Yin Yoga is a super chilled practice that applies very little stress to the connective tissue with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility.
Like all other types of yoga, the intention is simple – to create more awareness and teach ‘presence’ and relaxation – but perhaps one of the stand out differences between this and other forms is that postures are held for up to five minutes a time, leading to greater mobility and care for the joints.
Origins date back to the 1970’s where martial arts expert and Taoist, Paulie Zink taught a form of yoga known as, Daoist Yoga.
Paul Grilley, a student of Zink’s, along with Sarah Powers, have made popular what we call Yin Yoga today.
Yin is much more passive than the other dynamic forms of yoga and the majority of shapes made are on the floor, or close to the ground.
It’s not uncommon to hold the postures for five minutes or more and there is an intense focus on softening into the posture to move closer to the bone. Quite often bolsters, blocks and straps are used as props.
Because of the length of holds, you may only get to a handful of postures in a class.
Don’t let this less dynamic practice fool you for being easy, however. The real challenge or practice in Yin Yoga is staying present through the discomfort in the postures as well as the thousands of thoughts that come up when our busy bodies are asked to be still for such a period of time.