Yin Yoga Notes
notes from a few hours of research on "Yin Yoga"...
see yinyoga.com notes collected from various websites: yin yoga place stress on deeper joints and ligaments and the body will start to build bac k and find opening in them... the important thing is consistency in practice! lower back, hips and lower body important for straight spine in meditation! ene rgy travels up and down the spine! ----From my own experience, you can mix and match which organs you are targeting, bu t generally, I would do something for the Kidneys in every practice. The Kidneys are the home of Jing, which supports and nourishes all the other organs. Backbe nds are good ways to work the Kidneys: Sphinx or Swan will do it. There are seve ral flows in YinSights that target specific organs, including the Kidneys. (http ://www.yinyoga.com/ys2_22.214.171.124_flow_for_kidneys.php) In Yin Yoga we generally target the lower body, and thus we work the lower body meridians and thus their pertaining organs. (See YinSights again for the meridia ns and organs: http://www.yinyoga.com/ys1_126.96.36.199_the_meridians.php ) This means we predominantly work the Liver/Gall Bladder, the Kidneys/Urinary Bladder and t he Spleen/Stomach. I usually have one of these pairs as my main target area when I do an organ-specific practice, but again, I will always work the Kidneys too. ---------------In Yin Yoga we are not actually trying to warm up; we want the muscles to remain cool, so that they are not taking up all the stress of the postures. When the m uscles are cool, the stretch can go deeper into the connective tissues. But we s till want to have a period at the beginning of the practice when we ease into th e body. There are a few asanas that work well at the beginning of a practice to get us started. ------http://www.paulgrilley.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19:stret ching-ligaments-a-yogis-apology&catid=9:pauls-writings&Itemid=11 The natural therapeutic for ligament contracture is long, sustained traction. Li gaments are formed of overlapping slender filaments of collagen. In sustained tr action ligaments respond by sliding their filaments past one another which resul ts in a longer ligament. The matrix of cells around these filaments also becomes healthier and this results in stronger ligaments as well. This allows for great er range of motion and less chance of injury. Whenever a ligament is being stressed the force must be gentle and sustained. If too much force is used the ligament will be strained or torn. If the stress is too brief the ligament will remain unaffected. The analogy is that of stretching taffy versus stretching a rubber band. Muscles are like rubber bands, they can be stretched easily. Ligaments are like taffy, if they are pulled too hard they tear. But if a modest stress is placed upon them and sustained then they gently elongate without tearing. Although these elongations are minute they are necessa ry to balance against contracture. Some yoga poses can be done with the specific intention of beneficially stressin g the joints. Doing poses with the intention of stressing a joint is called Yin yoga. Yin yoga postures are done while seated on the floor so the muscles can re lax. When the muscles are relaxed the ligaments take the stress. Yin poses are d one very gently for up to five minutes at a time or even longer.
. ----The faster-paced yang-style yoga, such as ashtanga or vinyasa, targets lengtheni ng and strengthening the muscles, says Oregon-based Grilley, who teaches yoga na tionally and internationally and wrote "Yin Yoga: A Quiet Practice" in 2002. Tao ist-based yin yoga targets the connective tissues, ligaments, joints and synovia l fluid and the energy channels or meridians that the philosophy hypothesizes ru ns through them. Adds the San Francisco-based Powers: "This means that instead of coming into a p ose for a short amount of time and hugging the bones close together by engaging our muscles, [one] needs to pull the skeleton apart non-aggressively and with ap propriate pressure and then remain stationary a while, allowing the muscles to r emain stretched but without engaging them." -------------When you are thinking of the meridian theory, you should think of it in two way s. First there is the yin, which is the physical meridian, the actual structure. Then there is the yang, the chi or prana that moves through the meridians. The analogy would be an irrigation ditch. The physical ditch is a certain width and depth like a meridian. This is yin. The water that moves through the ditch i s like the energy, which is yang. So when you say that you are stimulating the m eridians, do you mean that you are increasing the water flow [yang] or the healt h of the meridians [yin] themselves? Yin is concerned with the actual physical structure and health of the tissue. In Yin Yoga, somewhat paradoxically, the chi temporarily stagnates and leaves you feeling a bit stagnate. That s normal. But in the long run, it improves the health of the tissue. And then later in your life or that day or week, when you move a round or are doing other forms of yoga, you move the chi through the meridians. In the short term, yang practices move the blood and energy and make you feel gr eat, but in the long term they can tear tissue [and comprise health]. Saying that yin is better or yang is better is the wrong approach. Try to see ho w one complements the other. This is Taoist Yoga, but you can call it whatever y ou want. Using the terms yin and yang is a good way to communicate how to be inc lusive with seemingly opposites ... When adapting a Taoist approach, you can alw ays conjure in your mind the opposite situation. -------------It isn t body type so much as what a person needs. It is a question of the yin an d yang balance. If you did a three hour practice one day, then you just need a l ittle bit the next. As the Taoists say: The bigger the storm, the longer it last s. And this changes with the season. In the summer you want to be outside and mo ving. In the winter you want to hole up by the fires and lie on the floor. It is about the natural rhythms ... Winter is yin. Summer is yang. Athleticism needs to be complemented with down time, but because we use artifici al lights and heat, we feel we need to be yang all the time. And that leads to a breakdown. There is a time that you stop and ask yourself: What am I chasing? If there is no yin time to time to stop and reflect there will be no answers. -------------shallow to deeper back bends for kidneys: straddle pose, sphinx, seal (finish with child's pose or forward fold)
down dog after swan feels great shoelace goes to swan ----------Beginning Asanas As we just saw, at the start of our practice we want to ease into the body. Ther e are a few excellent beginning postures that we can use to help us open the bod y gently. These are: Butterfly - loosens up the spine for deeper forward bends Caterpillar - loosens up the spine for deeper forward bends Child Pose - grounding and soothing Dangling - loosens up the spine for deeper forward bends Frog (aka Tadpole) - loosens up the hips and upper back Sphinx - loosens up the spine for deeper back bends Each of these postures begins to work a specific area of the body and prepares i t for the deeper postures to come. A very flexible student could start her pract ice with almost any postures if she remembers the first tattva of Yin Yoga: play your edges appropriately. However, there are a few asanas that definitely need preparation before attempting. Even the most flexible students will want to work up to asanas like Snail, the full Seal or the winged Dragon. Before the Snail, loosen up the neck. Before the deepest back bend like the Seal, do a gentler bac k bend. Before the deepest hip openers, start with milder versions.
--------finishing asana : reclined twist The twist in the spine can be directly higher or lower to relieve whatever area was most worked in the practice. Moving the knees higher toward the armpit bring s the twist more up the spine by curving the spine forward. Pointing the knees s traight away straightens the spine, allowing the twist to be even along its leng th. Moving the knees downward arches the spine slightly, bringing the emphasis i n the twist to the lumbar/sacrum. Of course, twisting the spine can be done in many orientations. You can do it si tting up as well as lying down. And twisting the spine is not the only way to en d your practice; but twisting does restore equilibrium to the nervous system and gets a lot of the residual kinks out of the system. ------If you are short of time, do fewer postures instead of holding many poses for le ss time. It is those last few breaths that give you the most benefit in a pose. It is like that last push-up that strengthens you the most, or that last sugar-f illed, creamy doughnut that puts on the most weight. Of course, there are no abs olutes, so feel free to do the opposite too; do more poses for shorter holds if you have less time. But shortening the time in the poses moves us away from the real yin nature of the practice. If you have time for only one posture, do the B utterfly. ------Personal trainers know that if we work one area of the body today, we need to le t that area recover for at least thirty-six hours or more, depending upon our ag e and the strength of the workout we just did. Tomorrow, the trainer will work a
different area, allowing the first area to get the rest it needs. Rest is essen tial for optimal performance of the body. When we use an area and let it relax, the body naturally ensures that the area becomes more usable in the future. -----Hey Moksaman: here is a sequence I used in my class last night (it was a 75 min class). The theme was the Kidneys Butterfly - 4 mins Snail (option: Caterpillar) - 4 mins Straddle fold over right leg, with twist half way through - 4 mins Straddle fold over lef leg, with twist half way through - 4 mins Straddle fold right down the middle - 4 mins counter poses for ~ 1 min (windshield wipers) Saddle (option Sphinx) - 4 mins Child's pose - 1 min Sphinx - 4 mins Seal - 4 mins Child's pose - 1 min Frog (Tadpole for 2 mins, then full Frog for 2 mins) Reclining twists - 4 mins each side Shavasana. ------http://www.yinyoga.com/ys2_188.8.131.52_flow_for_kidneys.php Flow for Kidneys This flow includes forward and back bends that work these lines very well. Any f low focusing on the spine will be very effective at stimulating and nourishing t he kidneys. Opening Meditation Butterfly for five minutes Windshield Wipers for one minute Dragonfly: fold over right leg for five minutes Windshield Wipers for one minute Dragonfly: fold over left leg for five minutes Windshield Wipers for one minute Dragonfly: fold through the centre for five minutes Table for one minute Seal (or Sphinx option) for five minutes Child's Pose for one minute Saddle pose for five minutes Child's Pose for one minute Dragon with right leg forward Baby Dragon for one minute Overstepping Dragon for one minute Dragon Splits for one minute Down Dog for one minute Child's Pose briefly Ankle Stretch for thirty seconds to one minute Dragon with left leg forward Baby Dragon for one minute Overstepping Dragon for one minute
Dragon Splits for one minute Down Dog for one minute Child's Pose briefly Ankle Stretch for thirty seconds to one minute Caterpillar for five minutes Hug knees to chest, while lying down, for one minute Happy Baby for two minutes Toes to nose variation for one minute Windshield Wipers lying down: knees drop from side to side for one minute Reclining Twist on right side Reclining Twist on left side Shavasana Finishing Meditation Cheers Bernie -------Flow for the Spine 1) Time: Ninety minutes Whenever you work the spine, be alert for any signals of pain; sharp, burning or electrical sensations are indications that you have gone too deep. Come out if you get to that point. Back bends, and long-held forward bends, can become addic ting; beware of overdoing back work.  Opening Meditation in standing position Dangling for three minutes Squat for three minutes Dangling for two more minutes Squat for two more minutes Dragonfly: fold over right leg for five minutes Windshield Wipers for one minute Dragonfly: fold over left leg for five minutes Windshield Wipers for one minute Dragonfly: fold through the centre for five minutes Deer for one minute on each side Caterpillar for five minutes Tabletop Sphinx for five minutes Rest on your stomach or in Child's Pose for one minute Seal for five minutes Child's Pose for one minute Lie on your back and hug knees to chest for one minute Cat Pulling Its Tail for one minute, each side Hinge for two minutes with head up, or support head with hands behind head Happy Baby for two minutes Hug knees for one minute Snail for three to five minutes Mild Fish or upward facing Cat for a counterpose Reclining Windshield Wipers for one minute
Reclining Twist on right side Reclining Twist on left side Shavasana Finishing Meditation -----------------------------Flow for the Hips 1) Time: Ninety minutes This flow will get deep into the hips' sockets - it may be quite intense. Watch for any emotions that arise during the flow. Don't be alarmed, and don't stop ju st watch the ebb and flow of feelings. Rod Stryker once asked his class, "If you have never cried, or laughed, during a yoga class, what are you waiting for?" N aturally, if it is a struggle to stay in the pose, if the body is tightening ins tead of releasing, you have gone too deep and will need to back off a bit. Opening Meditation Child's Pose with knees apart for one minute Frog tadpole for two minutes Frog full frog for two minutes Child's Pose with knees together for one minute Shoelace with right knee on top for five minutes Swan with right leg back for one minute Sleeping Swan for four minutes Square with right foot in front of left knee for five minutes Windshield wipers or tabletop for one minute, as the counter pose Shoelace with left knee on top for five minutes Swan with left leg back for one minute Sleeping Swan for four minutes Square with left foot in front of left knee for five minutes Windshield Wipers or tabletop for one minute as counter pose Sphinx for five minutes, with, optionally, Seal at some point during this time Child's Pose for one minute Saddle for five minutes Child's Pose for one minute Dragon Cycle right leg forward Baby Dragon for one minute Dragon Flying High for one minute Dragon Flying Low for one minute Dragon Wing for one minute Down Dog for one minute Dragon Cycle left leg forward Baby Dragon for one minute Dragon Flying High for one minute Dragon Flying Low for one minute Dragon Wing for one minute Down Dog for one minute Twisted Roots on right side Twisted Roots on left side Shavasana Finishing Meditation ----
Flow for the Liver 1) Time: Ninety minutes The keys to stimulating energy flow to the liver are the Gall Bladder and Liver meridians. The Gall Bladder lines run along the outside of the leg and the outer hip. From there they zigzag their way up the front and sides of the ribs to the shoulder and face. The Liver lines come along the inside of the ankle, along th e inside of the leg, and through the groin before going inside the body toward t he liver. To help activate the Liver and Gallbladder it is useful to activate the Kidneys too. The Kidneys support all the internal organs. The Kidney lines run along the inside of the legs into the groin, where they combine in the sacrum, before ris ing up inside the body along the line of the spine. This is described in more de tail in The Daoist View of Energy. This flow, and any flows, including hip opene rs stimulate the Liver and Gall Bladder lines very well. Opening Meditation Butterfly Dragons Come Move Step
for five minutes into Baby Dragon with right foot forward for one minute: into Twisting Dragon for two minutes back to Down Dog for one minute
Come into Baby Dragon with left foot forward for one minute: Move into Twisting Dragon for two minutes Step back to Down Dog for one minute Dragonfly: fold over right leg for five minutes Windshield Wipers for one minute Dragonfly: fold over left leg for five minutes Windshield Wipers for one minute Dragonfly: fold through the centre for five minutes Table for one minute Sphinx (or Seal) for five minutes Child's Pose for one minute Sleeping Swan on right side for five minutes Square on right side for five minutes Sleeping Swan on left side for five minutes Square on left side for five minutes Cat Pulling Its Tail for one minute on each side Twisted Roots on right side Twisted Roots on left side Shavasana Finishing Meditation ----------A Yin/Yang Fusion Flow 1) Time: Ninety minutes Saul David Raye, a wonderful yoga teacher and Thai Yoga Massage therapist and te acher, channeled this flow. It is a combination of yang and yin movements, which works well with a moderately bright CD playing in the background. 
Opening Meditation Sit in Virasana (on your heels) for three minutes in meditation Neck release: move your head in circles in time with the breath Circle left one minute Circle right one minute Shoulder Circles: move your shoulders in circles in time with the breath Up, back and down one minute Reverse directions one minute Heart Tapping  one minute Use the tips of your fingers and tap up and down on your sternum. Sitting Side Bends while sitting cross-legged Place right hand on floor and left arm up in the air, lean to the right for one minute Switch sides: left hand to the floor, right arm in the air, lean to the left for one minute Sitting Back Bend Place hands behind you, keep your knees low or on the floor and lift your hips forward/upward for one minute Butterfly for three minutes Come to standing: Uddiyana Bandha With empty lungs draw your lower belly in, up, and under your ribs. Agni Sara With empty lungs, slowly pump your stomach in and out. Pressing the Reset Button Make a fist with your right hand and stick out your thumb. Hold your right wrist with your left hand, and gently but firmly push your right thumb into the navel. Relax the stomach on the inhalations and push deeper. If pain occurs, sto p. Large Arm Circles circle the arms in big circles crossing in front of you. Circle in both directions for one minute each Hah Breath Drops With legs wide apart and bent slightly, raise arms up while inh aling deeply and shout "haaah!" as you drop the upper body and arms between the legs. Catch the wave and swing back up as you inhale, and repeat five times. Squat for two minutes Dangling for two minutes with knees very bent: chest and thigh together if possi ble Squat two more minutes Dangling two more minutes with legs straighter Dragon Cycle right leg forward Baby Dragon for one minute Dragon Flying High for one minute Dragon Flying Low for one minute Dragon Wing for one minute Down Dog for one minute Dragon Cycle left leg forward Baby Dragon for one minute Dragon Flying High for one minute Dragon Flying Low for one minute Dragon Wing for one minute Cat's Breath for one minute Flow from upward facing cat to downward facing cat as you breathe. Squat for one minute (it should be much easier this time!) Dangling for one minute
Roll up in Rag Doll to Mountain Pose (Tadasana) Step feet apart three feet; turn feet outward Squat, lowering hips half way to the floor, arms out to the side for one minute Hands pull thigh apart for another minute Side Fold (Parsvottanasana); Straighten legs, keep them apart and fold over right leg for one minute Come up to centre and fold over left leg for one minute Wide Leg Squats: With feet wide apart, squat as low to the floor as you can go; place your h ands on the floor. Walk hands and hips to the right, keeping feet on the floor i f possible (especially the left foot). Walk to the left. Switch sides with each breath. After one minute, remain on one side for thirty seconds, and then go to the other side for thirty seconds. Frog for three minutes Reclining Windshield Wipers. With knees bent, feet on the floor touching the edg es of your mat, drop your knees from side to side for one minute. Happy Baby for two minutes, holding both feet Happy Baby, holding just right foot for one minute, Left leg straight on floor (easier is to place left foot on floor with knee bent) Switch feet and repeat on the other side Reclining Windshield Wipers for one minute Sitting for one minute Shoelace: right side for three minutes Shoelace: left side for three minutes Straighten both legs Bounce the legs on the floor as fast and as hard as you can, for one minute. Bend knees and bounce the feet on floor, for one minute. Go hard! Hamsa Breath: Hear the word "ham" as you inhale and "sa" as you exhale. Slow the breath down so each inhalation and exhalation takes at least four seconds. Do H amsa for two minutes. Shavasana for seven or eight minutes Finishing Meditation ---------Three Beginning Flows 1) Time: Sixty minutes This flow is a gentle one. Hold each posture for three minutes. Relax the body i n any way that feels comfortable for thirty to sixty seconds between the asanas. Opening Meditation Butterfly Dragonfly: fold over right leg Dragonfly: fold over left leg Dragonfly: fold down the middle Sphinx Child's Pose Seal Child's Pose
Half Shoelace with right leg forward Half Shoelace with left leg forward Happy Baby Reclining Twist on right side Reclining Twist on left side Shavasana Finishing Meditation The above flow can be extended to ninety minutes by increasing the holds to five minutes per posture. 2) Time: Ninety minutes Hold these poses for four minutes. This will make this flow more challenging tha n the first flow. Again relax the body in any way that feels comfortable for thi rty to sixty seconds between the asanas. Opening Meditation Frog
tadpole for first two minutes full frog for a second two minutes Child's Pose for one minute Sphinx Child's Pose for one minute Shoelace Sleeping Shoelace Sleeping
with Swan with Swan
right leg on top with right leg back left leg on top with left leg back
Caterpillar Dragon cycle with right leg forward Baby Dragon for first two minutes Overstepping Dragon for last two minutes Down dog for up to one minute Child's Pose for one minute Dragon cycle with left leg forward Baby Dragon for first two minutes Overstepping Dragon for last two minutes Down Dog for up to one minute Child's Pose for one minute Reclining Twist on right side Reclining Twist on left side Shavasana Finishing Meditation 3) Time: Ninety Minutes This flow is more in the Paul Grilley style of shorter holds, but with repeated postures. It won't be necessary to relax as long between the postures here, but be guided by what your body is telling you. Notice how the experience of the But terfly Pose changes each time you come back to it. Use a timer to make sure you are staying in the poses the right amount of time. Opening Meditation Butterfly for one minute Swan with right leg back for one minute
Sleeping Swan for two minutes Butterfly for one minute Swan with left leg back for one minute Sleeping Swan for two minutes Butterfly for one minute Dragonfly for three minutes Butterfly for one minute Sphinx, or Seal, for three minutes Child's Pose for one minute Dragon Cycle: right foot forward - one minute in each position Baby Dragon Dragon Flying High Dragon Flying Low Down Dog for one minute Child's Pose for one minute Dragon Cycle: left foot forward - one minute in each position Baby Dragon Dragon Flying High Dragon Flying Low Down Dog for one minute Child's Pose for one minute with knees apart Frog tadpole for two minutes Frog full frog for two minutes Child's Pose with knees closer for one minute Anahatasana for three minutes Half Butterfly  with right leg straight to the side for three minutes Hug knees to chest, while sitting, for one minute Half Butterfly with left leg straight to the side for three minutes Lie on back and hug knees to chest for one minute Twisted Roots on right side Twisted Roots on left side Shavasana Finishing Meditation