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The act of Yielding with Yin Yoga

Introduction

Do you remember the last time you cleared your wardrobe of all that you have accumulated over these years? How did you feel after removing what doesn’t serve you anymore?


In turn, you had possibly more free space that was now uncluttered. You also realised that letting go made you feel better & gifted you with adequate space, which you never knew existed before. 


Doesn’t it feel liberating when you can welcome what supports you best? Likewise, having a practice of surrender in your life will create a path for your inner growth & nourishment.


This is where the practice of Yin Yoga can make a big difference in the process of letting go. 



Yin Yoga Practice


Origin of Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a part of the essential Hatha Yoga Tradition. The origins of Yin Yoga go back to when Paulie Zink introduced the stretching martial arts technique combined with the elements of Hatha yoga in the 1970s to a Western audience.


One of his first few students was Paul Grilley. Grilley soon combined his desire to sit more comfortably in meditation with Zink’s Taoist Yin, Hatha Yoga & the Chinese system of meridians ( an equivalent concept of the Nadis from Hatha yoga)  into a practice of his own that came to be known as Yin Yoga.


Paul Grilley and his student Sarah Powers are among the world's leading Yin Yoga teachers today.


Concept of Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is better understood once you embrace the dual idea of Yin and Yang, much like the Ida (Moon) and pingala (Sun) nadis from the Hatha Yoga Tradition. Just like hot & cold, left and right, Yin and yang are opposite aspects of nature that work in relationship with each other.


Yin and yang exist only as a partnership, while both Yin & Yang are interdependent. This is why a balance of energy is important and Yin Yoga in partnership with a Yang practice is always recommended. Yin is called slow, passive, soft, feminine, dark, night and cold. Yang, on the contrary, is fast, active, hot, masculine, light & day.


Yin yoga offers mostly seated, supine, or low-to-the-ground long, gentle stretches and holds.


Yin & Yang Tissues

The primary focus of Yin yoga is to stabilise the energy in the body by focusing on the connective tissues, or fascia found deep in the soft tissues. These connective tissues tend to get tight and stiff with time, creating a restricted range of motions within the body.


Did you know that our bones, tendons, ligaments and discs are yin tissues? Muscles & blood are yang tissues. Yin tissues resist stretching, and they rebound slowly like stiff dough. Muscles, on the other hand, stretch and rebound easily like rubber. 


All tissues can be worked in a yin or yang way. For example, if you train your fascia in a Yin way, it will become longer & elastic.


If you train your fascia in a yang way, it becomes shorter, stronger and stiffer. With a deep emphasis on long, passive stretches that focus on the deeper connective tissues (YIN tissues), particularly the Fascia, this meditative yoga practice promotes flexibility, mobility & increased range of motion in due course. 


The practice of Yin Yoga


 Yin Yoga accesses the deep fascia tissues that exist from head to toe. Fascia is where our trauma is stored, and physical tension is the manifestation of emotional trauma. In Yin Yoga, the muscles enjoy deep relaxation (passive state), and the deep connective tissues are activated.


This is also because of the time duration each pose is held in (ranging from 3- 10 min depending on the comfort of the practitioner).


Props like blocks, bolsters or pillows aid further muscle relaxation and encourage modifications and alterations to suit each body type & respect one’s outer edge without any force or injury. 


A typical Yin Yoga class lasts for about 60 -90 minutes and offers a handful of poses. Being present with each pose for longer invites you to experience various sensations in the body.


It encourages you to be in the present & explore within your individual limit. During these moments of stillness, the mind quietens, creating space within the body as you experience a renewed relationship with yourself.


Conclusion


 Yin is the gift of time for the self & an opportunity to embody a unique bond with your mind, body & breath.

Like the beautiful saying by Nicholas Sparks “If it comes, let it come. If it stays, let it stay, and if it goes, let it go”;

Encourage yourself to show up no matter what you going through.


Lastly, slow down & celebrate the idea that less is always more as you yield & surrender with every single inhalation & exhalation.


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