complete balance in everything. To achieve harmony all the previous three principles need to be practiced.
Ok, I admit that I got little carried away in this subject. 😂
Concept of Yin & Yang
Two halves that move together to complete wholeness. Yin can be stated as shady side and yang as a sunny side. Yin & yang is everywhere around us: night (yin), day (yang), female (yin), male (yang), cold (yin) and hot (yang) and so on.
Asanas in Yin yoga are mainly targeting in lower body especially onto hips. We restore a lot of emotions onto our hips. And because of that it is good to knowledge that some emotions might arise. And you can’t always even quite get where they are coming from or what it is, but you might still find yourself crying or laughing in the middle of the practice. In that case, let it all out, let it go, it is nothing to be embarrassed about. If it happens be happy that something starts to unfold for you.
Most of the asanas are very passive but there are also more active form of yin asanas, one might say they actually are yang asanas. In Yin yoga the effort of going into the asana should be 80 %. So we can avoid the practice not to become yang practice. Although it is good to remember that also in yin practice there should be some effort put into asanas.
Longer stay in asana assures also that we are going more deep into the asana once our muscles get tired and relax.
I’d say that yin yoga is very beneficial not only to our bodies but above all to our minds. Physically Yin yoga effects on the deepest tissues of our bodies, so by practicing yin yoga we are able to increase our mobility, decrease pain and open up tensions. With the practice of yin yoga we can increase the energy flow in our bodies.
And then the mental side of the yin yoga which might be even more important nowadays than the physical side. Yin practice activates the parasympathetic nervous system and this helps us to relax. Practice helps us to let go of our thoughts and focus on our breath and what is happening in our bodies right now.
Yin yoga is all about stopping and letting go. Its beauty, subtlety and in a way difficulty you should experience yourself and start the journey into yourself.
Have you already tried Yin yoga?
Relax. You are enough. You do enough.
Breath extra deep, let go, and just live right now
in the moment.