Yin Yoga 101

Yin Yoga is a wonderful compliment to a faster paced practice such as vinyasa or ashtanga yoga. when you look at the two practices as a whole you really shouldn’t have one without the other. Together they make up the complete practice. Yin yoga is for everyone, including well seasoned yogis. This is a great way to recharge your practice, slow down and heal from the inside out.

What is Yin Yoga?

The yin-yang theory, from ancient Chinese philosophy, is a simple but useful way to analyze and understand the practice. Yin qualities include traits like receptivity, allowance, tolerance, deep thought, and relaxation. Yang qualities include doing, directing, improving, achieving, controlling, and becoming. From the Chinese medicine perspective, yin/yang qualities are both essential, and neither is superior to the other. When we understand their connection, we can then promote balance, harmony and the strength within the body and mind.


What is the main difference between a yin and yang yoga practice?

Yang style yoga is more active and fast-paced. While a yang practice emphasizes strengthening and stretching muscle, Yin Yoga highlights passive, static postures, held for longer periods of time, with muscles in a relaxed state. This way, fascia, the deep connective tissues in and around the muscles and joints, are stimulated, stretched, and eventually strengthened.
Each practice benefits both physical and emotional health, but yin yoga is more meditative and grounding, giving you space to turn inward and create balance.

How to Practice Yin Yoga

Yoga teacher demonstrating supine twist on the floor

Supine Twist

Most poses are done on the floor with a primary focus on the lower body (hips, inner thighs, pelvis, low back) where stiffness tends to build up most. Using props to get comfortable, poses are held between 3-5 minutes, with your attention on the breath.

Not only does yin feel wonderfully meditative and restorative, but the healing benefits are endless. To name a few it increases flexibility, restores range of motion, relieves stress, and increases blood flow in turn giving you a refreshing and energetic after glow.

Health Benefits of Yin Yoga

  • Improves flexibility & restores range of motion
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Boosts circulation and increases blood flow
  • Balances mind and body
  • Encourages letting go & slowing down
  • Improves sleep