From Yang to Yin, confessions of a convert


19 April 2017

I was in half pigeon. I had been in half pigeon for five of the required seven minutes.

I started tapping the tips of my fingers on my mat – one finger, then the next and the next. Back and forth, back and forth.

It is fair to say I did not like being there with my hips screaming at me.

I can’t imagine what the person on the mat beside me was thinking while I hijacked their serene practice with my impatient, inconsiderate fidgeting.

I didn’t ‘get’ Yin. What is the point of just stretching for an hour? Couldn’t that time be better spent on an active yoga practice.

I much preferred to ‘push’ my body during a heated Vinyasa class.

After all I got into yoga for the health and fitness aspects, not the relaxation. Which is all Yin is, isn’t it?

I even went to pains to explain to people whenever they heard I was a yogini that I do the more “fast paced, active, intense type of yoga” rather than the one typified by a ‘yoga voice’ gently urging you to move to the sounds of Tibetan Singing Bowl music.

But now I understand there is a place for Yin in my practice, just like there is a place for Tibetan Singing Bowl music.

Yin is a modern style of Yoga popularised by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers.

The premise is by holding Yin poses for around five to seven minutes and applying around 40-60 percent stress to the connective tissues of the body – the fascia (which bundles the muscles together), tendons (which connect the muscles to the bone) and ligaments (connective tissue that holds a joint together) is gently stretched improving flexibility and increasing circulation.

Yin is a meditative style of yoga that aims to cultivate mindfulness and provide an opportunity for introspection and self-inquiry.

Poses focus on balancing the chi (traditional Chinese energy channels) or nadi (traditional Indian energy channels).

It is said that you should cultivate the practice you are less drawn to in order to balance the chi or nadi in your body.

It was on that yoga deck under a star lit sky in Bali that this Yang freak was converted by the evidence.

The teacher urged us to see if our heels were closer to the ground in Down Dog during the transition from right to left side in Half Pigeon. My god, that heel was now on the ground!

A lightbulb moment. I finally understood why you do Yin and the benefits a Yin style practice can bring to a Yang/Vinyasa/Power/Flow style yoga practice.

Yin is designed to complement more active styles of yoga, rather than be a complete practice in itself.

You should start to notice the difference from one or two Yin practices a week in addition to your more active yoga practices.

I prefer to practice Yin in the evenings due to its calming effects and Vinyasa in the morning due to its energising qualities.

Yin is becoming an increasingly popular form of Yoga in Melbourne with plenty of studios offering Yin classes daily.

I urge you to give Yin a go. You may become a convert too.



  1. I’ve found that Yin classes are a great way to get nervous newcomers to give yoga a shot. It’s less intimidating than the more active styles for a beginner, and they still get that blissed-out yoga glow. =D
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. As long as they understand it’s a less active style of yoga designed to incorporate mindfulness and meditation, it can be a really amazing, sometimes unforgettable experience that gets them hooked.

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