Yin Yoga was developed by martial arts expert and Taoist Yoga teacher, Paulie Zink, in the late 1970s. Zink’s yoga was initially called "Yin and Yang Yoga", and 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-focused as we know it today.
Yin Yoga was further developed by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. 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 (life force) through the body’s meridians (pathways of qi).
Grilley incorporated the meridian teachings into his type of Yin Yoga, focusing on body relaxing Yin postures to open meridians. Then, Sarah Powers (yoga teacher and Grilley’s student) started to incorporate Buddhist psychology in her Yin Yoga classes, which Grilley thought to be brilliant. It is Grilley’s and Powers’ Yin Yoga that we teach at Yolistic Integrative Wellness.
Yin Yoga is a blend of Taoist Yoga, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Buddhist psychology. The goal of Yin Yoga is to surrender to the body postures and "rest into shape", to open and restore the flow of energy in your body. With aging and physical activity, the elasticity of the connective tissue decreases. Keeping it subtle is essential to avoid injuries and improve joint health, making Yin Yoga great for injury prevention. Furthermore, Yin Yoga provides an opportunity to practice mindfulness and be relaxed and calm; it's energy restoration for both body and mind.
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 your muscles and connective tissue, especially around the hips, pelvis and lumbar spine (lower back). Poses are performed seated or laying 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 your joints.