Yin Yoga – Blessings to my knowledgeable teacher Norman Blair, Zolder Studio, London
Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature. Yin can be seen as the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things; whilst yang is the polo opposite it signifies the changing, moving, revealing aspect.
“Some say that practitioners should stay in Sirsasana for only two to five minutes, otherwise harm could come to them. It must be stressed, however, that this is not correct as the following scriptural saying attests; Yama matram vashe nityam we can dwell in Sirsasana for three hours.” Sri K Pattabhi Jois, Yoga Mala 1962.
Yin Yoga is a concentrated slow paced style of yoga; asanas (poses) are held for longer periods of time, usually asanas are held for approximately 30 seconds in traditional yoga classes, however typically in Yin Yoga we hold the asanas from 2 to 3 minutes building up to 5 minutes and longer.
My students often ask me why is it in Yin Yoga we stay longer in the asanas ? My answer to them is to enable us to softly target the connective tissues such as the ligaments, bones and possibly the joints of the body that are not normally reached or used in common yoga practices. For this reason Yin Yoga can be seen as a less popular style of yoga in the West; perhaps some people haven’t heard of it a few years ago, but it is growing – demand is spiralling and that is great news!
Great words of wisdom from my teacher: –
So much so often a yoga practice is about striving, there’s that achieving attitude. Yin Yoga can give us the space to slow down, a chance to stay with our experiences rather that always rushing. In a Yin Yoga practice, all the postures are sitting – and all the postures are held for sustained periods of time (often five minutes). Within these long holds there is an encouragement of softness and an emphasis on relaxing muscular tissues. Through these attitudes there can be a gaining of harmony and peace; so there is a greater ease, a deeper sense of balance, feelings of calmness and acceptance”.
To give an example Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee Pose) in a Hatha or Astanga practices this asana requires us to lengthening the spine, stretching the muscles of the back and engaging the muscles of the legs and abdomen we are told to fold the torso towards the legs. In Yin our approach is different Janu Sirsasana is called the Half Butterfly, the muscles are relaxed, the spine naturally rounds so that the head comes towards the knees rather than the feet as the body releases, so we let go of “ego” and welcome surrender…
For more information about yin yoga in and around Highbury, please contact me.
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