Neither Yoga for Lazy, nor just hanging out on aids. Yin Yoga embodies embodied sciences of Taoist and Tantric healing systems that view yogis and yoginis from a holistic perspective of balanced energies.
Yin Yoga is a quiet, inward-looking style of yoga that keeps passive postures on the floor long. The Taoist insights of Chinese medicine of a meridian system (energy channels) in the body have flowed into Yin Yoga. Organs and meridians running through them can be assigned yin and yang shares. Asanas can act on certain organs in such a way that a balanced ratio of yin and yang qualities can be established. Paul Grilley can be described as the “originator” of Yin Yoga, in which all the authors represented here have learned. Paul Grilley, Yin Yoga – Principles & Practice : Connections for Real Anatomy Enlightenment
Paul Grilley’s approach goes back to the meridian theory of Dr. Ing. Hiroshi Motoyama, a master of Chinese medicine, on the anatomy of Dr. Ing. Garry Parker and Paulie Zink’s Martial Arts and Taoist Yoga. Paul Grilley’s book is a history of (Yin) Yoga and its (energy) theories.
The connections of the three bodies, of chakras and meridians, are shown very clearly: causal, astral and physical bodies are interwoven and influence each other through special centers on the spine and brain, the chakras. The energy that flows through these chakras is called chi; The energy that flows through channels in our body is called meridians.
Grilley’s anatomy links allow us to understand why we should practice (should). They were a real insight boost for an anatomy dude like me.
There are three sequences offered – listing only the names of the asanas – one of which is dedicated to the spine and pelvis and legs, and a third, which combines both. The yin asanas are explained individually and briefly.
The strength of thisBOOK is above all the background knowledge. I would recommend it to theory interested yogis.
Sarah Powers, Insight Yoga : Meridians and Buddhist Mindfulness
Sarah Powers we owe the name Yin Yoga and especially its popularity. It’s not all about yin reinforcing sequences, but above all a balancing of both energies, the receptive, allowing side (yin) and the dynamic, energetic side (yang).
Her book Insight Yoga answers questions like what chakras are and how they affect us. What is Qi and what do we mean by Prana? What exactly do we mean when we talk about meridians and to what extent is there a connection between acupuncture and yoga? How do asanas affect meditation? How does meditation affect asanas?
For example, in theBOOK you’ll find an illustrated yin yoga sequence for the kidneys and bladder, including hands-on information about which meridians are stimulated in a particular asana and how they are anatomical.
Especially detailed are the movement descriptions, how to get in and out of the asana. There are well-described variations of posture, such as in the case of a herniated disc or when displaced in the iliosacral region.
Sarah Powers’ interest in self-inquiry is not just about how these long-held yin asanas affect their physical flexibility, but also on overall health and wellbeing.
The Yin’s special ability to cultivate a non-defensive inner attitude towards sensations offers the opportunity to practice Buddhist principles of mindfulness. She also gives a three-step guide on how to get into the state of mindfulness meditation and discusses different postures according to physical limitations.
ABOOK that conveys theoretical knowledge of meridians as well as a practice book to assemble your own yin practice and to get in-depth information on variations and effects.
Biff Mithoefer, The Yin Yoga Kit. The Practice of Quiet Power : The construction kit for your own practice
Biff Mithoefer’s kit book consists of a book, 14 asana cards and an audio CD. Biff’s voice on the CD immediately speaks to me in a permissive, non-defensive Yin attitude. Ingenious I find the simple idea handy index cards of Yin Asanas with photos and short, concise texts on effect, movement instructions, variations, stimulated meridians and precautions.
On the maps are two photos with different range of motion (hyperflexible versus limited range of motion) shown. These are meant to remind us that our anatomical individuality determines how an asana appears from the outside, regardless of its energetic effect.
The combination of the set is all about developing your own Yin practice. Extra tip: Since there are a clear number of asanas in the Yin (which also have different names than in the Vinyasa), the cards can also be used for practicing the sequences of other teachers andBOOKS, and of course for dealing with your own Yin Use practice. In the appendix there are ready-made sequences of different lengths and organs and meridians and tips for using acupressure points.
Extra tip 2: In iTunes or similar, the tracks of each asana can be sorted into a playlist in the desired order so that you can practice your own sequence with the Biff audio manual. Track 13 can be used (on repeat) as a timer for its own sequence without audio instruction: After five minutes, the sound sounds twice and announces the time for the change to the next asana or the intermediate relaxation. So you do not have to keep track of the time and can concentrate on the asanas (with the help of the cards if you wish).
The theoretical part deals with the Taoist concept of yin and yang and the meridian system, energy theories of chi and prana as well as the tantric chakra system of energy centers. The practical part presents the 14 asanas individually, including the mentioned meridians and chakras.
I am also convinced by numerous tables on attributes of the meridians and chakras – even if this is something for the advanced occupation with the topic. The heart of the Yin practice of biff, mindfulness and loving-kindness are also devoted to chapters. Separate chapters discuss, among other things, the anatomy of the connective tissue, the sacrum, lumbar spine, pelvis, spine and the relaxation of the iliosoplasm.
Bernie Clark, The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga. The Philosophy & Practice of Yin Yoga : A Comprehensive PracticeBOOK
Bernie was a student of Sarah Powers and has already published his second Yin Yoga book. The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga is the more up-to-date, partially expanded version of Yinsight’s: A Journey into the Philosophy & Practice of Yin Yoga , responding to the desire of Bernie’s students to read detailed instructions to safely get into the asanas and, above all to come out again.
It also discusses how Yin Yoga may be helpful for specific needs or limitations (including tips to adjust the practice when pregnant or having children).
Furthermore, the Complete Guide offers more sequences, each aimed at different body parts or meridians and background knowledge about the Taoist story and its influence on Yin Yoga. The effects of Yin Yoga on connective tissue, fascia and muscles are described in detail.
Yinsights, on the other hand, is even more dedicated to the philosophy and development of yoga in general. Nevertheless, large parts of Yinsights are repeated in the Complete Guide.
Preview : Soon a German translation of Bernie Clark’s Complete Guide to Yin Yoga will be published.
Norman Blair, Brightening our Inner Skies – Yin and Yoga : poetry and aesthetics of Yin Yoga
The book Brightening our Inner Skies – Yin and Yoga captivates at first glance through its aesthetics – just leafing through the pages, between artsy photographs, drawings and poetic texts calms the mind. It’s so much more than just a yoga book. It can open the mind and offer a gentleness that can inspire and enrich our practice – even beyond the mat.
Although Asana is also an issue, Norman Blair has published a book for the mind. The boundaries between yoga mat and life beyond the mat, between asana and mindfulness blur. Asana is presented as a way to reflect our inner responses in relation to our practice. What do these reactions reveal about the habits of our mind in our daily lives?
One can read the author’s own path, the history of yin and yoga, the principles and benefits of this practice, and a look at modern yoga, modern societies, and opportunities for individual transformation.
The statements of the individual poses conclude with a short story that is reminiscent of our human vulnerability and that we always have the opportunity to reorient our mindset – so that our inner skies can be brighter . This possibility of a shifting is the actual intention of the book.
In the appendix, sequences are proposed that set different emphases and are based on meridians.
While Paul Grilley and Bernie Clark are approaching Yin Yoga through anatomy, Norman Blair has neglected another, a poetic approach, without any functional aspects. It’s a book that wants to touch, that you have to leaf through to perhaps stop and read on any page, maybe even during Yin practice. As if you had tarot cards in book form for the yoga practice. Maximum recommendation.
Helga Baumgartner, Yin Yoga : Quick Knowledge at a Glance
Helga Baumgartner can not only be read but also listened to because the book is accompanied by an audio CD. Before deciding on a guided sequence, an audio introduction is also offered.
The text provides comprehensive and easy-to-understand background information on the chakra system, main meridians, breath in Yin Yoga, and the Five Element Doctrine. The associated typology with its respective dominant meridians is discussed in detail.
All in all, the book is very clearly and vividly illustrated with numerous graphics and illustrations. The asanas are comprehensively discussed individually and clearly arranged info boxes mention possible aids and addressed meridians.
At the end, there are sequences associated with the five elements that can be captured quickly by the purely photographic representation, such as when you want to practice at home without announcements. Possibly a decision factor: Last but not least, besides the German translation of Sarah Powers’ Insight Yoga, it is the only German-language Yin Yoga book presented here.
Following the tradition of Taoism, it is emphasized again and again that yin and yang do not stand for opposite styles, but describe much more proportions, qualities and levels of a phenomenon. Yin always occurs together and in relationship with Yang; one is inconceivable without the other. Yin is the stable, motionless and hidden aspect of a thing, while Yang stands for change, movement and revelation.
The fascial tissue is assigned to yin, muscular structures of the yang property. Therefore, in Yin Yoga, we try to work with as little muscle-controlled activity as possible, but just as much as necessary, to allow the connective tissue to expand, allowing the energies to flow unhindered again.
If you just want to buy a Yin Yoga book (of all those presented here) and expect a comprehensive, hands-on and well-founded guide, my choice would fall on the Complete Guide by Bernie Clark.
I hope these book introductions have inspired you to immerse yourself deeper in Yin Yoga and to discover the magic of this quiet, inconspicuous practice. Which (Yin) books inspired you? Let me know in the comments.