I’m currently reading, studying, & highlighting all of The complete guide to Yin Yoga. It’s my “textbook” for my Yin Certification class that I am currently in the process of completing and loving. I’ve always enjoyed a slower more relaxing type of yoga class since I started practicing. I love ending my practice so “zened out” that I don’t quite know where I am or what day it is. That’s when I know I fully let go of the outside world and it was a dang good class. My curiosity for teaching a yin like class came to light a couple months ago when I was talking with Patricia about how our personalities are very yin and yang. Her being the yang, more powerful, energetic, trying to change the world and having the confidence to do just that, and myself being more yin like, calm, slower, soaking it all in whether it be a conversation or workout. That’s when a lightbulb went off, I need to actually learn and teach yin classes, so I enrolled in Rhia Robinson’s yin yoga certification down the street at Yoga Collective. If you’ve been coming to Tuesday class at our space, you have probably been one of my guinea pigs in a yin class which I am very grateful for your support and trust in me. I know Yin is very foreign and not a typical fitness yoga class, but I promise you the benefits are bountiful. My favorite thing about yoga (in general) is that no matter how much you read, how much you study or how much you practice, there is always so much more to learn. I constantly feel like a student with yoga, which to be honest is where I am most comfortable, in a learning environment. This book is a great start to learning about what Yin yoga is, the benefits of yin, and the long term effect it has on your body and most importantly your mind. I catch myself re-reading it over and over again, hoping all the words just click. Hopefully one day all the text clicks and I become an expert 🙂
The biggest question I get is, actually it’s less of a question and more of a facial expression showing a little bit of confusion and a little bit of boredom and hopefully a little bit of curiosity. So I wanted to take some time to write down and clarify what yin yoga is. I have an easier time writing then I do speaking about it, so hopefully this will answer some of your questions, or some of your facial expressions. Technically yin is just another branch of hatha yoga, so it’s still good ole YOGA. Man, I could just tell you that and call it a day, but I know that would not fully benefit you to not at least know some of what I have learned. It gives your practice more purpose & understanding to know. Just like with anything we do! Why am I doing this and remind me again, what for? I sometimes ask myself those same questions with yoga, I always can come up with billions of reason, but it definitely crosses my mind a lot. I’m a skeptic though on many subjects, so I like to do the research so I personally understand why I’m doing something and not because someone just told me to. Alright, alright, alright – I’ll get to the point.
Yin yoga is ultimately holding each pose for a longer amount of time to stress and strengthen your tissues. We all have yin and yang tissues, so doing yin yoga targets those yin tissues which are typically the lower part of your body. Yin tissues are dryer and much less elastic compared to yang tissues, so these tissues appreciate and require gentler pressures, applied for longer periods of time in order to be stimulated to grow stronger. Yin is specifically designated to exercise the ligaments and to regain space and strength in the joints. There are roughly 36 yin postures taken from the list of 900 hatha yoga poses mostly used in yang practices.
The 3 Principles of Yin:
1. Come into the pose to an appropriate depth: this is where you play with your edges, finding out what works for YOU
2. Resolve to remain still
3. Hold the pose for time: 2-10 minutes
One chapter in this book brakes down each pose with a list of benefits it brings you. There are also modifications for each pose, Alleluia!, I LOVE modifications. They bring me a weird sense of happiness and relief while I’m practicing. My favorite part in this book is “the goal when we hold yin poses in stillness: we awaken to the present moment. We touch what is happening in our body, and in our heart & mind. We don’t have to go anywhere: right here, right now – this is life.” Actually, that was not my initial favorite part, but I found that while looking this good one up “Yin & Yang, tha & ha, which together form “hatha” – after which the well-known school of yoga is a mix of yin & yang practice. You must have yin AND yang within your life and yoga practice,” because life is all about learning to balance 🙂
I will be posting more about Yin as I keep learning. In the meantime, when you are in my class or practicing Yin on your own, go ahead and adopt these mantras:
“We don’t use our body to get into a pose, we use the pose to get into our body”
“If you are feeling it, you are doing it”
“Yin is not competitive, there is not model of what each pose should look like, go where you body allows and let it open up on its own time. Remember, going further is a sign of ego, and staying where you are is embracing yin.”
Much love & yin,