“YIN YOGA!!!!!! I have just performed, quite categorically, the best second position develope I have ever done! This is not hyperbole, it is the truth and I am completely hooked! This will save your hips and make you find space you never knew you had. ” Ruth Mills, Contemporary Dance Artist & Choreographer
Yin Yoga practice is designed to focus on the connective tissue of the hips, pelvis and lower spine. These tissues are considered to be Yin tissues as opposed the the Yang muscles. The postures are generally held three to five (and very occasionally up to twenty) minutes at a time, with most of the postures being practised on the floor.
In “Yinsights” Bernie Clark says “While initially this style of yoga can seem quite boring, passive, or soft, yin practice can be quite challenging due to the long duration of the poses. We can remain in the postures anywhere from one to twenty minutes! Yin and yang tissues respond quite differently to being exercised. You need to experience this to really know what Yin Yoga is all about. After you have experienced it, even just once, you will realize that you have been doing only half of the asana practice.”
For that reason it is great for anyone with a regular dynamic yoga practice and for dancers, athletes and runners.
Yin Yoga as a style has evolved from Taoist Yoga. Hence the term Yin. I studied Yin Yoga with Paul Grilley, who made the style popular and who taught well known Yin Yoga teacher Sarah Powers. Paul Grilley studied with Yin Yoga orginator Master Paulie Zink, who is quite emphatic that Yin Yoga as it is taught is only one small element of a full Taoist Yoga practice which encompasses Yin and Yang practices.
A balanced Yoga practice will endeed embody elements of both. The reason we teach Yin Yoga and the reason it has become so popular is that many popular styles of Hatha Yoga are practiced in a dynamic (Yang) fashion by western practitioners. Yin Yoga is the perfect complement to a Yang practice or lifestyle. You wouldn’t want to only ever do a Yin Yoga practice but it is the perfect balancing practice for those who do a lot of running around in their lives.
If you want to read more about Yin Yoga then we highly recommend the Yin Yoga website www.yinyoga.com edited by Bernie Clark, author of Yinsights.
An excellent introduction to Yin Yoga is Paul Grilley’s article for Yoga Journal