Yin and Yang Yoga

Yin & Yang Yoga
By José de Groot
Published in Yogagenda 2014  

Yin Yoga is hot! More and more yogis start to get ‘hooked’ to this quiet, intense and meditative practice. Though, funny enough most people come to their first Yin class not knowing what to expect and what the difference is between a Yin and Yang Yoga class. Even so most of them are (pleasantly) overwhelmed by the power of Yin. 

But let me start by explaining what is actually the difference between the two Yoga styles. It is good to know that the terms Yin and Yang come from the Chinese Taoist view, where yang represents the active, dynamic elements of life and Yin the passive and introspective.

Keeping that in your mind Yin Yoga can be best described as a deep and meditative practice that enhances your awareness, allows you to feel more subtle energies and sensations and it teaches you to relax profoundly. It prepares the mind and body for long meditation sessions and stimulates the vital energy (Chi) that flows through the fascia (this is where the meridians are situated) nurturing, balancing and healing your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

‘Yang Yoga’ on the other hand is a term used to refer to all dynamic styles of yoga such as: Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Power, Sivananda, Vini, etc. The goal of these types of yoga is to build internal heat using Ujjayi breath and dynamic sequences consisting of repeated asanas which strengthens, lengthens and tones mainly the muscles of your body. It also enhances your digestion, deepens your breath and relaxes your mind.


So in short, Yang Yoga targets muscle and Yin Yoga targets fascia. In order for you to work out your muscles in Yang Yoga you need rhythmic and repetitive movement. In doing so you will feel more energetic, muscularly flexible, stronger and less tensed. In Yin yoga you stimulate the deeper tissues of your body, called fascia. As these tissues are more rigid it needs a different approach than the more elastic tissues of our bodies like muscles. So, in your Yin practice your aim is to be still in the pose and hold it for a period of five minutes or more, trying to relax instead of engaging the muscles. In doing so, the fascia is being targeted. 

But what is fascia exactly? Fascia is like a net or matrix that holds everything we are together. Your whole body make up is a continuum of fascia expressed in different forms, density and function. Fascia exists for example  within and around the muscle (mio-fascia), in its more dense form it is called a tendon, ligament, joint-capsule, cartilage or bone. Yin Yoga targets all these forms of the fascia, as a result you regain and/or expand its original range of motion.  You will feel more open and flexible especially in the pelvis, your whole back and hips.

Even though Yin and Yang Yoga are different styles, they complement each other in reaching their common goal: to purify, balance and harmonize our bodies and mind. But most of all to enable us to tune in with our true nature so that the energy within and around us can flow freely.

It is essential to remember that no two bodies are alike; the size, weight, form of your bones, organs, muscles, nerves etc. are unique. There is no one in this world exactly like you. In particular your skeletal structure determines, when you have opened up your tissues enough, how you move and why you can’t or can do a certain Yoga pose. So in choosing your yoga practice, either Yin or Yang or a mix, the key part is to develop awareness which helps you to observe your daily needs (mentally, emotionally and physically) so you can adapt your yoga practice to them. In doing so your practice will be balanced out, personal, therapeutic and a lot more fun!

The growing popularity of Yin comes from a realization that many of the ‘Yang’ Yoga practices popular these days are a reflection of our very Yang style of living. They enhance the Yang energy even more, creating more disbalance instead of coming closer to the peaceful middle of activity (yang) and passitivity (yin).

Bio Jose:

Jose teaches mainly Yin but also Hatha, Vinyasa and Vini Yoga since August 2006, after having completed a Yoga Teacher Training of 200 hours in Barcelona. Since then she continues her yoga studies with teachers all over the world like: Paul Grilley, Sarah Powers and T.K.V. Desikachar. Currently Jose offers weekly classes, several workshops, Yin Yoga & Anatomy Teacher Trainings and retreats in the Netherlands, Spain, Finland and France.
If you want to know more about Jose check out her website: www.yogatreat.eu

Posted on dinsdag februari 26th