Playing with Yin and Yang in your Yoga Practice

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In this post, QSY teacher Jen shares about incorporating the principles of yin and yang into your practice. Check out her weekly Yin class to learn more, or sign up for her upcoming workshop on Sunday Sept 28 – “Wonderwall: The Ultimate Yoga Prop“.

What is Yin and Yang?

Philosophically, yin is comparative relativity; the idea that without dark there can be no light. We’ve all seen a yin yang symbol, at least in passing.

Looking at this graphic representation, you can see a few things. One is that yang and yin are two pieces of a whole. One cannot exist without the other. Another is that yang contains a piece of yin and vice versa. There is a contrast, and within that contrast you will also find relativity. Surrounded by black, the smaller white circle looks a little more gray. Surrounded by white, the smaller black circle looks a little more stark.

How do Yin and Yang show up in yoga practice?

In practice, when you add just a bit of yin to your yang practice it will most likely feel a little more active. Your muscles will be firing and may resist softening. In reverse, if you add just a bit of yang to your yin, it will feel even more starkly active. Finding the balance is your practice. This will be different for everyone. I have a pretty busy day to day in the summer, what with four kids at home. I also practice a different active sport, so I find my balance in slower yoga practice. In the winter when I am a little more sedentary, behind the computer a lot working on school work, I tend to gravitate a little more towards flow yoga. Finding balance incorporates your whole life. Consider yin as a spectrum of experience (maybe, consider everything that way). If your experience with water has been only hot springs, jumping into a swimming pool will perhaps be a little overwhelming. You might tense up, you might be afraid that you won’t make it. Instead you can ease in, starting at the shallow end and getting a little deeper every time. The best preparation for practicing yin poses is to practice yin poses.

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