How is Yin yoga related to Chinese Medicine? The practice of yoga is to allow the flow of Qi (prana) in our body. Qi is often defined as a life force extracted from the raw materials of ingested food and fluids and from the air you breathe. When Qi is balanced and well circulated, our organs get nourished and they function properly. Qi needs the meridian system in our body to circulate and flow – some form of communication network just like our wi-fi system at home.
When the flow of Qi is obstructed, just like what happens in a traffic jam or a congested MRT interchange during peak hour, the block in communication may affect parts of our body. This stagnation of Qi creates disharmony in our body. This may affect the functions of our internal organs and this may lead to diseases. Some of the techniques used in Chinese Medicine are needling (Acupuncture), Tuina,Moxibuxtion or Qigong to get the Qi moving again .
So what has this got to do with Yin yoga?
Of course we are not poking you with acupuncture needles in a Yin practice. It was found that when we hold poses in a relaxed manner for extended period of time (3-5min), a gentle pressure is constantly being applied to parts of our body. This is especially so in a Yin practice when we target the main joints in our body, where many of the Qi centres are located. What you get at the end of a yin practice, if properly sequenced, is pretty similar to the needling effect.
Check out this short vide by Josh Summer – an acupuncturist and a Yin yoga teacher.