Yin Yoga meets Yang Yoga Workshop
Suitable for yoga students of all levels and yoga teachers
“Yin and yang – polarity united in harmony.” (Markus Henning Giess)
Our whole world is comprised of yin and yang. We can find polarity in our language, in our environment, in everything and in everyone. This polarity and contrast blend seamlessly, as epitomised so evocatively by the iconic yin and yang symbol.
In the West, we practise mainly yang forms of yoga (Ashtanga, Bikram, Vinyassa Flows, etc.) muscle strengthening and muscle tension with movement, rhythm and repeats, and this approach complements our fast-moving mentality and learned values. On the other hand, yin yoga – when practised meditatively – stimulates primarily the fascial tissue that connects everything in our body, down to the tiniest cell.
Yang needs yin in order to exist, and yin needs yang in order to exist. Only when both sides are aligned will true balance and harmony be achieved.
Yin yoga complements every form of yang yoga. We can’t say that either is better or worse than the other, but rather that both belong together intrinsically, creating harmony between body, mind and soul.
Depending on the length of the workshop, either all or only certain themes of theory – as listed below – will be discussed.
Depending on the length of the workshop, either all or only a selection of the classes will be practised.
- What are yin and yang? – Exploring the Taoist principle
- What is yin yoga?
- What is yang yoga?
- 10 reasons for practising yin yoga and yang yoga
- The theory behind training sessions explained
- Compression and tension
- Yin and yang yoga - the therapeutic benefits
- The energy curve of a yoga class
- Yin and yang for perfect harmony in life
Yin yoga – back class
= long-held stretches lasting for 3–5 minutes without muscle tension in the back.
In this class, we’ll practise symmetrical asanas that focus mainly on the back, the lumbar spinal column and the lumbar fascia. By bending forwards, backwards and sideways – while sitting and lying down – we use the whole spectrum of our body mechanics to stimulate and mobilise (decompress) our joints, discs and fascia. When you consider that there are 100 joints in our spinal column alone – all connected by strong, tough fascial tissue – you’ll understand why this is such a powerful practice for maintaining a healthy back.
Yin yoga – hip class
= long-held poses lasting for 3–5 minutes without muscle tension in the hips.
In this class we’ll practise asymmetrical asanas, focusing mainly on the hips, hip joints and joint capsules.
During our lifetime, typical shortening of the myofascial and fascial tissue of our hips occurs as a result of sitting for long periods or excessive participation in yang forms of exercise. Compensational shortening and/or residual contraction can also be caused by inactivity following an injury or the effects of an old injury.
Through yin yoga we can gently resolve these issues of shortening, adhesions and matting, and restore the structure, form, elasticity and integrity of the body once again.
Yang yoga class
= dynamic yoga class based on power yoga, yang yoga according to Paul and Suzee Grilley, and most of all on yang yoga as practised by Markus Giess and Karin Sang.
Yin and yang yoga mix
= comprising elements of yin and yang yoga as practised by Markus Giess and Karin Sang, this class will also contain an element of surprise..
“In peace there is strength and from peace comes strength.” (Confucius)
Yin yoga – the quiet practice – turns our attention inwards, focusing our minds deep into our uniqueness and then deeper still to our elemental force, allowing us to connect with the source of our life energy and discover our true self.
We practise yin yoga meditatively, using long-held poses without muscle tension, which allow us to strengthen and flex our connective, fascial and ligament tissues, mobilise our joints, and stimulate and soothe the nervous system. As a result, the exercises have a stress-reducing and regenerative effect.
We learn how to accumulate the subtle energy flow (chi flow) and to sense the enhanced energy flow in our meridians after completing a yoga practice. This practice nourishes us from our very 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.
“The body has limits; the spirit is limitless.” (Markus Henning Giess)
For us, personally, yoga means unrivalled fun, zest for life, freedom, self-abandon, connection, calm, harmony, peace, sensibility, intimacy, balance, fulfillment, happiness…
In our yang yoga practice, we’ll endeavour to impart to you – through both theory and practice – this improvement in your quality of life.
One of the main aims of Markus’s and Karin’s yang yoga asana practice is to open the diaphragm during the asana practice. The diaphragm is the chest or heart area used in many of the performing arts. Working with an open chest cavity allows us to perform freely and to share our emotions extravagantly with others. Through our hearts, we can express our love, our self-abandon and our joy outwardly so that our energy becomes contagious to others.
We disrupt patterns (even yoga patterns). We unleash our imaginations. We allow our energy to fill the room. We play around with gravitational pull. And then, fully charged with energy, we have fun with yoga – free and uninhibited.
Our yang style of yoga is derived from many different influences, which we have blended together seamlessly. Hatha yoga, power yoga, yang sequences devised by Paul and Suzee Grilley, combined with inspiration from our own dancing careers and – in particular – the influence of Lester Horton.
American choreographer and teacher Lester Horton (1906–1953) focused on the human body as a whole. The Horton technique comprises flexibility, strength, coordination, as well as control and awareness not only of our body but also of the space in which we are moving, thereby promoting complete freedom of expression.
One of Horton’s most famous students was Alvin Ailey, whose creative work was based on the Horton technique and included unforgettable choreography such as Revelations or Cry.
Horton developed his technique between 1930 and 1940. As a modern dance pioneer, his goal was to develop a technique which allowed anatomical anomalies to be corrected. The technique which he devised utilises maximum physical movement and places the emphasis on extensive, complete, dynamic movement sequences.
Having studied anatomy closely, he created a variety of sequences aimed at correcting the physical body and its imperfections, with a view to achieving the best possible range of movement.
Horton and yoga exercises are closely related in many ways: they require strength, calmness, awareness and flexibility. The Horton approach involves technique, poses and vinyasa flow elements. It is exciting to experience, first hand, the connection between yoga and Horton, and to observe how these two techniques can meld harmoniously into one.
For example of how this works in the Horton technique: the ‘half-moon’ is a lateral T-position, while the ‘boat’ is a coccyx balance. These provide wonderful variations on the typical yoga practice.
I have personally been studying and practising the Horton technique since 1991.
No other technique has defined and shaped my body and mind, and consequently my teaching, as effectively as Horton.