Posts tagged Yin Yoga
An Introduction to Yin with Jacky Kuo

What does Yin mean?

Taiji Symbol

Taiji Symbol

Yin and Yang came from the Taoism philosophy. Taoism believes living in harmony with the universe and working with the universe’s natural flow (e.g. rather than trying to be the best, try and be simple).Yin and yang are the polarities of a whole, the complementary opposites of dark and light, cold and hot, soft and hard, female and male that allow all things to come into being. They are the two sides of a coin. One cannot exist without the other. Yin and yang are the vibration of the universe, the energy that informs all life. Together they form Taiji (a.k.a. Samadhi in the eight-fold path of yoga): a state of bliss through infinite potential and oneness. See picture to the left for the Taiji symbol.

As you can see from the picture, Yin (Black) and Yang (White) are not opposites, they are relative to one and other. Where you find Yin, Yang will be there and vice versa. 

Yin yoga postures, as created by founder Paulie Zink, are used to actualize the energetic and mystical attributes of various creatures and to stimulate the transformational properties of the five alchemical elements, thus enlivening and harmonizing these qualities within the body and animating the primal spirit that resides within us all. Integrating the power and healing aspects of these energies will help to balance emotions and put one into accord with the true nature of our being.


Traditional Yin Yoga founded by Paulie Zink stems from Hatha Yoga, Taoism philosophy, martial art, Qi Gong and observation of the natural environment. He underwent years of demanding training and esoteric disciplines which he mastered. He has taught thousands of classes since the 1970s, claimed three martial arts grand champions, choreographed routines for music videos and movies and featured in many magazines, articles and documentary programmes (e.g. BBC series “Jerry Hall’s Gurus”).

Elemental Flow and Yin Yoga are both sequences inspired by Paulie’s playful style of teaching that aim to rejuvenate students. Paulie taught me Yin Yoga as he intended it to be, finding Yang within Yin and Yin within Yang balancing the five natural elements. Incorporating continuous, smooth and circular motions that promotes ease, fluidity and grace in the body. Working with both static stretching and dynamic stretching, students are given the option to flow and pause depending on their energy level. 

In both Elemental Flow and Yin we will move in a circle and enhance our linear forward and backwards one direction movement in traditional Yoga. We will face all directions that represent the five natural elements and honour each every time we find our circular transition: east wood, south fire, west gold, north water, mother earth and father sky in the centre. 

Each week, we will focus on connecting and balancing the five natural elements in both Elemental Flow and Yin Yoga. These five natural elements correspond with the five elements that reside within our own body, fire, earth, metal, water and wood; heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys and liver. The two yoga classes are designed to follow the five element meridian pathway and complement each other. Elemental Flow balance wakens the awareness of all five elements and Yin focusing in depth on one particular element and the corresponding meridian pathway. For example, you might find water warrior challenging; in Yin, we would switch the focus to channelling the water element in our body which we are in excess of or craving for.  


What is the idea behind Elemental Flow?

Elemental Flow is designed with an emphasis on nature.

Students are invited to develop a connection to the five elements found within the environment and within the body. Finding harmony between humanity and nature so that we can both thrive. Allowing nature to connect us to a larger system where we can come to terms with what we cannot control and simply follow the order of nature. 

By following the order of nature, we are giving up our false sense of control that social media and consumer advertisement is constantly bombarding us with. Giving up the false sense of control over the weather, time, environment, sound, smell, other people, other vehicles, etc. When we give up these false senses of control, we give up our expectation and starting to look inwards with clarity over our behaviour, mindset, body and breath. 

Jacky teaches Elemental Flow & Yin on Wednesday evenings at Mitcham's Corner. Click here to get yourself booked in and see her other classes.

About the Author


Jacky Kuo

Like most of the people who come to a CAMYOGA class, Jacky started practicing yoga because something wasn’t feeling right (namely poor posture and stress). Despite her career in Psychology research there simply aren’t enough accessible solutions for better wellbeing other than a weekly evening Ashtanga Classes.

As a student and a yoga teacher, Jacky is passionate about dynamic and energetic practise that allow you to ‘empty’ your mind and focus on alignment that continue off the mat. Jacky received her BWY yoga foundation certificate in October 2013 with Cam Yoga and completed her Ashtanga Vinsayas Flow Teacher Training RYS 200hrs in February 2017 in India.


Yin Yoga by Andrea Kwiatkowski

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.

Yin Qualities

  • Dark
  • Cold
  • Inside
  • Solid
  • Slow
  • Dim

Yang Qualities

  • Light
  • Hot
  • Outside
  • Hollow
  • Rapid
  • Bright

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.

Andrea K - Shoelace Pose

Andrea K - Swan Pose

Influences and further,

Books - Yin yoga by Paul Grilley, Insight yoga by Sarah Powers, Theories of the Chakras by Hiroshi Motoyama

Yin & Yang - The theory and yoga practice explained by Simon Low

What is the theory of Yin & Yang?

In essence this ancient Chinese philosophy means two halves that together complete wholeness, two opposite yet complementary energies which are always in movement, never static but always balancing and rebalancing into a state of perfect harmony. We encounter examples of Yin and Yang every day. As examples: night (Yin) and day (Yang), female (Yin) and male (Yang)

How it is relevant to my life?

In our busy and often stressful lives our personal harmony can be seriously off balance. Perhaps you deal with an excess of work and not enough relaxation, lots of time spent thinking about the externals of life (deadlines, daily choices, opinions) and a lack of inner contemplation. Striking a balance with ever changing states of energies is hard (really hard!) but it is also possibly the path to a more contented and harmonized existence

Yin and yang are a wonderful way to generate greater self- awareness and make interesting connections between our own conditions and all our possible interactions with the world we live in. Yin and yang allow us to connect ourselves to everything around us so that we can quickly decide what we need to do to bring ourselves back to a more balanced state when feeling any discomfort.

Yin and Yang in Yoga and Simon Low

Yin and Yang yoga started in the 1970’s but has only recently gained international popularity. Simon Low (who will be at Camyoga in 2015 running workshops) discovered this form in 2001 and is now one the foremost experts in it. Here are extracts from his website explaining this popular form of yoga

YIN              Simon-Low-yoga              YANG YOGA SIMON LOW


"In appropriately balanced combination, the 'whole' is greater than the sum of its two parts, offering the most effective & inclusive approach to yoga that I have ever experienced in over 20 years of teaching & practice. I continue to recognize Yin & Yang Yoga's incredible effectiveness as a modality for health"

Read more about Simon Low’s visit in 2015 and book into his workshops

Please come and experience Yin Yoga yourself at one of our evening classes held at Central CAMYOGA

To read more about Simon Low visit part 1 of my blog on this Yoga legend here


Who is Simon Low? 5 things you should know!

Simon-Low-yoga Simon Low has over 20 years’ experience as a yoga teacher and is internationally acclaimed. Here are 5 things you should know about the charismatic man who will be visiting us next year!

1 - Simon spent 14 years in the music business. It was high flying and fast paced; a life representative of the ‘work hard, play hard’ moto. It wasn’t till he was in his mid-thirties that he first discovered yoga and started his path to become to yogic mogul he is today!

2 - Simon Low was a founding member of one of the first ever yoga studios in the UK – The Triyoga studios in London. Since then he has continued to delve into the world of yoga; founding the Yoga academy, running international courses, retreats, writing books and yoga videos (Yin and Yang Yoga with Simon Low), he has contributed and been covered by various national papers


3 - Simon is a LEGEND in Yin & Yang yoga (Yin and Yang to be explained in part 2) Simon is famous in the world of Yin and Yang yoga. He views yoga practice as a balance between the body and mind, the spiritual and the emotional, the physical and the mental. He talks of Yin yoga practice as a form of therapy to actively change negative patterns within our minds. This can have successively positive and lasting effects on our wellbeing and is something that is at times forgotten in the modern world within the focused ambition to improve the physical body. “the essence of yoga…is observing our mental attachments, observing our patterns – the whole process of yoga it to undo patterns and to really open us up to the reality of how our mind shapes our experiences”


Simon-Low-Yoga-24 - Simon is an open minded scholar. Simon first trained to be a yoga teacher with Dr Larry Payne at Samata in Los Angeles and has spent over 20 years studying and exploring a varietal wealth of physical, energetic and spiritual practices. You get a real sense that he has studied an incredible amount with gusto and he intertwines his style of yoga with what he learns about anatomy and physiology among other areas of interest

5 - Simon is passionate and outspoken about safety. He teaches his students that they must understand the need to protect themselves and that yoga can cause harm if not practiced correctly. If he believes a classic asana may have the potential to damage he will apply adjustments, for example with Warrior II pose, which he considers to put strain on the lower lumbar area.


In the proximate chapter of this blog we will focus specifically on Yin and Yang yoga and Simon’s teachings within it.

Simon comes to CAMYOGA in 2015: A weekend with SIMON LOW

Research and quotes taken from: Telegraph Interview by Anna Murphy. Interview by Christina Maningo for In The Loop and from Simons own website

Yin + Meditation Sequence 3: Backbending

andreaThe following Yin sequence has been designed by Andrea Kwiatkowski. It is only suitable for those with Yin experience and should not be done by anyone with medical conditions which affect their practice. Please consult Andrea after class for further guidance. Click here to find out more about Yin and Meditation, as part of our Focus: On series.

Thank you to Andrea for so generously sharing these powerful practices with us.