Over the past 6 years, I have developed an affinity for practicing in heated environments. I love hot yoga. And while I have definitely experienced life-changing benefits associated with an extroverted, hot, high activity “Yang practice”, I recently developed a hunger for the cool nurturing nature of Yin Yoga.
Yin is an introverted subtraction practice.
Yin offers no chatter, fast paced movements, pop music playlists, dialogue-driven repetitive sequencing, or anything else that might distract one from their thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations. Yin is a closed-eyed, still meditation where I am left to be completely unto myself, and encouraged to notice all parts of it, at every depth.
The tendency for there to be more tranquil smiling — and less talk— after a Yin class, seems symbolic of its temperament. Yin doesn’t push. It doesn’t compete or compare. Yin sits in silence, and waits patiently, creating deep relaxation, fluent self-acceptance, and a gentle surrender to gravity.
Developing the art of stillness, and allowing sensations to ripple and pass has brought about an unexpected, passive reshaping for me. Yin communicates assurance that it is possible to move away from our persona driven culture of self-promotion, and step into a steadfast orientation towards receptivity, attraction and flow.
Yin yoga blends teachings of two different lineages: traditional Indian Hatha yoga and the Chinese Taoist yin yang philosphy. The “manner of sitting” is derived from Hatha yoga, but the process of holding in stillness for an extended time (up to 5 - 10 minutes) is rooted in Chinese medicine and the meridians of energy flow, or Qi also used in acupuncture. (Reinhart 2017)