Restorative yoga for injury prevention and healthy joints
Yin Yoga was developed by martial arts expert and Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zink in the late 1970s. Zink’s yoga was originally called “Yin and Yang Yoga”, but was later shortened to “Yin Yoga”. It consisted of a mix of Hatha Yoga postures (asanas), Taoist Yoga disciplines, and insights from his own experiences.
This yoga was not solely yin (restorative) focused, and Yin Yoga was further developed by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Paul Grilley studied yoga under Paulie Zink and was also influenced by his own anatomy studies and the Japanese scholar and yogi Hiroshi Motoyama. Motoyama had done extensive research on the physiology of traditional Chinese medicine and was especially interested in the passage of qi (the life force) through the body’s meridians (pathways of qi).
Grilley incorporated the meridian teachings into his type of Yin Yoga, focusing on relaxing yin postures to open these meridians. Then Sarah Powers, yoga teacher, and Grilley’s student started to incorporate Buddhist psychology in her Yin Yoga classes, which Grilley considered a good idea. It is Grilley’s and Powers’ Yin Yoga that we teach at Yogateket.
Yin Yoga is thus a blend of Taoist Yoga, Chinese medicine, and Buddhist psychology. The goal of Yin Yoga is to surrender to the postures and “rest into shape”, to open and restore the flow of energy in your body.
To do this, you need to release tension in your muscles and make supple that which is tight. Therefore, Yin Yoga focuses on postures that lengthen the muscles and the connective tissue, especially around the hips, pelvis and lower back. All postures are performed sitting up or lying down and are held for 3-5 minutes. The length of time in the postures is necessary to properly lengthen and increase the elasticity of the connective tissue surrounding the joints.
With aging and physical activity, the elasticity of the connective tissue decreases. Keeping it suttle is essential to avoid injuries and improve joint health, making Yin Yoga great for injury prevention. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to practice mindfulness and to be relaxed and calm. It is restoration for both body and mind.
Some benefits of Yin Yoga
· Creates stillness in body and mind
· Significantly reduces stress
· Offers deep relaxation
· Increases flexibility of the joints
· Revitalizes the tissues of the body
· Increases the ability to be present in the moment
· Builds fortitude and perseverance