Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘yang yoga’

Yin Yoga Is

Posted by terrepruitt on February 17, 2020

Not too long ago I received a copy of the magazine “Yoga Journal” and was excited to see an article in it about Yin Yoga. It presented Yin Yoga in the light that I was taught. It separated Yin Yoga from Restorative Yoga. It mentioned some science even as to why Yin Yoga is important, so not just talk about energy and meridians, but something that could be measured and shown to those that really need to see some science behind yoga. I will share that post later. Right now I just wanted to do something quick to help give people a quick idea of what Yin Yoga is. When I tell people that I teach Yin Yoga their first question is, “What is Yin Yoga?” This is just a quick bulleted list to help answer that question.

• Yin Yoga is a passive practice.Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD, Yin Yoga

• Yin Yoga has LONG holds.

• Yin Yoga is about connective tissue and meridians.

• Yin Yoga is about being in a pose and not using muscle to get into a pose.

• Yin Yoga is not “Restorative Yoga.”

• Yin Yoga has poses that may seem familiar, but the hold is longer and therefore the intent is different.

• Yin Yoga is primarily an on-the-floor (seated, lying prone, or supine) practice.

• Yin is a cooling practice.

• Yin Yoga is the counter practice to a yang practice.

• Yin Yoga is a still practice.

In some of my previous posts regarding Yin Yoga, I have addressed some of these points in more detail, but in addition to a post with the information from the Yoga Journal article, I might just do a post expounding on each bullet point.  We will see.

What do you think?  Have you ever taken a Yin Yoga class?

Posted in Yin Yoga | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Stressing Not Stretching

Posted by terrepruitt on January 20, 2020

I teach a stretch class. In that class we do static stretches that are meant to stretch our muscles. Sometimes to get people into the stretch I use the name of a yoga pose, but because we are stretching our intent is different. If we were actually in yoga doing the pose we would be including breathing and strengthening, but in the stretch class I try to just make it about stretching the muscles. I may have mentioned before, when I started learning Yin Yoga I was frustrated because the names of the poses were different. I kept saying, “Why are the names different? They are the same poses?” Then I realized that the intent of the pose is different. So it really does serve the student better to call it something different. If I were to instruct students to move into Bound Angle, then people that know this pose would pull their feet in as close as they could pressing their knees towards the earth and lengthening the spine, but in Yin calling it butterfly lets them know that they are not doing the same thing as they would be in a yang class. There is no need to pull the feet in as close to the middle as you can get them and press the knees down, the idea is to soften and round, the head and knees hang resting where they are to help the connective tissue stress (FKA stretch). So the names are different to help remind us that the intent is different. We are not working (stretching, strengthening, moving) muscles; we are relaxing muscles and letting our bodies hang into a pose. In Yin Yoga we are not stretching we are stressing.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD, Yin YogaI often use the same description – stretch – when I am teaching Yin yoga, although that is not the intent. First of all we are focusing on connective tissue and not the muscles, but we still are not trying to STRETCH the tissue. That is what we say, but that it not really what we are doing. Saying we are stretching it does sound better than what we are doing. We are actually stressing it. It seems as if we have been programmed to think that stretching and lengthening are good so that is usually how we describe it. Even when someone goes to the gym they say they are going to “build muscles,” people don’t say they are going to the gym to “break down their muscles” – even though that is actually what they are doing. It is the breaking down of the fibers and the stressing of the fibers that we are actually doing. Then when we rest they build up again or in the case of fascia, return to its normal state stronger and changed for the better.

It is such a habit to say “stretch”. “In Yin Yoga we stretch our connective tissue.” I think I say it because it sounds a little better than stressing. I also keep saying lengthen because it sounds like a goal people want to hear. I think that for many of the people I have encountered stretching and lengthening are goals. Connective tissues doesn’t really stretch out, it gets stressed which helps hydrate it and strengthen it and allow it to move and support us better.

I also feel like some of this is in part due to the fact that many people think of Yin Yoga as Restorative Yoga. Restorative Yoga is more of a relaxing muscle stretching type of yoga. It can help heal the body. There are many props used to allow the participant to lie there in comfort. Yin Yoga is not about comfort. It about stressing that connective tissue which can make the part of the body feel like it aged years over the few minutes you were in the pose. But as long as it is not PAIN or tingling or numbing that is being felt it sounds as if you are doing it right.

In order for the yin pose to be effective it needs to be done for a long time. I was taught that it has to be AT LEAST one minute. But I see some information say it must be longer, but I have also been taught that for many people and for many poses we need to start at one minute because even that is going to feel like an eternity. As the body becomes accustomed to long holds then the time spent in each pose can be longer. I believe the ideal time is from three to five minutes . . . but it also depends on the pose.

Just like with all yoga it is important to listen to the body and not try to compete, the idea is to play the edge yet know when you must stop. Again, we are STRESSING the tissue but we don’t want to stress it past its breaking point. We still must be mindful.

Posted in Yin Yoga, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Yin Yoga

Posted by terrepruitt on April 4, 2018

Have you ever heard of Yin Yoga? It is one of those “new” yogas that is out there. New, as in it has not been around for hundreds of years. It surfaced in the West in the late 1970’s, as taught by Paulie Zink and became more commonly known under the teachings of Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Each having their own style and take on it. Yin Yoga focuses more on the joints and connective tissues as opposed to the more widely known “yang” yoga that focuses on the muscles. Yin Yoga is very slow, in addition each pose can be held from 3 to 20 minutes. As with any type of physical activity when first starting it is recommended to start slow, or in the case of Yin – LESS. So someone first starting out, someone new to the practice, might hold a pose for 1 to 3 minutes and build up to the longer holds. Yin is very interesting, to me, at least, because it not only focuses on the joints and connective tissue, but it also focuses on the meridians or energy channels in the body. So while you are stretching your fascia, tendons, ligaments, and opening the joints, you are also unblocking the meridians and allowing Qi to flow more freely.

I have heard of Qi and the meridians before and, honestly, I am not sure I am a firm believer in all that is involved with meridians and the movement of Qi. But I will say that there is definitely a difference when I do the Yin asana. So . . . I am interested in learning about it.

What we are learning in the Yin Yoga Teacher Training I am taking is about the twelve principal sinew meridians. Meridians are used in acupuncture and acupressure and there are hundreds that travel and weave throughout the body, but the twelve sinew meridians are the ones that are affected the most in the Yin asana or poses. They are the ones that are more easily identified as they can be considered more of “in an area”. Most Yin asana have to do with the lower body and the meridians of the legs.

As I was sitting in the first two lectures about all this information, I was pretty confused (and it wasn’t the first time I had heard some of it). By the second set of lectures I was overwhelmed. But today I went over my notes and a lot of it made sense. And a lot of it sounded familiar, as if I might be remembering some of the information. What I am saying is there is a lot of information so this is just barely touching the surface. It is just a little post that is an introduction to Yin Yoga and its relation to the meridians/energy channels in the body.

Yin Yoga poses affect the different meridians. The time one stays in a Yin pose allows for the body to stretch and the meridians to open or become unblocked and allow the Qi to flow.  Chinese Medicine relates the blockage of Qi to a whole list of symptoms that are related to illness.

Have you heard of Yin Yoga?  What do you think about Qi and the meridians? 

Posted in Yin Yoga, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »