Yoga styles: Yin yoga

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  • Yin yoga is a yoga style known for its prolonged poses.
  • The poses can be held for three to 10 minutes.
  • It's all about spending more time in positions that allow stretching and strengthening circulation in the joints.


Every yoga style is uniquely beneficial, depending on what you want to achieve. Yin yoga may seem straightforward, but it's not always easy or comfortable. This yoga style continuously takes you beyond your comfort zone – but that's where its magic lies. 

History of Yin yoga

Yin yoga is not a centuries-old yoga style as some people believe. This style of yoga actually originated in the 1980s with Paul Grilley, renowned scholar and yoga master. Grilley started off practising Taoist yoga but, experiencing limited progress, he stopped going to class. He, however, continued on his own, practising and teaching vigorous styles like Vinyasa yoga.

Grilley didn't want people to confuse his class with Hatha yoga, so instead, he called his classes Yin Yang yoga. But a student pointed out that because he was teaching passive yin poses, he should rather use the term Yin yoga – and that is how the name Yin yoga spread through the yoga community.

What is Yin yoga

Yin yoga is a yoga style known for its prolonged poses. These poses can be held for three to 10 minutes. This concept originates from Hatha yoga practice.

Yin yoga mainly focuses on the passive (yin) poses with minimal muscle usage for gentle engagement and holding postures without strain. This allows for poses to be held for an extended time. Paul Grilley makes use of the same Hatha poses but uses different names to avoid direct association. As he would say, "old wine in a new bottle".

Benefits of Yin yoga

1. Increased psychological health 

Yoga is beneficial to your spiritual, mental and psychological well-being.

Studies show that Yin yoga can lower perceived levels of stress and anxiety.

2. Helps promote mindfulness 

Studies have shown that practising Yin yoga (especially the meditation aspect) improves cognitive health, the immune system, and mindful awareness.

3. Improves flexibility

With regular practice, Yin yoga stretches and targets the deep connective tissues between muscles and throughout the body. The aim is to improve circulation in the joints and your flexibility.

Yin yoga is all about spending more time in positions that allow stretching and strengthening circulation in the joints. With time, the student should be able to see progress in their movements. With your newly acquired knowledge, you should be able to conclude if Yin yoga will help you reach your desired outcome. 

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