Yin Yoga has been growing in popularity over the last several years. Some say ‘Yin is In’ or ‘Yin is The New Black’.
If You’re a Beginner to Yin Yoga this Post will be Helpful
I fell in love with Yin Yoga in 2007 when I attended a Yin Yoga workshop taught by Paul Grilley. I had no idea what Yin Yoga was but I owned an Anatomy For Yoga DVD by Paul which had blown my mind and changed the way I saw bodies (mine and my students) forever. So to say I was a little excited to study in person with him would be an understatement.
That workshop changed my life and me teaching for good. Several years later I attended my first 100 hours (now 500 hours +) of Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Paul and his wife Suzee.
So What is Yin Yoga?
Most of Yin Yoga, as it is known today, is a style of Yin codified by Paul Grilley.
It’s based on a blend of poses Paul learned from Paulie Zink and Paul’s years of studying and teaching Hatha Yoga.
Paul Grilley saw Paulie Zink, a Kung-fu master, perform and was taken by his flexibility. Master Zink began martial arts as a teenager and while in college, Paulie met a Kung-fu master from Hong Kong named Cho Chat Ling. Master Cho made Paulie his protégé.
At the time Paulie Zink was teaching out of his garage to a handful of students. He would first teach some stretching, then martial arts.
For a year or so Paul Grilley practiced the first half of the sessions (the stretching) and then would leave when it became time to practice the martial arts segment.
Since then Yin Yoga has been expanded even more by some of Paul Grilley’s senior students. Paul Grilley has refused to trademark Yin Yoga and is very open to his students expanding on his teachings.
Originally, Yin Yoga’s asanas were mostly focused on the lower half of the body from the lumbar spine down. However, many people (Paul’s senior students) fell in love with this way of practicing, finding it extremely therapeutic, and felt that the upper body could also benefit from Yin Yoga; so Paul’s students added asanas that benefit the upper half of the body as well.
Then What Makes A Pose Yin?
Yin poses have a few characteristics in common:
1. Floor-based postures
2. Long holds
4. Relaxing into the pose
5. Props when needed to support the body (optional)
Often at this point the question, “So then what’s the difference between Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga?” will come up and I wrote a whole post on that here.
In Yin Yoga because we spend more time in the poses, we have an opportunity to deeply investigate our inner landscape.
One of Yin Yoga’s superpowers is the effect on the fascia of the body (fascia is the tissue that envelops, separates, or binds together muscles and structures of our body).
In Yin Yoga, we are intending to feel sensations. It can be a stretch, compression, or even the energetic sensations of the Qi in our body.
Because of this intention to feel sensations through the duration of the pose, Yin can often be quite challenging mentally and emotionally and a bit unearthing.
The resonance of a Yin pose is hard to miss and is unique to Yin. In our Yin practice we work with meridians and Qi so it can affect these energy pathways of our body in a very noticeable way.
If you are new to practicing Yin Yoga, it can be helpful to have some basic information before diving into practice since the effects of Yin can feel noticeably different than more Yang or movement-based forms of Yoga.
Yin Yoga Practice Guidelines
1. Take the shape
2. Find 50–60% of the most one can do
3. Find stillness
4. Hold from 1–5 min
5. Come out of the pose mindfully and slowly 6. Rest and feel the resonance.
7. Repeat in the next shape
But the best way for beginners to understand Yin Yoga is to experience it!
In the video below I will guide you through a Beginners Yin Yoga practice.
NOTE: Normally Yin Yoga is quite silent, but I talk a bit more in this video to give you a complete introduction to the practice.