ORIGINS & HISTORY OF YIN YOGA
Daoist yoga ( Dao yin ) has been practiced for many centuries in Taiwan and China. Beginning 2000 years ago, Kung Fu experts were taught to hold postures for long periods of time, which today are closely related to Yin, along with breathing techniques by Taoist priests.
In the 1970’s, martial arts expert Paulie Zink first introduced Yin Yoga to the west. The Yin style yoga was then brought to the forefront and popularized by Yin Yoga teachers Paul Grilley, Sarah powers and Bernie Clark.
WHAT IS YIN YOGA?
Yin Yoga targets the joints, ligaments, tendons and deep fascia networks of the body and mainly targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine.
Unlike a Yang ( a more active style of yoga or exercise ) Yin Yoga keeps the muscles as cool as possible to allow the body time to adjust and to relax into a pose for a period of time. Yin Yoga encourages energy flow known as Chi, in the body by combining stillness and breath. Yin Yoga is a perfect complement to the dynamic and muscular workouts that emphasize internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of our muscles.
Yin is suitable for beginners and seasoned practitioners. While initially, this style of yoga can seem quite passive, or soft, we can remain in the postures for a longer period of time, creating more of a challenge, physically and mentally. Experiencing Yin yoga even just once, you will realize that you have been doing only half of the yoga practice.
PHILOSOPHY & PRINCIPLES OF YIN YOGA
Yin & Yang
Yin yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang which are both opposing and complementary principles in nature. Yin is stable and unmoving, yang is changing and moving. Yin-yang examples are cold-hot, down-up, and calm-excited. The stiff connective tissues(tendons, ligaments, fascia) is Yin and the more mobile, flexible muscles and blood are yang. Yin yoga works on the connective tissues which respond best to a more slow, steady load. Holding a yin pose for a long time relaxes the muscles around the fascia networks, in order to get a stretch. Ligaments, tendons, and joints are stressed, making them longer and stronger. Greater strength is the end result.
The flow of qi, the energy that runs through the meridian pathways of the body, are facilitated by Yin yoga poses. Chinese medicine believes meridians are created by our connected tissue and improve organ health, immunity and emotional well-being.
THE THREE MAIN YIN TATTVAS (Principles)
When practicing a Yin pose three stages of mindfulness are
Come to your appropriate edge.
Don’t push your body to the place of pain or pinching. Allow your breath to guide you deeper into your Yin posture. “ Nice and Easy does it”
Becoming still allows for the muscles to soften. Allow gravity and your relaxed body to help go deeper into the posture.
Hold for time.
Remaining in the posture from 1, 3 or 5 minutes allows for the body to release resistance, open the energy meridians of the body, massage the internal organs through breath, lubricate joints and encourage the formation of fibroblasts in the body.