What is Yin Yoga?
"In the quietude lies the power and out of the quietude arises the power." (Confucius)
Yin yoga – the quiet practice – turns our attention inwards, to connect to the true essence of ourselves.
We practise yin yoga meditatively, using long-held poses without muscle tension, which strengthen and flex our connective, fascial and ligament tissues, mobilise our joints, and stimulate and soothe the nervous system. As a result, the exercises we do have a stress-reducing and regenerative effect.
We learn how to accumulate the subtle energy flow (chi flow) and to feel the enhanced energy flow in our meridians after completing a yoga practice. This practice nourishes us from our core, with a blend of awareness, calmness and relaxation.
In the fast-paced world of the 21st century, yin yoga offers the perfect balance for teachers and students alike.
Yin & Yang
“Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish” Confucius
Our world is comprised of Yin and Yang. We find polarity in our language, our environment, in everything and everyone. This universal polarity and contrast blend harmoniously as epitomized by the yin and yang symbol.
In our western health culture, we mainly practice yang forms of exercise, whether it be some kind of sport and / or most forms of yoga (Ashtanga, Bikram, Vinyasa Flow, Power etc). The focus is on our muscles – strengthening and stretching through rhythmic, flowing and repetitive movements. This form of exercise is essential for our wellbeing (and in particular the muscles and bones) complements our fast-moving mentality and learned values.
Yang needs yin in order to exist, and yin needs yang in order to exist.
When both sides are in equilibrium, balance and harmony are achieved.
Yin Yoga complements every form of yang yoga. While we cannot say that one is better or worse than the other, we can say that both belong together intrinsically, creating harmony between body, mind and soul.
Yin Yoga (à la Paul Grilley) acknowledges and respects the uniqueness of our bodies and our individual bone structure. We learn to be playful with the poses, to go on a “search and rescue mission” inwards, listening to our bodies until we feel our individual natural alignment of the pose and then settle in for a while. Regardless of the aesthetics, we have found our perfect pose.
Every person has an individual and unique bone structure.
Every person has an individual and unique flexibility and agility.
Every person needs an individual and unique yoga.
Yin Yoga and Therapy
Do we believe that Yin Yoga has a therapeutic effect? Absolutely.
With Yin Yoga, we mainly train our yin tissues, the fascia. Included in the fascia are the myofascia tissues (muscles and fascia), tendons, ligaments and capsules. Fascia is mainly composed of collagen and gives the body structure, form and tension and stores kinetic energy and is effectively like a spring for the muscles. Fascia ensheathes our organs, nerves, arteries, divides the brain and holds it together and is, in various degrees the “glue” that holds our bodies together.
Even more fascinating, fascia is a 3 dimensional network of innumerable giant spider web-like nets that are interwoven and connected with one another down to a single cell. When we move one part of our body, it has an effect on the rest of our body – muscle chains, fascia chains, organs, nerves, blood circulation right down to the cellular level. With an estimated 100 billion cells in the body, we hope we are sending out positive signals!
Fascia of the body contracts and expands. Fascia is saturated with nerve endings and therefore is considered a sensory organ.
Recent scientific experiments have also proven that fascia actively contracts under stress.
As fascia encases everything including nerves, it is understandable that as fascia contracts under stress it compresses the nerves and therefore can be the cause of pain within the body (according to Dr Werner Klingler fascia researcher and team member from leading German fascia researcher, Dr Robert Schleip).
Through Yin Yoga and its long held passive stretches, we are taking preventative measures against the nature of the fascia to contract, either in the normal course of aging, through illness, immobilisation and/or stress. Furthermore, we detoxify the tissues, moisten it, feed it with nutrients, de-fixate and mobilise the joints and so much more.
The use of long held traction of the ligaments as back treatment therapy is not new eg. stretching the spinal column to relieve pressure on the spinal discs, followed by muscle training to strengthen the muscles around the spine. This same principle is employed in Yin Yoga as a preventative measure for all joints and tissues of our bodies, but also as a “therapy” for chronic back pain.
Markus can say from his own personal experience, that after practicing Yin Yoga for 2 years he was finally free from 10 years of chronic back pain. There are countless other stories from our friends and colleagues who have had similar experiences. Hence our passion for Yin Yoga is very personal.
One can only attempt to describe in words the profound, complex and transcending effect of Yin Yoga on the physical, mental and energetic body. So enough reading! We look forward to seeing you on your mat to experience it!
Yin Yoga – the quiet practice.