What Is Yin Yoga?

At Hatha Yoga World we include Yin yoga in our teacher training courses. Yin Yoga is a wonderful way to detox both mind and body. Here poses are held from 2 to 10 minutes. According to different bodies, props can be used or not. When you choose not to use props, it can be quite challenging.

Yin Yoga is based on the ancient, Taoist concept of yin and yang. This is the dual principles in nature and it also works with the principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to shift ‘Qi’ through the body. In Hatha Yoga the Sanskrit word for ‘Qi’ is ‘Prana’. The two opposite energies of Yin and Yang is similar to the principle of the duality of Ida and Pingala nadis, which are the channels we work with in traditional Hatha Yoga. The two energies can be used to benefit different people in different situations.

The ancient text called ‘The Hatha Yoga Pradipika’ (14th or 15th centuries C.E. by Swami Swatmarama) is the oldest text describing Hatha Yoga. In the asana section, only fifteen asanas are described and most are done while sitting or lying on the ground.

A Yin Yoga practice is characterized by long static holds, using mostly floor based asanas sitting or lying allowing for a meditative focus, self-reflection, letting go of stored emotions and thoughts, to surrender and find stillness. It is a powerful self-healing practice.

The asanas work with the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and fascia. Here we are slowly working into the connective tissues to activate change at a deep level. Stimulation creates tension and compression which induces a healthy phase change in the tissue. Yin Yoga primarily targets our connective tissue in contrary to Yang Yoga that targets muscles as the primary tissue, through contraction and focus is on internal heat.

Passive postures challenge you to find calmness in an asana, which might be a slight uncomfortable position to hold. You learn how a small movement can change the asana completely, sit with difficult and painful emotions and work though this in the asana. If aware meditation will happen naturally and the asanas are promoting free flow of energy in the nadis or meridians of the body.

Yin Yoga is a way to increase or maintain flexibility without having to do a strong yang practice and it is also a great way to positively affect your yang practice. The approach in this style is to focus on the yin side in contrary to the yang approach observed in Ashtanga Vinyasa, Hatha Vinyasa or other dynamic sun orientated styles. Yin Yoga nourishes our Yin energy and the feminine force.

The energy of Yin is nurturing, darkness, rest, moisture and cold. In TCM it is described as the shady side of a hill. The energy of Yang is light, activity, dryness and heat. In TCM it is described as the sunny side of a hill.

Our 200 and 300 hour teacher training course in Rishikesh, India invites you to go deeper in the practice of Yin Yoga and explore a practice which focuses on opening up the body by stretching the muscles and detoxing the mind, with the stillness found in the asana.