While all yoga practices trace their roots to India, a number of yoga styles that blend a variety of influences have emerged in the United States. One style growing in popularity is referred to as “yin yoga.” Yin yoga blends the Taoist meridian and acupuncture theories of China with the yogic and tantric theories of India, according to Paul Grilley. Grilley trained with Paulie Zink and Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama, a yogi, Shinto priest and scientist from Tokyo with expertise in both Indian and Chinese medicine.
From a Taoist perspective, muscles and blood are yang and connective tissues and joints are yin, explains Grilley. Yoga practices that focus on muscular movements are therefore more yang in nature. Practices that emphasize the connective tissue of the hips, pelvis and lower spine are more yin.
In yin yoga, postures are held anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes at a time. On a physical level, passively holding postures allows for more release in the joints. Yin yoga encourages meditation; enhances the meridians, or nadis, in the yogic system; and is believed to support the organs, strengthen the immune system and lead to emotional well-being and balance.
To learn more about yin yoga, visit www.paulgrilley.com; www.sarahpowers.com; www.pauliezink.com; or www.yinyoga.com.