Most yoga that you practice is likely yang in nature like a Vinyasa Flow. A dynamic class that is active to a certain degree working your muscles, building strength, stamina and flexibility.
In contrast Yin Yoga (1) is a stable and passive practice where grounded poses are held for about 3 to 5 minutes with gravity deepening the pose. When holding a yin pose it tends to feel almost meditative to me and pushes me to a new edge. I usually leave class feeling rejuvenated and a bit taller like my body has been stretched straight.
Read on as Michelle, a Yoga District teacher, talks about her experience with Yin Yoga and maybe try a Yin class or her Yin workshop for yourself.
Yin Yoga’s Power
As I sat back in child pose, I felt a sudden urge to cry. It was as though my 5 year old self was holding me in present form, caressing my back while telling me I’m doing great and will be okay. I didn’t understand what was happening. All I knew was that I couldn’t hold back the tears. I began sobbing like a child in the middle of the class. Concerned by how I would be perceived by everyone around me, I tried to talk myself out of crying. “Stop! You’re being too emotional! What’s wrong with you? Everyone is watching!”
Of course, judging never works and I broke down in an even louder sob. I didn’t know why I was crying but I knew I needed a release. I left class feeling light and revived – like I had untapped a new source of energy. I wasn’t quite sure what had transcended but I knew that Yin Yoga was powerful stuff.
Unlike restorative which is more soothing and prop heavy, Yin is a healing modality by which stillness in certain asanas (poses) stimulates our fascia (2). – the stuff that literally binds us together (i.e. the connective tissue.)
Meridian Lines & Yin Yoga
According to Dr. Motoyama (3), fascia runs along the same pathways as the energy lines/meridian lines of Ancient Chinese Medicine. So by stressing the fascia, we stimulate the energy lines inducing certain physical and emotional responses. Responses can vary according to the organ that’s stimulated – for example during the last YinDulge Yourself Workshop in June some participants shared they felt “so open” and “light” in their upper body. They felt a sensation of their “hearts overflowing” and some went on to describe a “euphoric state”. These are all effects associated with stressing and releasing the pericardium fascia which run along the heart and lung meridians (shoulders, rib cage, belly).
If we give ourselves permission to slow down, sense ourselves, take up space, and observe our thought patterns then we are able to access our deeply written programming. With enough practice and skill Yin Yoga gives us the opportunity to rewrite our own stories.
What you can Expect in a Yin Class:
- Longer held meditative poses (usually on the ground)
- Non active stretching (ie folding forward vs. pulling forward)
- An opportunity to tune in to the patterns of tension in our body and mind, followed by a release or sense of spaciousness in both the mind and body
- A sense of rejuvenation and increased mobility of the joints
For a taste of Yin Yoga’s power, try one of these Yin Yoga Yoga classes at Yoga District:
- Mondays 5:30 PM, Yin Yoga @ Dupont
- Mondays 6:40 PM, Yin Yoga @ 14th St
- Tuesdays 8:00 PM, Yin Yoga @ 14th St
- Tuesdays 7:00 PM, Candlelight Slow Core Flow + Yin @ I Street
- Tuesdays 8:00 PM, Yin & Yang Yoga @ H Street
- Wednesdays 8:00 PM, Yin & Yang Yoga @ H Street
- Wednesdays 8:00 PM, Release & Restore: Yin + Restorative Yoga @ 14th St
- Thursdays 6:35 PM, Flow + Yin Yoga @ 14th St
- Friday 5:30 PM, Yin Yoga @ Dupont
- Friday 5:15 PM, Yin & Yang Yoga @ H Street
- Friday 6:15 PM, Candlelight Yin Yoga @ I Street
- Saturday 6:00 PM, Yin & Yang Yoga @ Dupont
- Saturday 6:15 PM, Candlelight Yin Yoga @ Bloomingdale
- Sundays 2:30 PM, Yin & Yang Yoga @ Petworth
- Sundays 8:00 PM, Yin + Yoga Nidra Yoga @ Bloomingdale
Yindulge Yourself: A Yin Yoga Workshop
- Saturday 9/28 4:00-6:30 Bloomingdale
- Saturday 12/21 4:00-6:30 14th Street
- Sign up here
Yin yoga is a calm and gentle practice that helps relieve tension in the mind and body. The passive long-held poses help stretch the deepest parts of us, the connective tissue or fascia. Yin gives us the opportunity to slow down – to notice our tension patterns and free ourselves from anything that might be holding us back. During the practice, we’ll focus on softening our lower body and releasing tension in our legs, hips, pelvis and belly.
This workshop is designed to promote healing by targeting the liver and kidney meridian lines which according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, govern our stress level and responses, movement, detoxification, and emotions.
I hope you’ll join me at this Yin Yoga workshop, designed to detoxify the kidneys and liver channels.
- Michelle Bermúdez
- Wellness Practicioner
- Healing Love, LLC
- Yin Yoga https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/5216/yin-yoga
- Fascia https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4173815/
- Theories of the Chakras https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1924113.Theories_of_the_Chakras#