Yin and Yang are an ancient Taoist concept which pervades all aspects of our lives and the Universe. They are opposites yet one cannot exist without the other.
Yang: Hot, Active, Day, Light, Sky, Sun, Striving to Change, Masculine Principle
Yin: Cool, Passive, Night, Dark, Earth, Moon, Acceptance, Feminine Principle
In our bodies, our muscles are Yang tissue—they love to contract and be warmed and worked. Active styles of Yoga such as Vinyasa, Rocket, and Hot Power, are all Yang, as are physical activities where we contract our muscles and sweat, such as weight lifting and running. Our Yin tissues are hidden below the Yang layer—our connective tissues, joints, and bones. Yin tissues need to be stretched in a passive, cooling (slow and still) way.
Yin Yoga is a practice of holding a pose in stillness for several minutes while relaxing muscles to bring energy and nourishing blood and fluids to the connective tissues, joints, and bones. This counters the effects of aging (drying up and tightening of our connective tissues and joints). Other benefits include healing and preventing injury, eliminating stiffness and pain in the joints, countering fatigue and burnout, and feeling a general sense of well-being and balanced energy. Additionally, the practice is based on the Chinese Medicine meridian system. Similar to acupuncture and acupressure, it can help with organ function as well as physical, mental and emotional imbalances.
Contrary to the societal belief of “no pain, no gain”—that we always need to be doing more and being better, it is actually just as important to take rest as it is to be active. Burnout, injury, pain, stress, and fatigue occur when we push too hard and try to do too much. Both activity (Yang) and rest (Yin) are equally important to the overall well-being of our bodies, thoughts and emotions. In the practice of Yin Yoga, we learn about the self and tune in to our intuition. We learn how to tell when to push harder and do more, and when to take rest and slow down without guilt.
Yin Yoga is also a mindfulness meditation practice where we bring an attitude of compassionate acceptance to the self. Holding a pose allows us to tune in to intense physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arise without needing to solve anything or react. This helps us realize that we are okay just the way we are and we can be in an intense situation and breathe through it while processing and letting go of old emotions (anxiety, fear, grief, etc.) held deep within our bodies.
Weekly Classes with Adele Muir:
Yin Yoga: Thursdays 6:00-7:15pm
Yin Yang: Saturdays 11:30am-1:00pm
See you on your mat :)
2049 G West St.
Annapolis, MD 21401
I am Adele, a yoga teacher, acupuncture student and woman of many interests including health and wellness, food and nutrition, wine, art, nature, and much more. I am writing this blog to share my insight of being a teacher, healthcare practitioner and student of life in the modern world, and to share health and mindfulness information, recipes, and a few other things I have learned along this journey.