Yin Yoga is a gentle but profound yoga that uses the classic Indian yoga postures but with a different approach: adeep and total letting go approach.
It is a kind of magic discipline that is easy to practice and has phenomenal benefits on well-being.
Discover this Special Guide written by Mathilde Corbin following her Yin Yoga training with Cécile Roubaud. Mathilde is the founder of the French yoga brand Yogom. You will discover this marvelous discipline, learn about its history, how to practice it and we will advise you on the equipment to acquire to practice in comfort and safety.
PRINCIPLES OF PRACTICE
- Most of the positions are done on the floor and the objective is total muscle relaxation in order tostretch the connective tissues.
- Holding the postures in immobility for several minutes allows the body to relax very gradually and also to stretch the deep tissues naturally.
- The relaxation of the deep tissues generates a better circulation of energies, which detoxifies the organism, bringing also a deep relaxation of the body and the mind through a great emotional discharge of the spirit.
You will quickly notice that the positions do not have the same name as in classical yoga. Paul Grilley renamed the asanas he uses because the intention is not the same in Yin and he did not want there to be any confusion.
- Yin Yoga is an unregistered yoga with great freedom to transmit.
- It has its origins in the floor positions of Taoist yoga and the Chinese martial art Monkey Kun Fu by Paulie Zink.
- Paulie Zink’s yoga is also called Yin and Yang yoga.
- In 1989 Sarah Powers came up with the idea of calling the floor postures Yin Yoga.
- Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers decided to call the yoga they were teaching Yin Yoga to make a difference with Paulie Zink’s Taoist yoga because they were not teaching all the Taoist postures: only the Yin ones, i.e. the ones on the floor, held for a long time in immobility.
Where does Yin Yoga come from?
- This discipline draws its tradition from the Taoist School, that is to say between 500 and 200 years before Jesus Christ.
- Lao Tzu is the great master.
- The I Ching is the oracle advisor.
- The Taoist approach is based on the observation of nature and its Yin and Yang movements. One cannot go without the other: this is the constant cycle of life: no joy without sadness and vice versa. Accepting this permanent change can lead to acceptance, and acceptance leads to a decrease in suffering. Happiness?
Yin contains and becomes Yang
Examples of Yin elements:
The night, the cold, the feminine, the depth, the moon, the winter, the death, the earth, the body, the material, the quantifiable, the water, the connective tissue.
Some examples of Yang elements:
Day, action, heat, masculine, surface, sun, summer, life, sky, spiritual, fire, muscles.
The Yin asanas are the soft positions, of immobility but of deep relaxation.
Yang asanas are the positions that work your muscles and raise your body temperature through action.
- It is composed of Yang tissues: the muscles
- and Yin tissues, i.e. connective tissues (ligaments, cartilage, tendons, fascias).
Finger exercise to understand the difference and where this concept is going:
If you contract your finger you will not go very far in the flexion. On the other hand, if you release your finger you will be able to go much further.
What are the differences between the 2 yogas?
|Long time and immobility of positions||Short time and movement|
|Passive form, slowness, immobility||Active form, rhythm, repetitive motion|
|Targets fascias||Targets muscles on the surface of the body|
|Relaxing the muscles||Contract the muscles|
|Go to the maximum range of motion of the joint||Strengthen the joint with a stronger muscle, do not go to the maximum|
Working on the fascias allows you to gain up to 4% of stretching.
- This yoga does not make you more flexible but more mobile and this is already very important.
- Bone density decreases if the muscles are not used (example of cosmonauts who lose up to 20% of their bone mass and the case of osteoporosis).
There are many movements of the hips, spine and shoulders that can act on the fascia:
Flexion, extension, abduction, internal rotation, external rotation
- The spine:
Flexion, extension, rotation to the right, rotation to the left, lateral flexion to the right, lateral flexion to the left.
Flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation and external rotation.
The energy body
- There are 12 energy meridians in the body, each associated with Yin and Yang pairs. (from Chinese medicine)
- To these 12 are added 8 other extraordinary vessels.
- Each one is associated with an emotion and a chakra, which makes it possible to carry out an extraordinary work when we build a targeted session according to what we wish to work on.
Here is the list of meridians and their emotional benefits as well as the chakras to which they are linked:
- Kidney, bladder (wisdom and gentleness versus deep fear and blockage in grief): 1st and 2nd chakras
- Spleen-Pancreas (loyalty and creativity versus worry, difficulty making decisions and excessive thinking): 3rd chakra
- Gallbladder (courage and determination versus indecision, fear): 3rd chakra
- Stomach (sympathy and compassion versus paranoia and nervousness): 3rd chakra
- Liver (compassion versus anger): 2nd and 3rd chakras
- Heart (right intention versus restlessness, insomnia, difficulty to communicate): 4th chakra
- Pericardium, heart minister (protection of the heart versus heart palpitations, pain): 4th chakra
- Small intestine (separates the pure from the impure versus stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea): 2nd, 4th and 6th chakras
- Triple warmer (regulates water versus lack of appetite, fever, difficulty breathing): 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th chakras
- Lung (feeling of completeness versus hysteria, nostalgia): 5th chakra
They are numerous because this discipline is magic!
- Gain flexibility and mobility
- Slow down the aging of bones and joints
- Calming the mind
- Rest the body and regenerate it in depth
- Detoxify the body
- Improve sleep
- Soothe the stress
- Clarify thoughts and gain mental flexibility
- Releasing blocked emotions
- Release muscular tension
- Reconnect with your senses and intuition
Discover the Gentle Range adapted to Yin Yoga
TWO-STAGE ELEVATED TWIST
THE POSITION OF THE HEART
STRAW IN FRONT AND BACK BENDING
STAG / ANGEL WITH FORWARD AND BACKWARD BENDING
How long should a session last?
The ideal way to practice a Yin session is to have time, but it is also very beneficial to practice a single posture if you don’t have more than 5 minutes, which can already do you a lot of good.
A FULL SESSION
For a complete session I recommend 90 minutes but 60 minutes can also allow you to relax. I’m a pretty stressed person and I have a hard time letting go so for me 90 minutes allows me to access a state of deep relaxation.
ONE POSITION ONLY
Practicing only one posture will allow me to relieve a muscular tension, and it is not enough to calm the mind!
When to practice ?
There is no preferred time except to prefer more active and intense activities before the Yin session. So I would recommend at the end of the day, after work or before bedtime or in the morning or during the day if it is your day off. The calmer you are after your session, the more you will enjoy the benefits of your session.
AFTER A VINYASA OR HATHA SESSION
Yin is an excellent complement to dynamic practices such as Vinyasa, Hatha or Ashtanga. It is for this reason that more and more sportsmen and women are taking up this discipline.
The most important thing is toreach the deepest relaxation of the body and mind, which is totally the opposite of other yogas. It is often difficult for yogis to accept to place a cushion or a brick under their legs for example to assist the postures. Experienced as a failure or a difficulty to perform the posture it is actually the opposite: the more you let go of the ego and accept to use props, the more you will enter the postures and the more you will relax and reap the anatomical and mental benefits of this discipline!
What atmosphere to create to practice?
I attach great importance to the atmosphere when I practice this discipline.
- Settle down in a quiet place
- Light a candle and dim the lights or turn them off
- Purify the air with Palo Santo or white sage
- Spray a natural scent you like on your carpet, your clothes or in the atmosphere ( discover the Yogom waters with orange blossom, monoi, jasmine, coconut)
- Play a little background music: I recommend mantras to reinforce the benefits of mental appeasement(discover the Yogom music playlist)
The great thing about Yin is that the bending postures on the floor will practically work every meridian. You don’t need to be an expert and know exactly which posture corresponds to which meridian or which emotion.
- Select 5 or 6 forward and backward bending postures (which you will hold in 3 and 5 minutes) and abracadabra you have a global session! When the posture is done on both sides, count 3 or 5 minutes on each side.
- Add 5 min of sitting breathing to start
- You can read a text (see Tao reading below) at the beginning of the session
- End your session with a good savasana of 10 min (lying down, feet apart the width of the mat, arms away from each other, palms facing the sky)
- Try to put some postures called welcome postures, that is to say transition postures between each asana: for example 1 minute lying down or 1 minute as a happy child. The welcoming postures also act as counter postures to calm the body in the opposite of the posture it has just done.
How to count time?
- Download the Insight Timer application and set up gongs every 5 minutes for example
- Simpler (that’s how I do it): knowing that I practice in music, I try to hold each posture for the duration of a piece of music which allows me not to look at my phone every minute to know where we are: I let the music guide me.
2 COURSES THAT WE LOVE AND RECOMMEND!
Examples of a course with 20 positions
Session of 65 min:
- Lotus: 3 minutes of breathing and visualization
- Front butterfly: 5 min
- Savasana : 1 min
- Sphinx with elbows on bolster and hands in prayer with thumbs between the eyes : 3 min
- Seal: 1 min with head backwards
- Flat stomach: 1 min
- Saddle with bolster: 4 min
- Lying down position, knees bent together, feet apart by the width of the mat: 1 min
- Right swan: 1 min head back, 4 min bust forward
- Dog upside down 1 min
- Left swan: 1 min head back, 4 min bust forward
- Dog upside down 1 min
- Lace right leg to left: 5 min
- Resting posture: 1 min
- Lace left leg to right leg : 5 min
- Elevated twist left bolster: 4 min + 2 min
- Elevated twist right bolster: 4 min + 2 min
- Heart opening : 5 min
- Savasana : 10 min
Want to train in Yin Yoga in Paris, in the provinces or abroad? Discover our special article yin yoga training !