History of Yin Yoga

 

According to Wikipedia

Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with poses, or asanas, that are held for longer periods of time—five minutes or more per pose is typical. Its teaching in the Western world, beginning in the late 70s, was founded by martial arts expert and Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zink. Yin-style yoga is now being taught across North America and in Europe, due in large part to the teaching activities of Yin yoga teachers and developers Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers.
Paulie Zink
Yin yoga poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body—the tendons, fascia, and ligaments—with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. A more meditative approach to yoga, yin aims at cultivating awareness of inner silence, and bringing to light a universal, interconnecting quality.
 
Yin yoga as taught by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers is not intended as a complete practice in itself, but rather as a complement to more active forms of yoga and exercise. However, Paulie Zink’s approach includes the full range of Taoist yoga, both yin and yang, and is intended to be a complete practice in itself.

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

yin-graphic-for-course

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.[35]

Common Yin Yoga poses:

  1. Anahatasana (Melting Heart)
  2. Ankle Stretch
  3. Bananasana
  4. Butterfly
  5. Caterpillar
  6. Half butterfly
  7. Camel
  8. Cat pulling its Tail
  9. Child’s Pose
  10. Dangling
  11. Deer
  12. Dragons
  13. Frog
  14. Happy Baby
  15. Reclining Twists
  16. Saddle (Dragonfly)
  17. Shavasana
  18. Shoelace
  19. Snail
  20. Sphinx and Seal
  21. Square
  22. Squat
  23. Swan and Sleeping Swan
  24. Toe Squat
Catepillar Pose

caterpillar pose

Happy Baby

happy baby pose

Saddle Pose

saddle pose

Shoelace Pose

shoelace pose

Sphinx Pose

sphinx pose

Square Pose

square pose

Swan Pose

swan pose

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.

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