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Yin Yoga: The Challenging Process of Learning to Let Go


Yin Yoga Louisville
Yin Yoga at Holly's Pilates Village in Louisville KY

I attended 2 Yin yoga classes last week, once as a participant and once as the teacher.

In the first class, I could sense my body relaxing as we engaged in long holds of certain poses. I felt a release of some tightness in my shoulders, hips, and back, but I never fully let go. I was too busy thinking, stuck in my mind. I was distracted, fretting about the next thing I had to do that evening and considering how I might cue each pose differently to my students. The teacher led a good class. I was glad I was there. But still I struggled.


In the second class I was the teacher. I had planned the sequence to ensure that one pose would lead well to the next. I had practiced the class myself, as I usually do before teaching. It was the last class of a good day of teaching multiple kinds of classes, both yoga and Pilates. I was excited and ready.


The Yin yoga class started fine, and then a new student quickly became uncomfortable in the poses. She fidgeted constantly instead of being still. She got a cramp in her leg during one pose, then two, then three. She couldn’t sustain the 3-minute hold for each pose. She was pleasant and willing but clearly not at ease. Then other students started fidgeting too.


I wracked my brain to figure out how to fix things. I suggested modifications, more props. I took some poses out of the sequence that I had planned. But still they struggled to be still.


Yin.

It’s hard.


Yin.

It’s healing.


Yin.

We need it.


What is Yin Yoga?


Yin yoga is not restorative yoga, although it can certainly lead to deep relaxation and meditation. But in truth, Yin is disruptive, sometimes uncomfortable, in the way that a scab can heal a wound but doesn’t always feel great in the process. Yin yoga stretche