Forget yoga, for you have a vague idea of what yoga ‘might’ be. I am willing to bet that it is the addition of the word ‘Yin’ that causes most people the greatest confusion.
So I wish to focus on the Yin side of Yin Yoga.
The reason being, that to have a basic (superficial) understanding of Yin’s origin from Taoism, is to have an idea of what we are endeavoring to achieve in Yin yoga.
Tao Te Ching – The Book of The Way (by Lao Tzu)
The book, written out of kindness to a border guard, when asked ‘Could you write a book about the Art of Living’? So was written the great book that was to be the ‘bible’ of Taoism, and within it the concept of ‘yin and yang’ (the Chinese do not refer to yin and yang but rather name it – Tai Chi).
Wei Wu Wei – Action Without Effort – Action without Resistance
There are other posts that describe Yin and Yang. Ironically it is not the Yin part of yin yoga we need to grasp. It is the concept within Taoism termed Wu Wei.
The meaning of Wu Wei has been described as ‘without action’, ‘without effort’. Without effort, without trying too hard we achieve a result. Wei wu Wei – action without action (perhaps more correctly, ‘action without effort’, ‘achieve without effort’), is a paradox that certainly in the west, we fail to grasp. We attempt to force or control a thing. We find it hard to grasp that not everything needs to be coerced, forced or controlled. Great things can be achieved by just letting be.
Springtime does not force Winter out of the way, yet spring arrives in its own time – when it is meant to be.
The Tao is like water, that nourishes all things – without trying too hard to do so. One body of water does not compete with another. How soft and gentle is water, yet without trying too hard it wears away the toughest of rock. Over time the softest and gentlest of things, with persistence, will achieve.
Wu Wei has been interpreted as:- – ‘ the principle of not forcing’, ‘non-interference or non-aggression’. ‘If you are splitting wood, then split with the grain, not against’ thus you achieve a result without forcing – you achieve in accord with nature. “Wu Wei is the art of sailing rather than the art of rowing”, you will achieve, without forcing.
That is what Yin yoga is about – achieve a result without forcing.
That principle is the only one you need. It has been said there are three principles of yin yoga.
Sink into a pose until you feel some slight resistance – what I term ‘find your boundary’
Endeavor to remain still and stable (as Shesha has to, to support the Universe)
Hold the pose for a long period of time
The secret to success in your yin yoga success is ‘not to try.’ In the same way that success in meditation is not to think, stop thinking. If you think about not thinking – you are thinking. Nature does not try – it does, it just is.
Winter doesn’t morn for the fact that summer has past and gone – winter requires summer to have past and gone, to permit and allow winter ‘to be’. Likewise, winter will be past and gone. Nature, the seasons do not force themselves upon the other seasons – they come into being when they are ready to come, and go when it is their time to go. They will be back, they will return – never the same summer or winter, but a winter and summer none the less.
Can you love someone, without having to impose your will? Do you have to force, or impose your love on another? Treat your Yin practice as you would your unconditional love for another, do not try too hard, do not force it, do not coerce it.
Do not try too hard.
Achieve inner peace and stillness of mind, with a more mindful approach to life, with Tao Yin Yoga.