If you are looking for a way to act on the deep connective tissue in your body in order to stretch thickened muscles and make your body more flexible, you should definitely take a look at Yin Yoga. The style is also a perfect addition to dynamic yoga practice, which has a stronger effect on the muscles.
If you were to sort the different yoga styles according to their dynamics, Ashtanga offshoots such as Power Yoga and Vinyasa Flow would be at one end of the spectrum: after a warm-up phase, it moves quickly and fluently from one body position to the next. The individual asanas are held briefly under full muscle tension.
With Yin Yoga, you find the exact opposite
There is deliberately no phase of warming up and mobilization, instead, you go cold into the body position. The asanas are performed for minutes – which makes it practically impossible to maintain muscle tension for the entire time. Sooner or later you slide deeper into the posture, which also reaches the deep connective tissue.
Because of this opposite polarity, the Yin Yoga followers like to speak of the dynamic variants, which are practiced much more frequently in the West, as “Yang styles”. However, this qualification is not absolute; Yang styles also contain Yin elements.
Although many yin attitudes correspond to or at least closely resemble asanas in yang styles, they often have different names. On the one hand, this has to do with the history of Yin Yoga, and on the other hand, there are small but very important differences from the “classics” – for example, that the back is deliberately bent instead of stretched.
Incidentally, yin yoga should not compete with the yang styles, but rather complement them – just in accordance with the principle of yin and yang.
Yin Yoga became internationally known through Paul Grilley, who neither invented the style nor gave it its name. In fact, Grilley had studied anatomy and taught yang-oriented yoga variations like Ashtanga when he saw a TV report in 1987 about the extremely flexible martial artist Paulie Zink. Grilley contacted Zink, who explained that he owed his flexibility to “Daoist Yoga,” which Kung Fu master Cho Chat Ling had taught him.
Anyone who tries Yin Yoga for the first time quickly realizes how intense this experience is – namely when you can no longer defend yourself against the complete sinking into posture with muscle strength. Then, at the latest, you will notice that Yin Yoga is not quite as cozy as blocks and blankets that are used as aids might make you believe. Over time, thoughts of escape may well arise.
It is also interesting that a lot of attention has to be paid to getting out of the asanas. If you are really stuck in a posture, it is often not so easy.
Some Yin Yoga followers claim that negative experiences are stored in our deep connective tissue, which is solved by daily yoga practice. It remains to be seen whether this is actually the case. What is certain is that Yin Yoga can certainly create a certain “reverberation” in the body. You should definitely try Yin Yoga once.