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Yin Yang

Yin Yoga, entering into your Self by taking a shape to support your body and breath and releasing to gravity. It is an inner dynamic that feels quite different from what may be perceived when looking at the shape of the body with the naked eye, from the 'outside'.

The gift of a Yin practice is a dynamic unfolding of tension from stillness, from the 'inside.' Exerting pressure, using the pull of gravity and the weight of our own body allows more time for tension in the fascia, the connective tissue, that not only runs through the muscles but also around the joints, bones and ligaments. This enables energy to flow organically and comfortably within the whole skeleton whilst lengthening the muscles and improving blood flow not just to the muscles but also to the organs and glands.

A Yang Yoga practice emphasises muscle contraction and release in a visibly repetitive rhythmic outer flow. Known as Yang stretches, we also commonly see them in gymnasts or runners. Yin Yoga is a static, quiet practice that targets the inner workings of the connective tissue and in particular the fascia around the joints, organs and glands. Athletes don't usually retire because of muscle problems, they retire due to injury of the connective tissue that affects mobility of muscles, joints, ankles, backs knees etc. Much the same as what happens with an ageing body.

Because connective tissue forms a mechanical continuum throughout the animal body, even into the innermost part of each cell, Yin Yoga is a great way to ensure healthy connective tissue around bones, joints and ligaments to keep them well hydrated. moist and in good working order. And also to improve restricted movement due to injury, surgery or a sedentary lifestyle. Yin Yoga is a practice to lengthen the muscles to release tension and improve mobility, comfort and range of motion.

There are five main components to a Yin Yoga Practice:

1. Taking a static shape, typically floor poses that may be supported with props

2. Holding the posture with relaxed muscles for 5-10 minutes rather than 5-10 breaths

3. Feeling and allowing pressure thru gravity into the connective tissue in the joints and bones

4. Coming-in slowly, coming out slowly, tracing the same neurological pathways

5. Rest

Because Yin and Yang practices have different focuses they are often practiced separately, however, when practised together they offer a balanced approach to any yoga practice.

Qualities of Yin and Yang

Yin Yang

Hidden Exposed

Dark Light

Cold Hot

Still Moving

Downward Upward

Earth Heaven

Calm Excited

Workshop: Yin Yoga Tue April 16th 1100-1230 Friends Meeting House, see Workshops

Resources: Yin Yoga A Quiet Practice by Paul Grilley

Kathryn qualified with Paul Grilley as a Teacher and Practitioner of Yin Yoga 2001


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