What is Yin Yoga explained

The yin yoga we teach at Essence of Living comes from the teachings of Paul Grilley. Paul Grilley’s practice of yin yoga has been developed over 30 plus years and has a strong foundation in anatomy with a focus on practicing for longevity.

Michelle Cassidy, founder and owner of Essence of Living, became interested in yin when she realised that dynamic yoga wasn’t for everyone (including herself as her body grew older) and wanted to ensure a quality yoga asana practice was accessible to everyone.

The practice far exceeded Michelle’s expectations, after a two week immersion practicing yin yoga every morning and night her body was more flexible than it had ever been in her 20 years of committed practice. The result of slowing down and letting go had a transformational effect on both her body and mind.

Michelle’s favourite thing about yin yoga is that it doesn’t matter what you look like, what matters is what you feel like. Awakening the subtle energy in the body and losing yourself in sensation has a deep meditative effect. Michelle truly believes yin yoga is a beautiful gateway to a steady and stable meditation practice. As we get more comfortable both physically and mentally in the long holds of yin yoga, our meditation seat becomes so sweet and still.

Deciding that she wanted to bring this practice to her studio and share it with her community, she went straight to the source and did her yin yoga training with Paul Grilley in 2014 in beautiful Mexico. Michelle now facilitates her own yin yoga teacher training taught in the tradition of and with respect to Paul Grilley’s yin yoga.

Ask any devotee of yin yoga and they will tell you about feeling “blissed out” or “yoga stoned” after yin practice. You’ll also hear about amazing benefits like improved flexibility, lengthened muscles and connective tissue, and a calm and clear mind. Once you come to a yin yoga class, you’ll understand just why people become raving fans of this slow and seriously nourishing practice.

The difference between Yin and Yang yoga

Most of the yoga we practice at Essence of Living is vinyasa which is on the yang side of the spectrum. Yang yoga targets our muscles, cardiovascular system and is active, active, active! As you probably know, in a yang yoga class you’ll take a lot of strong, active asanas that heat you up – you’ll probably leave with a sweat on.

On the other side of the spectrum we have yin yoga. Yin is a slow, quiet and centering practice which focuses on the connective tissues of the body. In yin we move with utmost care, and hold poses for between four to seven minutes allowing our body to surrender completely to the shape.

Who is yin yoga for?

Yin yoga is for anyone – seriously, anyone. There is no prerequisite levels of fitness or flexibility required. No need for previous yoga practice either. However if you are naturally hypermobile in your joints we suggest practicing moderately and cultivating a quality stabilising practice like Pilates to support your joints. There are no benefits from being hypermobile.

We make use of props like blankets, bolsters, blocks and straps, allowing our bodies to relax into the specially selected poses with support and a level of comfort. Your yin yoga teacher will also be able to give you alternative options and levels of a posture if a movement is unavailable to you or you’re recovering from injury.

If you’re already a committed yogi, yin is the perfect accompaniment to your regular yang yoga practice and we believe that it’s the most potent form of yoga to improve flexibility.


Ready to practice?

Check out our timetable to find your next Yin Yoga class!

Are you a yoga teacher already and would like to start teaching yin? Are next yin teacher training dates are:

  • 2 September – 1st October 2017 | Run over 5 Weekends, 7.30am – 4pm
  • 19th – 30th March 2018 | Run over 2 Weeks, Monday – Friday, 7.30am – 4pm
  • 4th August – 2nd September 2018 | Run over 5 Weekends, 7.30am – 4pm

Find out more about yin yoga teacher training and pursue your passion.