The History of Yin Yoga

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You probably know that Yin Yoga is a slower version of the yoga that we practice in our daily lives. Moreover, it is a modality that uses some Chinese principles and Taoist principles as well. The asanas in the case of Yin Yoga can be continued for 3-10 minutes. Additionally, the holding time is what makes all the difference. There are different proponents of this yoga form.

It is believed that Yin Yoga probably came into being in the 1970s. Now, it is taught across North America and European countries as well. No matter, how beneficial it is, you have to practice Yin Yoga as a complementary form, to other active yoga forms. Paulie Zink is a martial arts expert and Taoist yoga teacher who gave birth to this form of yoga. Before that, there were many similar yoga forms, that had been incorporated in the Kung Fu training for thousands of years. However, it was Zink, who introduced the form to the masses. However, he also managed to insert quite a few techniques like the forms of Hatha Yoga into the Yin style.

Delving Deep Into The History of Yin Yoga

At a time, when Paulie Zink started experimenting with the yoga form, his student Paul Grilley also took a liking to this yoga form. Paul Grilley went on to experiment with the yoga poses, by maintaining long holds, with no element of Yang yoga in between. He quickly found out that the students were also liking it. However, the practice turned out to be a challenge for many, as maintaining the correct posture for 3-10 minutes can get over whelming. Most people had to step out of their comfort zone, to practice Yin Yoga.

Paul Grilley also had a background in anatomy, which he amalgamated with Yin yoga. He also brought in the knowledge of meridians to combine with Yin yoga. He had attended a few classes of Dr Motoyama in Japan, and he also brought in his teachings to add more weight to the form which he was so involved in.

Then Sarah Powers comes into the picture. She also happened to attend Grilley’s classes, and she started sharing the form with her students. It was in fact, Sarah who happened to name it Yin Yoga. She also added her own explanations and meditative techniques to the practice of Yin yoga. Thus, this is how the world started practicing Yin Yoga. These westerners started working on it, from the 1970s onwards. And what you see or hear today, is an extension of this lineage.

The Yin Yoga form has a lot of benefits that you should know about. They are:

  • Yin Yoga has the power to clam the mind and also reduces anxiety.
  • It also aids in the proper blood circulation in the body.
  • Yin yoga also increases the flexibility of the body.
  • It also helps in the release of the fascia and improves joint mobility as well.
  • Yin yoga also balances the internal organs and improves the flow of chi or prana.

Modern Yin Yoga

So, by the time, you reached till here, you must be knowing what Yin Yoga is all about. It is basically slow-paced yoga, that have certain principles from Chinese medicine called Acupuncture and asanas from Hatha Yoga. The main aim of this form of slow-paced yoga is to stimulate the various channels of the body.

Yin Yoga mainly works on the deepest tissues, ligaments, tendons and joints, where physical yoga cannot reach. Yang Yoga on the contrary, is mainly concerned with superficial muscles. You also need to keep in mind, that excessive stretching can do more harm than good. In Yin Yoga, you stretch and lie down.

When you practice Yin Yoga, you actually enter a status, which is called ‘edge.’ The edge is that point in your practice, when you can still manage the sensations. It is not that intense. You will feel adequate pressure, that is good for stretching and stimulating the organs. You have to maintain the Yin yoga poses, with relative stillness. There will be some amount of muscle engagement, but most of the time, you can do without it. Some of the main poses of Yin yoga are:

  • Shoelace pose
  • Dragon fly pose
  • Sphinx pose

The first one, also called the Shoelace pose is a hip opener pose. It leads to decompression of the lower spine, when you fold forward. In this pose, you have to rotate the hips externally, and also stretch the inner thighs and groin region. Your primary meridians are affected in this pose. The meridians are liver, gall bladder, and the kidney. Most practitioners enter the pose, from the seated pose. You can also enter the pose from all four limbs. In Yin Yoga, you can always modify a pose to your comfort. It is due to the reason, that you have to hold the pose for a considerable length of time.

The second pose, that you should learn about is the Dragonfly pose. It is basically a forward fold pose with the legs stretched wide in front of you. You can also fold in the side or twist your upper body from the hip joint. This pose mainly targets the back muscles, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles, and groin. It also activates the kidney, urinary bladder, liver, and the spleen. You can try out different variations of this pose, laterally, by twisting, or in the supine position. It depends on your comfort levels.

The Sphinx pose is more of a back-bend pose. It also opens the front part of the body, while compressing the spine, sacrum area, and the kidneys. It also activates the kidney meridian. The meridian is also very important, as it contains the Chi. It is already a deep pose. Moreover, you can make it deeper as per your convenience.

All the asanas, that you will practice as a part of Yin Yoga are adjustable, according to the practitioner. You can gain the best advantages from this slow, yet deep practice.

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