I have written briefly about yin and yang with yoga but it wasn’t until this week when reading, Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers, that my understanding of the two concepts expanded. Rather than me trying to summarize what I read, I will just directly quote what Sarah provides as a great overview in her book. She writes “…a skillful yoga practice can allow both sides of our nature to be inhabited, the receptive, allowing side (yin) and the dynamic engaging qualities (yang).”
...the yogic term for any physical-based practice, Hatha, reflects [yin and yang] these two distinct yet unified energies. Hatha can be broken into its two parts: ha, meaning the warming, sunlike manifestations (from the sun god Surya); and tha, meaning the cooling or moon elements (from the moon goddess Chandra). Hatha yoga is a marriage of ha and tha, a balanced equilibrium of yin and yang energies. The terms yin and yang reflect these same coessential opposites.
Sarah continues to write:
"Yang yoga practice primarily targets strengthening and lengthening muscles, which of course also improves the health of the organs and bones as well as the circulatory and respiratory systems."
"...[yin] practice...is mainly stationary and allows many of the muscle groups to soften, while exposing the joints to pressure as the skeleton is pulled apart..."
"Yin and yang are adjectives that describe the way chi manifests itself...". In most cases, each pose can be practiced in either a yin or yang way depending on what physical demands are put on the body. I had never thought that poses could be both yin and yang. It is remarkable how the body can be flexible and yet strong. Depending on how the body is directed, it can focus more on yin or yang. Love it! My yoga practice has now grown in the multitudes!
Now I need to be more aware of what type of direction I am going with each respective session - more yin or yang. I've noticed classes listed as one or the other. I'm excited to try both.
I'll keep you posted as to how it goes - yin and yang,
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.