Yin is the feminine force in the universe that defines all that is cool, dark, slow, smooth and passive. It is an attitude of reflection, reception and relaxed observation. The yin way is gentle and a surprisingly powerful method to invoke change in both body and mind.
Yin yoga is a unique way of practicing Hatha yoga. The practice is characterized by long relaxed holds that facilitate the smooth glide or shearing of tissues in your fascial fabric. Fascia is a tissue that binds and holds all of your parts in place.
Stimulating this vast fascial network enables the practitioner to move in a more fluid way. You will have more energy, general aches and pains are soothed and the mind is bright and alert. Unlike restorative yoga, where the student is very supported, the yin student is less supported in the position. This leads to an intense experience at our 'edge', the end of our range of motion. Once we have chosen our edge in the position we completely surrender to the force of gravity. Our body weight does all of the work. As we hang in our connective tissue we begin to create space at joints. Most postures are practised on the ground and are supported in such a way to allow for a safe release into our fascial net. Yin yoga is a great way to realign joints, allowing for a smoother articulation of bones where they meet. This is why yin yoga is so good for correcting poor posture, helping athletes and workers who perform repetitive movements, as well as seniors who struggle with arthritis.
The facial network defines our physical shape and it plays a large role in our emotional and mental landscape. By stimulating particular areas in fascial net we are able to manipulate how we are feeling and what we are thinking. By applying the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine's meridian system and the knowledge of the Indian Chakra paradigm to the myofascial trains, we can layer Eastern and Western approaches to healing.
We live in such a Yang world. Always on the move and doing. Holds in yin yoga are typically 3-10 minutes long. Being still can be a challenge for both the body and the mind. Practising in this way is a great bridge into the world of meditation, especially for active personalities, because even though they are still, there is an intensity that builds, that keeps even the most intense student engaged. With practice this intensity dissipates and we are able to find peace and a relaxed stillness even while being challenged. Life can be uncomfortable — Yin yoga is wonderful way to learn to be peaceful and calm even in the most difficult situations. Tolerance and patience are some of the most rewarding gifts that flow from this style of practice.