Yin Yoga

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Paul Grilley, a yoga teacher found that despite years of intensive yoga practice, he still had to deal with creaky knees, a sore back, and aching hips that accompany long hours of sitting for meditation. This realization led him to explore ways to achieve greater flexibility. Grilley found that connective tissue is different from muscle and needs to be exercised differently. He developed a series of exercises aimed at stretching the connective tissue found in our bones, muscles, and organs. Having been introduced to the concept of Taoist yoga, under Taoist teacher Pauly Zink and Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama a renowned Japanese yogi, Grilley applied Taoist analysis to the practice of yoga and came up with the concept of Yin yoga.


[edit] The Yin and Yang in yoga

Taoism’s central organizing principle is the interconnectedness of all life, the Yin and Yang, or the two primal energies inherent in all things. Muscles and blood are fluid-filled, soft, and elastic thus are seen as Yang; connective tissues (ligaments, tendons, and fascia) and bones are dryer, harder, and stiffer and are thought to be Yin. By extension, exercise that focuses on muscle tissue is yang; exercise that focuses on connective tissue is yin.

[edit] Yin Practice

Most forms of Yoga practiced today are Yang; they emphasize muscular movement and contraction. Yin yoga advocates the gentle stretch and release of the connective tissues which do not stretch or respond to brief stresses as muscle will, so Yin postures are held for longer, with the muscles relaxed. Acupuncture meridians are also present in connective tissues and Yin Yoga is specifically designed to stimulate as well as aid the meridians and the flow of qi and prana through the connective tissue. Contrary to prevailing medical views, passively stretching the joints is not harming them in any way; problems in joints are usually related to bouncing into the joints.

[edit] Differences between a Yin and a Yang yoga practice

The three major differences between a yin and a yang yoga practice are that yin postures should be done with the muscles relaxed and should be held for a longer time ranging from 2 minutes for beginners to 10 minutes for more advanced practitioners. Also, although many yin poses are based on classic yoga asanas, the shape of poses and the techniques employed in them are different to the yang asanas. Yin poses mainly target the hips, thighs, pelvis, and lower spine regions as opposed to the complete body workout of a classic yoga practice.

[edit] Yin-yang yoga

Yin-yang yoga integrates the poses from both these disciplines and many students are finding Yin Yoga to be the perfect compliment to their more active, yang practices. Yin Yoga serves as a unique tool for helping you get the greatest possible benefit from your yoga practice and helps to facilitate and deepen a traditional yoga practice.

[edit] Yin postures or asanas:-

Anahatasana (Melting Heart) - stretches the upper and middle back
Ankle -opens and strengthens the ankles
Butterfly- stretches the lower back, without requiring loose hamstrings
Half butterfly –stretches the lower back
Camel -deeply arches the sacral/lumbar arch and opens the top of the thighs
Cat pulling its tail- decompresses the lower back
Caterpillar -stretches the ligaments along the back of the spine
Child's Pose- healing, restful pose, useful any time a break is needed
Dangling- gentle stretch for the lower spine
Deer- a counter pose to hip openers or any external rotation of the hips
Dragons- deep hip and groin opener
Dragonfly (Straddle) -opens the hips, groin and back of thighs
Frog- deep groin opener and an external hip rotator
Happy Baby- a deep hip opener that requires arm strength
Lying Twists- helps to restore equilibrium in the nervous system and release tension in the spine
Saddle- opens the sacral-lumbar arch
Shavasana –deep relaxation
Shoelace- a hip opener, as well as decompression for the lower spine
Snail- aids deep release of the whole spine
Sphinx and Seal- the deepest opening for the sacral-lumbar arch
Square- prepares you for Lotus pose
Squat-opens hips and strengthens ankles
Swan -a vigorous way to open the hips, allowing gravity to do the work
Sleeping Swan -a relaxing way to gently open the hips
Toe squat-Opens toes and feet and strengthens ankles

Follow this link for a more detailed explanation of the asanas and ways to practice these http://www.yinyoga.com/ys2_2.0_yinyoga_asanas.php

[edit] Did You Know?

  • Check with your doctor or health care professional before starting any yoga practice.
  • Wondering where to practice Yoga? Here's what the Hatha Yoga Pradipika advises -- … a small room of four cubits square, free from stones, fire, water and disturbances of all kinds, and in a country where justice is properly administrated, where good people live and food can be obtained easily and plentifully… The room should have a small door, be free from holes, hollows, neither too high nor too low, well plastered with cow-dung and free from dirt, filth and insects. [HYP I-12&13]

[edit] References

  • Yin Yoga
  • Yoga Journal
  • Yin yoga, Paul Grilley, White Cloud Press (June 2002)

[edit] See Also