The third installment of this series focuses on the most physical mechanism by which I believe Yin Yoga harmonizes Qi, namely how Yin Yoga impacts the state of energy in the joints.
The second installment of this essay series will lay out a theoretical framework for how Yin Yoga can help support the harmonization of Qi from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
This essay series will draw out some of the many hypothetical mechanisms of how the practice of Yin Yoga can be a powerful tool for harmonizing one’s Qi.
Just as a musician trains their ear, their sense of time, their technique, their sensitivity in relationship to other musicians, in other words, just as a musician can develop these various musical capacities, I see different meditation approaches as ways of deepening and refining contemplative capacities.
When our Qi is harmonized we feel physically relaxed, emotionally grounded, mentally calm and engaged. In other words, Qi harmonization is the basis for a thriving life.
Recently, a question came in about how to assess one’s “progress” in meditation. The question captivated me because I’ve heard many ways of describing meditative progress. In a recent talk, I took a first pass at answering the student’s question.
Embrace the profound simplicity of the Yin Yoga practice with these five basic postures. Physically, this sequence targets all lines of the body for optimal health and function, while providing a necessary nudge towards energetic and emotional harmony.
Before practicing, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the four main principles of Yin Yoga. Please read through the following at least a few times to ensure you are practicing safely and intelligently.
Periodically checking in with “Inner Parts” in your practice tends to promote a greater harmonization of their energies, leading to less frequent periods of internal conflict amongst them. And the inverse seems to be true as well: Neglecting to check in with these parts can lay the groundwork for more intra-personal and inter-personal conflicts.
If you’re in need of some Yin Yoga, but don’t feel like doing much more than lying down, this supine sequence is for you. The entire practice is done on your back, or supine position. It’s about as Yin as Yin Yoga can get, with seamless transitions from one posture to the next and not much effort required.
Yin Yoga emphasizes passive, static postures, held for long periods of time, with our muscles in a relaxed state. Applying this “positive stress” helps promote the strength, vitality, hydration, and mobility of our connective tissues. Let’s look at why.
The “Target Area” is the region of the body that we are intending to positively stress and influence by the practice and execution of our Yin Yoga posture. But in “Playing the Edge,” we want to make sure that we recognize and understand the appropriate and inappropriate sensations in the posture.
A key principle of functional alignment in Yin Yoga is NOT stressing an area of the body you don’t intend to stress. A good way to understand this is through Swan Pose. Let’s look more closely at the anatomy of Swan Pose and the differences between aesthetic vs. functional alignment.
To understand the differences between a yang and a yin approach to the same pose, let’s consider the common cues and benefits of Yang Yoga’s Cobra Pose and Yin Yoga’s Seal Pose.
In Yin Yoga, as in all intelligent forms of physical yoga, alignment matters. But alignment in Yin Yoga has little to do with whether your foot is pointed in the “right” direction, or whether your knee is at a precise 90-degree angle. In Yin Yoga, the functional intention is the only reason to do the pose.
In order to understand what Yin Yoga is really about, it helps to directly address what it’s not about. Clear and safe instructions on how to practice Yin Yoga are critically important, so here’s some straight talk about some of the biggest misconceptions out there.
When students come to a Yin Yoga class, I often get the sense that they think of Yin Yoga as gentle, quiet, and meditative. This idea seems to stem from a common misconception that Yin Yoga is a form of restorative yoga. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For over three decades, Pattabhi Jois sexually and physically abused his yoga students, mostly women. This abuse happened in plain sight. To understand how this was possible requires an exploration of toxic group dynamics, methods of deception, and networks of complicity. Matthew Remski explains this all in his fantastic book, “Practice and All Is Coming.”
Yin Yoga offers many benefits – on a physical level, an energetic level, and a mental level as well. If you’ve been thinking about trying “the other half” of yoga, here are 6 reasons to get started – and stay consistent – with your Yin Yoga practice.
As an introduction to the practice of Yin Yoga, here is a high-level overview about what Yin Yoga is, how it differs from other styles of yoga, and some of the many benefits of a Yin Yoga practice.