Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concepts of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature :
The sun is considered yang, the moon yin.
In the body, the relatively stiff connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, fascia) are considered yin, while the more mobile and pliable muscles and blood are called yang. More passive asanas in yoga are considered yin, whereas the more active, dynamic asanas are described as yang.
Yin Yoga employs specific sequences of poses to stimulate particular meridians, or subtle channels, as understood in Traditional Chinese Medicine; these are the equivalent of the nadi channels in hatha yoga.
Powers says one of the primary objectives of yin practice is the cultivation of inner stillness.
In keeping with its roots in Taoist Yoga, Yin Yoga has a deeper purpose : "to open the heart and invoke the primal self"
Although many Yin Yoga poses closely resemble the asanas of conventional or "yang" yoga, they have different names, in part to alert those familiar with conventional yoga not to perform them in the same way.
In general, the poses of Yin Yoga are performed with little muscular exertion.
During the long hold times of the yin asanas, teachers usually give "dharma talks", informal monologues that often explain the physiology and anatomy of poses, including the meridian lines being affected. They may tell traditional Buddhist stories, recite poetry, sing songs, or reflect on their own experience.
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