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.
Minute of Mindfulness: My blog on the teachings of the dharma.
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.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Stephen Asma, author of Why We Need Religion – a book that dramatically changed my view of religion and its role in our culture. We discussed a wide variety of topics, from how religion has shaped our emotional lives for millennia to predictions for how religion will evolve in America.
In our recent conversation, we discuss the relationship between yoga and meditation, and then I prompt Bob to talk about his new project The Mindful Resistance Newsletter. It is an outstanding weekly digest of current events, presented soberly and succinctly. Bob’s intention is to mute the flame of emotional outrage and overcome the divisiveness of tribalism in order to promote real cognitive empathy and more beneficial engagement.
I had the great pleasure of speaking with David Lesondak about all things fascia. David has the great ability to explain challenging concepts in plain English that are easy to understand. If you do yoga, you’ll want to listen to what he has to say.
Tami Simon is a true pioneer in American spirituality. From Sounds True’s website: Tami, “founded Sounds True at the age of 22 with the mission of disseminating spiritual wisdom. As a pioneer in the conscious business movement, she focuses on bringing authenticity and heart into the workplace while honoring multiple bottom lines. Tami hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today’s leading teachers, delving deeply into their discoveries and personal experiences on their own journeys.”
In this interview, I ask Gil about his new book, The Buddha before Buddhism, in which Gil provides translation and commentary to one of the oldest extant Buddhist texts, The Atthakavagga, or The Book of Eights. What was so interesting for me to hear was that, perhaps, the Four Noble Truths – widely believed to be the first discourse given by the Buddha – may not have been his first teaching, at all.
If you’ve taken my Mindfulness Module, you’ve experienced an exercise where I play a piece performed by Aaron Goldberg’s trio, and we discuss how the layers of jazz are similar to the layers of the meditative process: Body (as the rhythm), breath (as the bass), thoughts (as the piano). And people invariably comment, “Who’s that musician? I love it, and I didn’t think I even liked jazz.” Here’s my interview with that musician – a modern master, Aaron Goldberg.