What is Elemental Yin Yang Yoga?
Anyone who has practiced yoga more than a handful of times, probably has a very clear idea of what they like. Some students use Hatha Yoga (physical yoga) to de-stress by moving slowly and prefer to take part in classes that are more relaxed in nature.
A slower approach where you hold postures for long periods of time, exerting little muscular heat and energy, would thus be considered a more “yin” approach to yoga.
Other yogis, however, prefer a vigorous practice on the mat.
In "yang" forms, students push beyond their assumed limitations of strength and flexibility in order to build heat through breath work and movement.
In my signature style of yoga called Elemental Yin Yang, we combine these two approaches to practice in a way that make the class both accessible and challenging for most students.
In the yang portion of class, you can expect to move at a fairly quick pace without too many long holds, except for the odd posture one wouldn’t want to hold for too long.
Utkatasana for 15 breaths anyone?
In the yin portion of class, the movement cycle is very different. Postures are held for 3-5 minutes at a time, sometimes with the support of yoga blocks, belts or a wall. You further experience and embody yin energy by dropping voluntary movement and tension, which allows the free flow of blood and life force energy (Qi) throughout the body.
Why is Yin Yang Yoga the BEST?
I will freely admit I am biased here when I say this is the "best" kind of yoga, but the reason Elemental Yin Yang Yoga is so dear to my heart is because it is the best of both worlds and the most complete practice I am able to offer my students.
We work with the Five Elements from Chinese Medicine and combine the wisdom of that philosophy with a well rounded physical practice. It offers yogis the potential to experience enough of a challenge to ensure you work hard, and enough space for you to let go of whatever problems or attachments you may be carrying around on any given day.
And it all happens in the span of one session.
Most people need those long held, more passive yin postures to counter fast paced vinyasa style yoga or there will be the increased tendency for yang energy to heat you too much and burn out the joints and the healthy yin fluids of the body.
Consequently, you need healthy yang energy that comes from creative flowing movements to build warmth, strength and stability and lift you out of the inertia that may result from an unhealthy, overabundance of yin energy.
As important as the physical benefits of a more well-rounded practice are, I can not stress enough how Elemental Yin Yang Yoga is perfectly suited to the busy life you lead. You may not have the luxury to devote 2 hours daily to a practice that harmonizes or grounds you enough to take on the world.
One of the key reasons Elemental Yin Yang Yoga is so powerful, is because it makes room for inspired movement and growth as well as deep stillness and relaxation. You no longer have to be limited to practices that exclude one half of the wellness picture.
Instead, you can engage in a practice that provides support, as well as a positive, upward lift to your energy and overall health.
Photo by: Jakob Montrasio