What is Yin Yoga ?

Yin Yoga is a style of yoga popularly known for holding the position for longer period of time. It is well-known for its characteristic for remaining in the same position relatively for longer period. It can also be understood as a yoga practice which is passive where muscles are relaxed. The time of holding a pose may range from 45 seconds for beginners to five minutes or more for advanced practitioners. Yin Yoga mainly based on duration of the asana and temperature of the muscle accentuating the principle value of patience. Yin Yoga was developed by the martial art expert and Tao Yoga master Paulie Zink. Paulie Zink is the martial art champion. Yin Yoga has basically been brought from the Chinese tradition of Yin and Yang philosophy. With some similarity with traditional Hatha Yoga, Yin yoga, originally taken from Taoist yoga, has been made something exclusive in its practice and way of holding the postures for substantial period of time.

Yin Yoga mainly focuses to work on the connective tissues to bring more calm, strength, flexibility, agility, power and relaxation in the body, mind and spirit.  All the ligaments, fascia, tendons are used properly to circulate the blood and energy to bring the flexibility, strength and stamina in the every part of the body. It emphasizes the floor postures connecting to the earth for its better understanding and application to greater level. Moreover, Yin Yoga incorporates five elements Earth, Metal, Wood, Water and Fire in its practice. It started to get its recognition in the decade of 1970s in the United State of America by champion of martial arts and Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zink. It later flourished to Europe and many other places of the world.

Yin Yoga emphasizes especially between navel and knees. Most of the postures in it tries to work on hip, lower back, hips, pelvis, inner thighs, shoulders which mainly performed in seating, supine and prone position. Even though Yin Yoga is considered to be the simple and quiet practice, it is not an easy practice at all.

Yin Yoga has popularly been the practice not only for the people who want to get relaxed and gentle yoga. However, it has been the everyday practice of athletes who are quite stronger and vigorous. It means to say that Yin Yoga can be for anyone who wants to develop the flexibility, strength, stamina, power, agility, calm and balanced state of body, mind and spirit. As a person gets older the muscles of the body get stiffed. The application of Yin Yoga in day to day life can help to reduce the stiffness and rigidity of the body. Yin Yoga has been effectively practiced all around the world. Paul Grilley, Sarah Powers and Bernie Clark are two other distinguished names in the field of Yin Yoga. Paul Grilley is the student of Paulie Zink and Sarah Power is the student of Paul Grilley.

The Philosophy of Yin and Yang Yoga

Yin Yoga has its deep rooted connection to Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang as well as the traditional Hath Yoga system. Yin yoga has tried to incorporate both system in its form and practice. The word yin represents the dark side and the yang stands for bright side. In other words, it also can be called negative and positive sides of the universe. Yin and Yang philosophy is the root from where the yoga called Yin Yoga has been developed. Originally, the name of Yin Yoga was called in its full form Yin and Yang Yoga. In its popular form, it was stared to be called Yin Yoga. Yin and Yang philosophy inspite of consisting of contrary forces which are always interconnected and interrelated to each other. The existence of both forces makes the possibility of the universe or the world. Based on the idea of contradiction and opposite forces’ existence, the yin and yang theory has simultaneously correlated with other philosophy of the world such as Hindu philosophy which emphasizes in Prakriti and Purusha. Indeed, the yin and yang can be considered as the complementary forces which are equally significant for the existence.

In Yin and Yang philosophy, yin represents the cold, passive, female, immobile, downward moving force whereas yang can be correlated with the hot, active, masculine, mobile, upward moving. In the case of body, the connective tissues such as tendons, fascia, and ligaments are regarded as yin and the mobile muscles and blood are taken as yang. In yoga, passive asanas are considered as the yin while active and dynamic asanas are observed as yang.

The existence of both sides is compulsorily found in everything that exists. Only the difference is its amount. Even though the postures are very similar and look alike in both style of yoga, the way of performing them has different techniques and orientation. The muscular exertion in Yin Yoga is significantly less and low compared to the Hath Yoga. The origin of development of yin yoga has been interconnected to the Chinese philosophy whereas Hath Yoga has its connection to the Himalayas and Hindu philosophy.

During the practice of Yin Yoga, one may undergo various emotional ups and downs as everyone has numerous emotional stuffs hidden and stored in the subconscious mind. The emotional state like happiness, sadness, pain, sorrow, anger, anxiety, stress, excitement etc. may come up. However, as a yin yoga practitioner one needs to be an observer of the sentiments that pop out in the mind. The emotions in the physical body stored in the knots, shoulder joints, hip joints or in the form of sore neck, tight hips are released by the practice of Yin Yoga.  Yin Yoga helps to recognize and become aware of those emotional hurdles so that we could address them for the better life.

Origin and History of Yin Yoga

In ancient China and Taiwan, the idea of yin yoga used to be practiced as the system of Daoist Yoga. Daosit yoga also has been known as Dao Chin. It was the daily practice for Taoist priests in the greater China. About 2000 years ago, the Taoist priests started to teach the system of Daoist Yoga and breathing techniques to Kung Fu practitioners. Coming to this present form of Yin Yoga, it was developed by the martial arts expert and Tao Yoga teacher Paulie Zink in the decade of 1970s. Master Zink hails from United States where he started the practice of Yin Yoga.

Under the tutelage of Kung Fu and Taoist master Cho Chat Ling from Honkong, Paule Zink was trained for a decade. He learned all the essential knowledge and skills which could be required only by the practice of 25 years. With all the treatise of wisdom in the field of Taoism and Kung Fu, he started his career as a martial artist. He won national championship more than two years and national recognition and awards in his back. Synthesizing the idea of his education achieved during his ten long years and since childhood, he establish yoga named Yin Yoga in its present form that has been practicing in the world. At the moment, yin yoga has been one of the most popular practices in the world in the arena of yoga. Especially, by the names like Paul Grilley, Sarah Powers and Bernie Clark, the scope and publicity of Yin Yoga has spread and elongated much more than before.

Benefits of Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga can be a cooling practice for many people who prefer relaxed and deeper poses. It can be a great yoga to practice for both balancing the body, mind and spirit in equal manner.

  • It can work as the counter-balance of Yang practices such as Vinyasa and many other dynamic practices. While practicing twice in a week for relaxing and allowing the parts of the body cool down, it can be the best practice to perform.
  • It brings the balance of erratic and overactive mindset to its normal and balanced state.
  • It helps to deal with many unnecessary thoughts and words come out in the mind and day to day life. It balances the mind to make it work for essential stuffs.
  • It  balances all on-the-go aspects of life.
  • It helps to draw calmness, stillness, balance in the body and mind.
  • It can be best yoga to practice for the reduction of anxiety and stress.
  • It helps to increase the circulation of the blood throughout the body.
  • It supports for the flexibility.
  • It brings greater joint mobility.
  • It maintains the balance of internal organs and flow of prana or chi through meridian stimulation.
  • It balances Yang Yoga practice.
  • It inspires mindfulness and meditation.
  • It helps in regulating the energy level in the body.
  • It supports to heal medical issues like migraines.
  • It increases the stamina.
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