What is yoga, if not an attitude of mind? A mind that cultivates attention. When we are attentive to something it changes our experience and how we relate to ourselves in the world. The interconnectedness of our bodies, energies, our breath form the opposites of our daily experiences. They are the yin/yang aspects of life. Most people come to yoga through the doorway of the tangible, the body. Overtime they may develop a keen interest in the heart/mind/emotion states, the more yin side of life!
Yang energy and practice are dynamic flowing heating. Yin energy and practice are passive static and cooling. Yin moves us inside. It is simple but mentally stimulating and challenging. It can give us many insights that can provoke changes in our lives. We can experience opening up, yet cultivate acceptance of what is. Above all the practice of yoga is a healing practice. Yin yoga can offer a student a way inside their body/mind complex.
Like two sides of a coin one cannot exist without the other. There is no absolute yin or absolute yang. It is all about balance. For yoga purposes yang tissues relate to the muscles, skin yin tissues to our bones, joints, and ligaments. Muscles relate well to rhythmic, repetitive movements, ligaments to gentler pressure for longer periods of time. If there is too much stress on a joint the muscles around it will tear first, then the ligament and then the joint may become damaged. Yang yoga therefore is designed to not stress joints. Yin yoga is designed to affect the ligaments and to regain space and strength to the joints.
Test this with your finger – Hold your right hand out in front of you and stiffen the muscles and fingers, now try to lift your index finger upwards to the ceiling. Relax your arm, shake out your hand and try again this time stay relaxed in the muscles, see how you can lift your finger up.
Up to 30% of our muscles are made of fascia anyway , but as we age after our mid- thirties and upwards these tissues become more brittle, joints more un mobile and we stiffen up. The optimum time for balance of a yang/ yin practice is between 20’s and 30’s.
Stretching - Applying a stress in muscles that results in a stretch
Stressing - Tension placed around a tissue
Yin yoga is designed to stress the tissue not stretch them.