Yin is a receptive style of yoga that stretches and stimulates the connective tissue of the body; it’s a great compliment for the more common “yang” or active forms of yoga. Yang styles are great for stretching and strengthening the muscle tissues of the body.
Connective tissue includes ligaments, tendons, and fascia: it’s tissue that crosses from one side of the body to the other, providing stability and counter balance in our movement.
Paul Grilley is the originator of what today is known as “Yin Yoga.” He says that yin rehabilitates bones and connective tissue. This is a passive form of yoga where each pose is held for 3-5 minutes and are done on the floor.
Holding the poses for this extended amount of time allows for adequate release and softening effect on the fascia. It takes time for the connective tissue to change shape. It’s continually contracting. When practicing in a yin style, there may be considerable sensation involved because of this tightly contracted state, but there should NOT be any pain!
here are some resources to learn more about yin:
Paul Grilley, Yin Yoga: A Quiet Practice. Ashland OR: White Cloud Press, 2002.
Paul Grilley, Yin Yoga DVD, distributed by Pranamaya