The Healing Art of Yin Yoga

Today, we live in a world driven by sheer speed, intensity and aggression, and a world that lacks kindness and connection to ourselves, those around us and our environment.

We are wired to turn on our “doing” mode to the extent that we forget the existence of our “being” mode.

Most of us forget how to just be, to be human. When our two modes of operation are out of balance, it creates undue stress and pressure on our body and mind-affecting how we think, feel and act.

As someone who has spent more than two decades in the corporate world, I know well the trials and tribulations in the workplace, the heightened stress and challenges we face every day. For I too have suffered the sleepless nights, the stress of closing a deal to a point of a hard shoulder and just the constant intensity and negativity in an alpha-type dominated environment.

You may be a successful entrepreneur, a great manager or an accomplished leader with proven track record for your organisation, but is this at the cost of neglecting your good health or well-being, thinking that it is something you can put as your back-burner to be dealt with later? However, let us be clear on one thing: our health and well-being is something we can easily and inadvertently ruin over time and it is not something we can fix overnight.

The point is we need to be smart and invest our time to relax and slow down before the accumulated stress takes a serious toll on our body and mind.

If you are feeling a constant discomfort in certain parts of your body, such as your shoulders or neck or tightness in your hip area or abdominal region, the alarm bells may be ringing already. This is a physical or energetic block in your body! It is so important that we don’t ignore these signals, and that we make a conscious decision to invest time and energy to take care of our body and mind.

How about becoming a friendly manager of our stress before it turns into a burnt-out and manifests into different types of dis-eases, or even life-threatening illnesses?

It is my proposition that in our fast-paced lifestyles today, there is an urgent need to slow down. Slowing down not only benefits our physical health, it is one of the natural ways to attend to our

It simply means to pause and allow space within and without us. When we slow down, we are creating conditions to nourish the parasympathetic part of our nervous system which is responsible for our rest and digestion functions. Human beings are not machines, we operate on a constant cycle of spending and renew energy. However, if we do not allocate enough time and space to rest, we are creating an imbalance in this natural cycle and depriving our body the chance to renew and reset. So the message is to slow down, there is no rush. Slow down, take your time. There are many ways to encourage the habit of slowing down and yin yoga practices are of the ways you may wish to try.

Yin yoga, like Qigong and meditation is a healing art.

It is an attitude and an art of living. In contrast to the dynamic Yang practices aimed to strengthen our superficial muscles (“yang tissues”), yin yoga involves long-held, deep postures which activates our Qi or prana (energy) in our bodies and relax our deeper tissues (“yin tissues”).

Yin Yoga with its Taoist roots, is highly influenced by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which says that the body contains meridians -invisible energy highways that carry Qi (energy). The physical postures of Yin yoga work with these meridian lines to activate stagnant Qi or replenish insufficient Qi. Each Yin pose is designed to nourish specific meridian and its associated organ. Moreover, there are emotional and mental states associated to our major organs. Hence by nourishing our organs, we are also taking care of our mental health. Each yin pose targets certain meridian and organs, and this way we are taking care of our mental health.

Western science is also discovering the impact of the practice on a physical and psychological level. Yin Yoga helps to create the space needed to activate the parasympathetic part of our nervous system and the longer held poses work to unwind the body’s deeper layers of connective tissues including our fascia. As we work with these layers, we create the conditions to release deeply held tension and trauma in the body and mind. In my experience, if we are holding on to tension in our body, we are almost definitely doing the same in our mind, hence releasing stress and tension on a physical level is the first step to further releasing of stress and tension in our mind. In short, when we practice Yin yoga with mindfulness, we will have greater physical, mental and emotional health over time.

I do however have two caveats:

  • Yin and Yang are relative! The key to well-being is finding the sweet spot when Yin and Yang are in perfect harmony. To find this sweet spot (which changes all the time for you) I invite you to listen to your body and ask what type of practice you need at this moment so you can move your back into the flow. I don’t advocate doing practice blindly. After all your practice is meant to help and heal you and not hurt you. For example, if you are feeling a lack of motivation and lazy, then maybe what you need is a more active practice to revitalise your system rather than a still practice! If you are feeling frustrated, frantic, overheated, then maybe a still Yin practice might be helpful to calm your system down. There is no size fit all!
  • I have realised in my own 20 years of healing journey, in order to heal all the blocks in our body effectively,  we need a complete holistic self-healing system and so I created S.h.ě. 舍 System, integrating Yin and Yang Practices, healing self-care treatment (e.g self myofascial massage, acupoint massage) and meditation with sound medicine. 

In my upcoming next posts, I will be sharing the secrets to healing the blocks in your body on your therapeutic yoga mat.

In the meantime, slow down, there is no rush. Slow down, take your time. Slow down, and be like the lotus flower, at ease in muddy water.


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