I was trained by The Yoga People to teach Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga is based upon Taoist yoga and has been further developed in the West by Paul and Sara Grilley. Yin Yoga will relax and relieve tension and works deep into connective tissue or fascia. The ligaments and tendons are gently stretched in a way that is healthy for the body.
Below is an article about Yin Yoga written by Paul Grilley.
Please see my classes page to find out when & where my Yin Yoga classes are.
Yin and yang are relative terms, not absolutes; any phenomenon can only be yin or yang by comparison with something else. It’s certainly true that whenever we move and bend our joints in yoga postures, both muscle and connective tissues are challenged.
Yang tissues like muscles are more fluid-filled, soft, and elastic; yin tissues like connective tissue (ligaments, tendons, and fascia) and bones are dryer, harder, and stiffer. By extension, exercise that focuses on muscle tissue is yang; exercise that focuses on connective tissue is yin.
A yin practice works to promote flexibility in areas often perceived as nonmalleable, especially the hips, pelvis, and lower spine.
Although connective tissue is found in every bone, muscle, and organ, it’s most concentrated at the joints. In fact, if you don’t use your full range of joint flexibility, the connective tissue will slowly shorten to the minimum length needed to accommodate your activities. If you try to flex your knees or arch your back after years of underuse, you’ll discover that your joints have been “shrink-wrapped” by shortened connective tissue.
There are two principles that differentiate yin practice from more yang approaches to yoga: holding poses for at least several minutes and stretching the connective tissue around a joint. To do the latter, the overlying muscles must be relaxed. If the muscles are tense, the connective tissue won’t receive the proper stress.
Of course, you can overdo yin practice, just as you can overdo any exercise. Since yin practice is new to many yogis, the indications of overwork may also be unfamiliar. Because yin practice isn’t muscularly strenuous, it seldom leads to sore muscles. If you’ve really pushed too far, a joint may feel sensitive or even mildly sprained. More subtle signals include muscular gripping or spasm or a sense of soreness or misalignment in chiropractic terms, being out of adjustment especially in your neck or sacroiliac joints.
If a pose causes symptoms like these, stop practicing it for a while. Or, at the very least, back way out of your maximum stretch and focus on developing sensitivity to much more subtle cues. Proceed cautiously, only gradually extending the depth of poses and the length of time you spend in them.
With slow and steady practice you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how different you feel when you sit to meditate. But that improved ease may not be the only or even the most important benefit of Yin Yoga. If Hiroshi Motoyama and other researchers are right, if the network of connective tissue does correspond with the meridians of acupuncture and the nadis of yoga, then strengthening and stretching connective tissue may be beneficial for your long-term health.
Much research is still needed to explore the possibility that science can confirm the insights of yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine. But if yoga postures really do help us reach down into the body and gently stimulate the flow of qi and prana through the connective tissue, Yin Yoga serves as a unique tool for helping you get the greatest possible benefit from yoga practice.
Excerpts from YogaJournal.com – Author Paul Grilley