History of Yin Yoga
According to Wikipedia…
4 Tenets of Yin Yoga
According to Yoga Journal…
1. Find an Appropriate Edge
As you enter a pose, move slowly and gently into the suggested shape—without a picture of how far you should go. As Sarah Powers says, “There’s no aesthetic ideal; there’s no end result we’re looking for.” Pause and listen to the body. Wait for feedback before moving deeper into the posture. Many people, especially dancers and athletes, have lost much of their sensitivity to the signals of the body and are used to overriding those messages. Look for an appropriate amount of intensity, a balance between sensation and space. “It’s a good opportunity to create a renewed kind of innocence, a listening to the intelligence of the body that gives you feedback about when it’s been triggered to feel outside its comfort zone,” Powers says. Relax into the body; discover and explore each subtle layer along the way to your deep resting place.
2. Be Still
Resolve not to fidget. Don’t try to fix or change the pose, to intensify it, or to escape the sensations. Consciously try to release (or even just imagine releasing) into the shape. Doing that helps you relax the muscles around the connective tissues you are most attempting to influence. In addition, moving can cause unsafe stress on the connective tissue, causing injury: To be safe, hold statically at the edge of your range of motion and engage muscles around sensitive areas or use props when needed.
3. Hold for a While
Powers recommends hold times anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes for beginners and up to 5 minutes or more for advanced practitioners. Use a timer so you can relax without watching the clock. Substantial holds train the mind to respond skillfully to difficult circumstances. They teach you that you don’t need comfort to feel at ease. Instead of contracting around feelings and sensations, invite space and breathe steadily.
4. Release with Care
In Yin practice you put your body into long holds with joints in vulnerable positions—positions that might be dangerous if you move into or out of them quickly or aggressively. As you come out of the poses (for example, Dragonfly), use your hands to support your legs and to lightly contract the muscles that oppose the openings you’ve been working. It can help to do a very brief, actively practiced counterpose: After doing Saddle (the Yin version of Supta Virasana), for example, sit with your legs out straight and engage your quads.
You are challenging very deep tissues that the body usually protects from lengthening—because if they’re stretched suddenly, they’re easily damaged. You may experience discomfort, shakiness, and instability when you come out. Don’t worry; these sensations will change.
Yin Yoga Poses
There is not a great need for a lot of postures in the Yin Yoga practice. Paul states in his book, “The more yin your practice the less variety is needed and the emphasis is placed on a few basic postures.” This list two dozen Yin Yoga asanas.
“The Hatha Yoga Pradipika lists only sixteen postures. Of these, half are seated positions. Those postures are meant to be held for a long period of time. They are yin postures. In Paul Grilley’s book Yin Yoga, he lists eighteen yin poses, along with five yang poses to be used in between the yin poses. If you are planning to hold each pose for five minutes, and if you allow a one-minute rest between postures, a five-minute meditation at the beginning of the practice, and a five-minute Shavasana at the end, in a ninety-minute class you will have time for only thirteen poses. There will be even fewer if you are doing two sides or other variations in each posture.” [via yinyoga.com]
In Yin yoga, poses are held for an average of five minutes—much longer than poses are generally held in other schools of yoga—with the objective of improving flexibility and restoring a fuller range of motion.
Common Yin Yoga poses:
- Anahatasana (Melting Heart)
- Ankle Stretch
- Half butterfly
- Cat pulling its Tail
- Child’s Pose
- Happy Baby
- Reclining Twists
- Saddle (Dragonfly)
- Sphinx and Seal
- Swan and Sleeping Swan
- Toe Squat
Yin Yoga Online Classes
Give these classes a try to experience what happens in a real Yin Yoga class.
Intro to Yin
Teacher: Yoga with Adrien / Length: 26 Minutes / Level: All Level
Intro to Yin Yoga! An at home beginners Yin Yoga practice led by Adriene. In this session we use things that you might have around the house to support, find comfort and restore. This practice is good for anybody who is constantly on the go. Grab a blanket and a pillow and set aside 30 min for yourself. Listen to the sound of your breath and enjoy! [via YouTube]
Yin Yoga: Deep Stretches for Flexibility, Meditation, and a Peaceful Mind
Teacher: Yogi Nora / Length: 34 Minutes / Level: All Levels
Yogi Nora’s peaceful deep stretch class will get you to a deeper place. Long holds of deep stretches bring about a humbling and meditative experience. This class is for everybody; super stiff to super flexible! Be kind to your body and mind; enjoy! [via YouTube]
Yin Yoga for the Spine
Teacher: Ekhart Yoga / Length: 57 Minutes / Level: All Levels
This free online yoga class is a perfect and sometimes necessary complement to the dynamic and muscular (yang) styles of yoga that emphasize internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of our muscles. Yin Yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine. This yoga class loosens out any tension in the spine and will relax the mind as well.
Yin Yoga (Full Class)
Teacher: Travis Eliot / Length: 67 Minutes / Level: Intermediate
Travis Eliot, creator of The Ultimate Yogi, guides you through a seamless practice of floor stretches that last 3-5 minutes each.