In life we find that for every action there is a reaction. If there is light there must be dark right???? Yoga has developed a reputation as a powerful workout with the ability to increase strength and muscular flexibility. We would describe these qualities as Yang. What about the ability to be soft and passive??? In Yin yoga we go beyond musculature into the deep connective tissue that binds muscle to bone, encapsulates the spine and keeps our joints in place. We start with cold muscles so the muscles stay short to allow the the stretch to go deeper into the body.
(click here for a good example of this concept)
Yin yoga is not a restorative practice, but it is passive in the area where we are focusing our attention and can be more challenging than a yang yoga practice for some. The 3 principals of Yin Yoga are... find your edge of resistance, be still and allow the muscles to be soft, and hold the shape for a period of time. We use props such as bolsters (sturdy pillows that hold their shape), blocks, straps, blankets... maybe all of these stacked up to get to a place where you find your personal expression of a posture. This class is ideal for beginners and those recovering from injuries. Holding the postures longer and working supported gives each individual a chance to find your physical limitations, create body awareness and open the body for more yang activities.
www.yinyoga.com- Lots of cool info including listing of postures/modifications
Paul Grilley's site- Known as having created the standard for Yin Yoga
Sarah Powers' site- Well established in Yin community