Since ancient times, all the disciplines of yoga were prevalent in India, but as soon as it started expanding outside India, new changes were also seen in the methods of yoga. Taking a look at the schedule of any yoga studio you’ll see types of yoga styles with vigorous, fast-paced classes such as vinyasa, power, and Ashtanga, known in America as “yang” styles. But there is another equally important style that is completely unlike other styles of yoga: yin yoga. However, it arrived in the US in the late 1970s and took root only in the last few decades.
Beginning of Yin Yoga
The Yin Yoga system is based on ancient Chinese medical principles, and also reflects Taoist principles. It began as Taoist Yoga (Tao Yin) in the late 1970s by martial arts expert and yoga teacher Paulie Zink. The roots of this yoga system are basically linked to Chen and India. Just as Hatha Yoga has been practiced in India since ancient times, in the same way Taoist Yoga is practiced in China. It was through the Taoist Yoga system that Yin Yoga originated.
Yin Yoga is taught throughout North America and Europe, encouraged by its teachers and developers Paul Greely and Sarah Powers. As pointed out by Greely and Powers, it is not a complete exercise in itself, but rather a complement to yoga and more active forms of exercise. However, Zink’s approach covers the full range of Taonist yoga, both Yin and traditional.
According to the ancient Chinese system of medicine, in Yin Yoga, we stretch the pose of any yoga posture for a long time and try to keep the body and mind calm.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin yoga is part of hatha yoga. However, the difference lies in the poses performed.
Yin yoga is a slow-paced yoga style with asanas. which works for a long time. For older people, it can range from 45 seconds to two minutes. After this, for experienced yoga seekers, this yoga practice can be five minutes or more.
In this yoga, asanas are held for anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes at a time. On a physiological level, passive postures allow for more release in the joints. encourages Yin yoga meditation; Increases Nadis, in the yogic system; And they are believed to support organs, strengthen the immune system, and lead to emotional well-being and balance.
Mainly, Yin yoga is an exercise focused on the lower body and thighs, and muscles. It is slow and focused yoga. Through this yoga, also helps in maintaining the balance of the physical sensations of the mind and the body. There are sequences of postures to stimulate the subtle body’s ducts known as meridians in Chinese medicine and Nadis in hatha yoga.
Yin and yang
Yin yoga is based on Taoist concepts of Yin and Yang, opposite principles in nature. This can be explained as stable, feminine, passive, calm, and moving downward. Yang is described as masculine, active, warm, and moving upward. The sun is considered Yang, the moon is considered yin. In the body, the relatively rigid connective tissue is considered Yin, while dynamic muscles and blood are called Yang. The more passive asanas in yoga are considered Yin, while the more active, dynamic asanas are described as yang.
From a Taoist perspective, muscles and blood are Yang and connective tissue and joints are Yin, Graely explains. Yoga exercises that focus on muscle movements are therefore more Yang in nature. Exercises that emphasize the connective tissue of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine are more Yin.
How to Practice Yin Yoga Poses?
Yin yoga is a calm and slow yoga. In this yoga, the emphasis is placed on the lower part of the body such as the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine by being passive on a yoga mat or floor.
This yoga can be practiced in a room or hall with a calm and cool environment. One usually has to stay in any pose for two to five minutes (or longer) while practicing yoga. Like Surya Namaskar in this yoga, 13 types of mudras or asanas are involved. In each pose of this yoga, oneself is kept for about 2 to 3 minutes or for 4 to 5 minutes.
In this asana, it is practiced to calm the mind completely by being stable. It is practiced by focusing your attention on a single point. This is the reason that by doing this yoga both the mind and body remain balanced. It is also necessary to maintain the balance of breath in this yoga. During yoga practice, there is also a need to cultivate the balance of the breath while focusing. While breathing in, the abdomen and ribs have to be widened and after that when we exhale, we pull the navel and the lower part of the spine inwards.
Yin Yoga benefits:
- Relieves tension.
- Calms and balances the mind and body.
- Increases circulation.
- Balances the internal organs.
- Builds Strength and Perseverance.
- Improves the flow of chi or prana.
- Increases Flexibility and Range of Motion
- Encourages mindfulness and meditation.
- Releases fascia and improves joint mobility.
- Promotes Self-Love
Looking at the modern lifestyle of people, where they are suffering from stress, anxiety, and illness and have lost their mental peace and happiness, it is all the more important that people start practicing Yin Yoga for their benefit.
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