Ying & Yang Yoga: How Balanced Are you?

Photography: Miimi Moreno

Photography: Miimi Moreno

I had the pleasure of doing a Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Sebastian Pucelle and Murielle Burellier. Direct students of Yin yoga master Paul Grilley, Sebastian and Murielle have introduced me to the world of yoga that is spiritually mystifying, scientifically logical and really, just mind blowing.

Well, isn't Yin yoga simply just stretching?

If this is your thought of Yin, you probably have never done it or have never done it properly.
Physically, Yin yoga focuses on stretching the connective tissues. It requires minimal exertion from the body and uses gravity to slowing release the tissues over time. (2-20minutes) For those who are flexible, it's a breeze to hold a pose this length of time. Now imagine you're the average 'normal' guy/gal, holding a split for 5 minutes will require a lot of mental strength.
This is where the spiritual aspect of yin yoga kicks in. As our mind wanders in a million directions, Yin yoga is to draw your attention (monkey mind) inward and goes within. Often we believe our success or talent lay in our ability to perform a certain asana.

"Look what I can do!" the body said.

Our ability to sit quietly in a pose to confront our inner self requires a lot more strength than it seems. Obviously I'm not undermining the hard work it takes to achieve the 'yang,' vigorous poses. However, in order to achieve the optimal balance, yin yoga must be incorporated in every yang practice.

Now I kid you not, after 4 days of yin practices twice per day, I thought my Ashtanga practice will wither drastically. Surprisingly, it was the opposite. During my practice (Intermediate series) this morning, I was surprised to find my body more flexible and strong. Best yet my mind was sharp and focused.

I'm sure my predominant Ashtanga practice will only get better if I continue to balance it with yin yoga.

Follow the links here to some of the best Yin yoga teachers in the world:

Paul Grilley: http://www.paulgrilley.com/
Sarah Powers: http://www.sarahpowers.com/
Sebastian Pucelle & Murielle Bruellier: http://with-yinyoga.com/
Paulie Zink: http://pauliezink.com/
Bernie Clark: http://www.yinyoga.com/

I wish everyone to try a Yin yoga class and see the great benefits it brings to your body and soul!


This article is written by Annie Au, RYT 500, yoga teacher, traveler and vegan.