The explaining of yin yoga starts with explaining the meaning of the concepts yin and yang.
Almost everyone knows the yin and yang symbol, which is called the Tajitu.
It is made up of two halves that complement each other.
Black and white.
If yin is cold, then yang is hot. If yin is the moon, then yang is the sun. Neither is good or bad. They rely on each other and balance each other out.
The two halves are dynamic. Within yin there is some yang and vice versa.
Yin Yoga creates the perfect balance with yang excercises, like dancing, running or Vinyasa Yoga.
Yang exercises work on the sympathetic nervous system: the muscles. It encourages the body to go in fight or flight mode. In yang exercise all energy goes to the muscles because the sympathetic nervous system is activated.
In Hatha Yoga we do yin and yang poses: passive and active. Yang Yoga poses are active and all about creating opposition.
In Yin Yoga we go deeper. We surrender to the pose. We are passive, but still active. We practice mindful stretches at 80% of our capacity and hold each pose for 1 to 5 minutes. Range of motion and flexibility improve very quickly from practising Yin Yoga.
Yin Yoga stretches the connective tissues in the body. It is important to stretch these yin tissues, because it is the body’s structural system. Connective tissue is the most abundant tissue. It binds organs together and keeps them in place. Examples of connective tissue are fascia, ligaments, tendons and bones.
Yin Yoga works on the parasympathetic nervous system, the internal organs and the mind. It encourages the body and the mind to rest, digest and heal by improving the flow of chi: energy, prana or life force.
Healing in more ways than one
Yin Yoga poses work deep within the body, in connective tissues and organs where we may have stored memories and emotions, which can manifest as tension, stiffness and pain.
Not only does Yin Yoga improve the flow of chi to make physical healing possible, it also promotes loosening and release of those stored emotions.
By mindful stretching in Yin Yoga and turning our gaze inward while holding a pose, we heal ourselves in more than one way and attain more balance in our body and in our mind.
Those are the wonders of Yin Yoga.