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YOGA MATTERS - The Yin Perspective

Jun 14, 2013

The great error of this age is that activity has increased so much that there is little margin left in one's everyday life for repose. Repose is the secret of all contemplation and meditation, the secret of getting in tune with that aspect of life which is the essence of all things. When one is not accustomed to repose, one does not know what is behind one's being.

Hazat Inayat Khan


There is a “NEW” kind of Yoga which comes like all things new with a bit of controversy. Yin Yoga is getting some interest from different seekers here on Vancouver Island. I have added a Yin class after my regular Tuesday morning Flow/Hatha/Ashtanga/Yang yoga class. The people who come to the class need more time in the poses. We hold poses for anywhere from 5 breaths to 5 minutes depending on the pose. Some of the people in the class are especially stiff, some are older, and some have injuries which need attention. Not all teachers think that holding poses for long periods of time to affect the connective tissue and stretch the joint capsules is an intelligent  way to work. I feel that there are many ways to work in yoga, as in many other things, and if used to balance the body, the wisdom of a yin attitude makes yoga accessible to more people. In my class I ask my students to activate with yang poses at the beginning of the class so that the tissues we target are warmed and we are prepared to release tension safely. 


Yin is the receptive aspect, the soft receiving, and the letting go. The part of life which I believe has been undervalued, denigrated and, as an art, has been repressed. When you look at the symbol for the Yin and Yang, you will see a small area of darkness in the light and an equal area of light within the dark. Our society tends to be very dualistic in its insistence upon right and wrong, good and bad and, even, you and me. We want things clear cut and defined; we do not seem comfortable with ambiguity and questions but insist on correct answers and demand to know the “way” to do this yoga-thing. Each and every one of us needs to find our own way.


With all of yoga we try to bring our awareness to what we are doing in the present moment. In a yin practice we can play with the idea of not trying and releasing deeply into just being. We must find compassion for ourselves within the practice of yin because we will come up against the Demons of Failure as we find ourselves trying hard to get it right... again and again. We soften to influence our hardened connective tissue so that it becomes fluid again. Yin is another avenue to finding and maintaining the peace within.

It is another way in.

Kim LeDuc


Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.

Lao Tzu



Experience Yin Yoga

If you have a job where you sit a good portion of your day you may have experienced the pain of stiff knees and an aching back at one point or another. The good news is that Yin Yoga can help you to sit longer—and more comfortably.

So what's the difference between yin and yang approaches to yoga?  As we age, our connective tissues begin to shrink.  In Yin Yoga, you hold poses for several minutes, stretching the connective tissue around a joint. Yin Yoga emphasizes releasing muscles rather than contracting them, so most Yin Yoga postures are done seated.

A basic Yin practice incorporates forward bends, hip openers, backbends, and twists.

Curious?  Join Lesley on Monday evenings at 5:45 pm.  We'd love to see you in the studio!


2701 Jingle Pot Rd, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R 6W5, Canada
(250) 739-1102




yin yoga by debra stapleton


When i first experienced yin yoga, i felt immediately at home. The receptive, meditative quality of the long held postures in this practice were the perfect balance to a busy life and vigorous ashtanga practice. I had been working very hard on strength, balance and flexibility, yet felt i was making what i thought to be little progress. Dropping into a yin practice helped me become acquainted with the concept of letting go of expectations in yoga practice, to simply slow down, be in the body, and be present for all of the sensations without judgement. Using the breath mindfully, and releasing my strong, tense muscles into a sense of receptivity in the moment, unravelled and cleared space for many insights and self acceptance. I was so moved by this practice that i learned how to teach it, sharing guided meditation, inspirational readings and poetry that the quiet, long held postures provide opportunity for. 


My favorite yin posture would currently be “shoelace”, a modified version of gomukhasana. Sinking the hips down between the heels, one is able to meditate on a sense of grounding, balance, and patience for potent sensations. With legs “laced” together, knees stacked, one is able to work deeply into the fascia of the outer hips, the dry connective tissue webbing through our muscles and joints that the yin practice targets for transformation so effectively.


Currently, I offer yin yoga at Harmony Yoga in Duncan BC. I also offer introductory workshops and private classes and can be contacted by e-mail and cell:

 250 514 3592



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