"What is Yin yoga?"
Yin yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang. Yin is the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things, yang is the changing, moving, revealing aspect. Other yin-yang polarities include, light-dark, hot-cold, up-down, happy-sad. To experience all that life has to offer in it's entirety, one must experience both sides.
In the body, the stiff connective tissues, eg tendons, ligaments, fascia, are Yin, while the more mobile muscles and blood are yang. Yin yoga works on the yin tissues ( connective tissues ) These respond best to a slow, steady load and in a Yin class at YogaNess, we hold each pose for four minutes. When we stretch the connective tissue in this way, we are actively stressing the tissue and creating more length, while also making them stronger.
Yin yoga requires the muscles to relax around the connective tissue in order to get a stretch, so we aim to move deep enough into the pose that we feel a level of discomfort and than working with the body, begin to soften, to breathe and to invite our bodies to let go. Essentially we become comfortable, with the discomfort.
Yin yoga stimulates and removes blockages in the meridians of the body and this has the effect of balancing the bodies internal organs and systems.
THE MAIN PRINCIPLES OF YIN YOGA
Connect to the area in your body where you should feel the pose ( stretch/compression )
Move slowly and find your edge and never move into pain
Hold the position
Release all tension from your muscles, so that the stretch can move deep into the joints and fascial tissue
Resist the urge to move, trying not to fidget or shift position, unless you are moving deeper into the pose
Come out of the pose slowly and take a rebound on your back or belly and observe the effects of the pose. Be still and allow the body to find a new balance. Most of the healing happens here!