As a Yin Yogi, I cringe at how this practice is misrepresented on most yoga studio websites and throughout the yoga industry. It begs the question WHO is actually teaching authentic Yin and who is putting their students at risk of serious injury or simply not actually teaching an authentic Yin class? First of all Yin should NEVER be taught in a warm room or after a physical workout whether that’s a Vinyasa class or running or other physical exercises. If the muscle is soft and warmed up and you go into a Yin asana or pose you risk tearing connective tissue and overstretching muscle tissue. Yin should be taught in a cool room. Yin is NOT to be confused with Restorative Yoga, hence it is NOT an easy or gentle practice. It looks deceptively easy because there is use of props and the asanas are done on the floor. They look easy but make no mistake these poses are held for up to 5 minutes. Have you ever held a snake pose for 5 minutes or pigeon pose? It takes you to your edge and holds you there. It is more of an advanced practice because not only are you holding poses for a long stretch of time but you mentally-emotionally-spiritually are given this breadth of time to go deep into meditation and deep into the practice like no other style of yoga allows. In that 5 minute hold of an asana you release “your long held stories” as my Yin teacher Biff Mithoeffer explains. Trauma is held in our connective tissue. The fascia or connective tissue is where Yin asanas are focused NOT muscle. So as we hold these poses we are going into that deep space, we sit with the energy and are able to release, to heal. It is not uncommon for someone to cry in class, emotional release can just be part of the practice. I delight in having both women and men in class because we all need to tap into the Divine Feminine, to cultivate compassion, self-care, and the practice of surrendering to allow instead of striving to make something happen. I’m also thrilled to see the rise in Yin’s popularity, though I am concerned about HOW it is being taught. In Yin we lay down the armor of the Yang battle of our day to day lives in which society pushes us to strive, to push, to climb ever upwards and yet, the paradigm shift to the feminine happened years ago, we must align with that shift, we must as a nation and a global community soften ourselves, cultivate loving kindness and embrace that feminine essence within us all. In my Yin classes I read poetry to inspire and to take you on a journey, a narrative of your spiritual self and then there is silence to abide in, to sink into and ride the asana while being still and silent. Whenever you take a yoga class check the teacher’s qualifications and if you have any conditions or injuries or issues that you let the teacher know before class begins.
Living the Nitya Lifestyle