Yin yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature. Yin is the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things; yang is the changing, moving, revealing aspect. In the body, the relatively stiff connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, fascia) are yin, while the more mobile and pliable muscles and blood are yang.
A Yin yoga class usually consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body – the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues. The poses are held for up to five minutes, sometimes longer.
Yin yoga and the body
Yin yoga works on the yin tissues – also known as the connective tissues. Connective tissue responds best to a slow, steady load which is why we hold the poses for longer. If you gently stretch connective tissue by holding a yin pose for a long time in this way, the body will respond by making it a little longer and stronger – which is exactly what you want. Remember, the principle of exercise is to stress the tissue so the body will respond by strengthening it.
Different Yin yoga poses stimulate and remove blockages in the myofascial meridians in the body. This has the effect of balancing the body’s internal organs and systems.
Different Yin yoga poses stimulate and remove blockages in the myofascial meridians in the body. This has the effect of balancing the body’s internal organs and systems. Yin yoga requires the muscles to relax around the connective tissue in order to get a stretch, so not all yoga poses can be done safely or effectively when practicing Yin style. Thus Yin asanas have different names when practiced in a Yin style.
Yin yoga and the mind
Becoming still in a pose and staying for a while creates those gaps. Keeping the gaps empty creates the space for anything that wants to come up. Anxiety, happiness sadness, boredom, for example. Anything you suppress with all the on-the-go busyness in your life. Yin yoga gives you the time and space to allow those feelings to be there. Emotions, thoughts, feelings you have kept in the shadows.
Generally speaking, during a Yin yoga class you will be encouraged and guided to allow all those feelings to be there, but not identify with them. I will guide you to become the observer of everything that arises in that space. All those stored away emotions, feelings and sensations now have a chance to come out. You have no idea how much energy it costs the body to keep all that suppressed. So the release you get and you from letting it all come out can also be just as big.
The class is in a beautiful environment. You are encouraged to work with your body and mind in a way that works and supports you. You are nurtured and helped every step of the way and I am also available to talk to you in confidence it that is what you need.
“You learn to observe only the pure physical sensations of emotions, without getting caught up in the stories about those emotions.”