Yin

Yin Yoga is a slow, meditative type of yoga where postures are held for long periods of time, focusing on the movement of energy through the body, supporting the health of organs and tissue.
Yin
Year founded
1970s
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The History of Yin

Yin is a slow-paced, considered style of yoga that brings together Indian and Taoist teachings and traditions with elements of Chinese medicine. Postures are held for longer periods of time, in advanced classes sometimes as long as twenty minutes, stimulating the subtle body.

Yin Yoga was founded in the late 70s by Paulie Zink, a martial arts expert, taking inspiration and knowledge from Taoist priests who taught long-held stretches and breathing techniques to Kung Fu students two-thousand years earlier in China and Taiwan as part of their Daoist Yoga practice.

Yin Yoga is now taught across the Western world with leading teachers including Paul Grilley who has published a handful of books on the practice. Zinc incorporated elements of Hatha Yoga and Taoist Yoga to create a series of long-held floor postures as well as the insights and movement associated with both traditions. Yin Yoga is not intended as a complete practice, but as a way to complement more active forms of exercise.

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga engages the subtle body, bringing together ancient Chinese and Indian teachings. In India this energy is called prana and its pathways are nadis, while Taoists call it qi and its pathways are meridians.

The Taoist concept of yin and yang are opposite and complementary principles in nature. If Yin is stable, feminie and passive, Yang is in flux, masculine and active. As such, the sun is yang and the moon is yin. Where there is dynamic yoga, there is a Yin class. While in a Vinyasa Flow class you may hold an asana for five breaths, in a Yin class you may hold a posture for five minutes. Yin Yoga is an effective way to open your hips or hamstrings, and to cool the chatter of the mind. Teachers will guide you through your practice, helping you observe your breath and focus on the present.

Who Can Practice?

Due to its gentle nature, Yin Yoga can be practiced by anyone irregardless of their age, health or physicality. Yin Yoga has great mental health benefits helping with mindfulness and the quieting of inner thoughts. It’s also excellent for your internal organs, focusing on the flow of energy to them and supporting the body’s fascia - the connective tissue, nerve endings and blood vessels that surround muscles. Yin Yoga can help increase circulation, improve flexibility and mobility and reduce stress and anxiety.

Yin Classes

As Yin Yoga classes are less energetic than a dynamic yoga class the temperature of the room may be kept a little higher than usual. You’re also encouraged to wear warmer clothes and you may be able to keep your socks on depending on the teacher and the different postures you’ll be holding. While in long holds your teacher will talk you through the anatomy of the posture, explaining the physiology and effects. They may also tell traditional Buddhist stories or lessons from their own practice. Yin Yoga does away with the traditional Sanskrit names for poses, instead using descriptive titles such as Caterpillar, Sleeping Swan or Butterfly pose.