02 Jun Yin Yoga: Practice and Benefits
When we hear the word “yoga”, most of us will think about the active form of exercise that originated in India. We will think of postures and practices that involve dynamic poses arranged in specific sequences for a particular result. This is undoubtedly the most popular way of practicing yoga across the world. But the truth is, this style is only one aspect of yoga. It is what one can call the yang yoga. There is, however, another side of yoga that is less well-known in the world and this is yin yoga. Both are meant to provide certain physical, mental, and spiritual benefits to the yogis. However, there are some fundamental differences in the way one performs the two types of yoga. We will discuss these differences later. First, we must talk a little about the origin of yin yoga to be able to fully appreciate these differences.
The creator of yin yoga is the renowned martial arts teacher Paulie Zink. When he was teaching his students, he noticed that many of them were quite strong and were adept in the techniques of martial arts. Yet, they were not truly flexible. Their muscles were tough but stiff and they had little mobility. So, Zink came up with a form of yoga that could help them loosen up their joints and muscles. He combined the principles of Taoist Yoga or Tao Yin with the asanas of Hatha yoga. Later, Paul Grilley learned this form of yoga from Zink and combined it with the teachings of other forms of yoga and the principles of Chinese medicine, especially the flow of qi to create the modern form of Yin yoga. One of his students, Sarah Powers, started teaching this form of yoga professionally and thus, propagated it all over the world.
Principles and Practice of Yin Yoga
Since Yin Yoga is based on Taoist Yoga, its principles are based on the flow of qi through the body. You can compare qi to the prana that you learn about in most forms of yoga. The meridians through which qi flows are comparable to the nadis in traditional yoga. Whereas the acupressure points are the same as the chakras. Paul Grilley was the first to make this connection since he had studied anatomy. The Yin Yoga postures help move the qi through the meridians to activate the pressure points in the right manner for the desired benefits.
One must also hold the Yin Yoga postures for a much longer duration than the one in Yang yoga. The time for holding one Yang yoga posture is a few seconds to a couple of minutes. But the time for holding this Yoga pose is at least two minutes. Pros can even hold poses for up to twenty minutes. It depends entirely on your level of experience, the flexibility of your body, and your comfort. The principle for this lies in the explanations of yin and yang itself. Yang is the dynamic, fluid, hot, and masculine energy in the body. Yin is the exact opposite, being still, stable, cool, and feminine. The former moves upward while the latter moves down. Yin yoga is obviously concerned with the yin energy in contrast to yang yoga.
Anatomically, yin yoga helps to stretch the less mobile parts of the body, like the tendons, ligaments, fascia, and viscera. Yang yoga moved the more mobile connective tissues of the body like muscles and joints. Yang yoga thus helps to enhance muscle strength, resilience, and fluidity of movement. Conversely, Yin Yoga helps to increase the flexibility of the body, core body strength, and the capacity of the body to tolerate stress. The postures in Yin Yoga are based on those of Hatha yoga. But they have different names to differentiate between the different styles. A typical Yin Yoga teacher training consists of various fillers while holding a pose like spiritual lectures, yoga theoretical lessons, origin stories, or even chants, songs, or poetry. Most of the poses are floor poses which help the most immobile parts in the cory body to stretch and move.
Benefits of Yin Yoga
We have already talked about the effect of this Yoga has on a person’s body in terms of flexibility and strength. Now, we will be elaborating on this and adding more subtle or long-term benefits to the list.
- Flexibility is the first and foremost benefit of Yin Yoga. This Yoga enhances the elasticity of even the deepest parts of the body like the fascia. This helps to improve the overall flexibility of the body.
- Resilience is another important effect of Yin Yoga. Long periods of yang yoga can cause movement injuries, pains, and aches to the body. This Yoga has a reparative effect on the body. It not only heals one of these issues but also helps to build the body up to prevent any such problems in the future.
- It helps to loosen up the stiff body parts and improves joint mobility. This too has benefits for when you do other activities. It will allow your body to stretch further and prevent injuries.
- Yin yoga enhances the circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body, which has further benefits of their own.
- It helps reduce stress. This yoga is a meditative form of yoga. Holding the boy in the same pose for a long time also stills the mind, calms the soul, and alleviates anxiety.
- It gets the qi moving, which unlocks the hidden potential of our body and breaks down the constraints of the mind and soul.
- If one performs yin yoga alongside conventional or yang yoga, it helps one find balance in their body, mind, and soul, just like yin and yang.
- It will lift your mood in the short run and help you find inner peace in the long run.
The best way to practice Yin Yoga is to do it along with your practice of yang yoga. This will have a holistic effect on your body and help you find the right balance between dynamic and static strength.