What is Yin Yoga? Introducing The Practice.

Want to know what yin yoga is but prefer listening? Here is a short video explaination if you’d prefer that over this blog.

A Brief History of Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga originates in the 70s in North America, thanks to martial artist and yoga teacher Paulie Zink. This was not the Yin Yoga we know today. Paulie integrated Hatha Yoga with Taoist theories (including Chinese Medicine), he called it Taoist Yoga and it still included more dynamic (yang) postures.

In the 80s Paul Grilley – American yoga teacher and anatomist – studied with Zink. In 1989, Grilley met Hiroshi Motoyama, who had extensively researched Traditional Chinese Medicine. Paul Grilley fused the long-held postures that he learned from Zink with the theory of Meridians from TCM. In addition, he included a strong base of anatomical understanding of the human body.

However, it was only called Yin Yoga thanks to Sarah Powers, a student of Paul Grilley that also incorporated Buddhist psychology.

The Principles

Generally, things that are more active are considered yang and things that are more passive are considered yin. In the body, the muscles are considered yang, wether the connective tissues, joints and bones are considered yin – as they are stiffer. However, this is an oversemplification, as yin and yang are not black and white. For example, something that is generally considered yin can be yang compared to something else. Yin Yoga targets the deeper tissues of the body as well as the Meridians.

There are 3 main principles:

  1. Finding an edge: getting into the pose find an appropriate amount of sensations, around a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
  2. Stillness: once you get into the pose try to remain still (unless you feel pain or you need to go deeper).
  3. Hold for some time: at least 1-3 minutes but you will find in most practices it is around 5 minutes.

Would you like to read more?

Here are a few suggested readings:

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