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How Yin Yoga Makes You a Mightier Meditator

Green GulchSome say that Yin yoga is the “ultimate yogic meeting of the physical and meditative.”  In this post, we’ll try to unlock some reasons why these words ring so true in our experience.

First, why meditate?  (Besides that it has become so popular even the medical community has embraced it.)

Those who try it often say they feel better, if not really great. Or even that meditation is life changing.

Meditation nurtures our inner “Quan Yin”–  the worst moments in life still suck, but seem more bearable– while the best moments seem richer, yet less seductive. The situations don’t change. Meditation is the differentiator.

It’s also the state in which yoga really happens.

Stay with yoga long enough- practicing postures, and/or breath, mantra, for example. Eventually you’ll find yourself already meditating or wanting to do so.

….Or wondering if you are meditating and starting to get curious about what meditation actually is.

Yoga is a name for our unfolding experience of finding out who we really are.

The words might sound lofty, precious or even unreal. But we’ve all experienced moments of this unfolding. The experience is a kind of revelation- but feels just plain natural. It hits us as so much sense, we happily shrug off searching for words.


  1. Yin practice tends to condition the spine, hips and legs, the regions of the body used in sitting meditation.
  2. The careful, static approach stabilizes both body and mind. (More about this in a moment.)
  3. Mentally, the yin focuses are:
    • substance, what we ARE (as opposed to activity, what we DO) and
    • surrender, the letting go of or ABIDING (rather than fighting through)

These two attributes combine to make a quiet, patient form of stamina capable of remaining awake and present. This quiet awake stamina fuels meditation.

Beyond mental states, yin prepares the body to endure as well.

Stillness in postures is a major attribute of Yin practice.

The stillness is played against the currents of sensation of Yin practice– as the achy, deeper tissues of the body are opened. These tissues aren’t muscles, but fascia and connective tissues around the joints that usually don’t get worked.

The achy vibration that rises with the opening of these less active tissues really dredges up a lot of physical and mental noise and sends it through the ground zero of our attention.

The experience of all the noise can also totally swallow us up.

This is where the patience and abiding come in.

Moment to moment we choose to stay still, one breath at a time, and choose not to suppress or react to the noise.

We’re free to move — or come out of the pose entirely — at any moment.

Not having to remain in the shape is what makes the choice to remain in the shape really delicious. Until the next heavy tide of ache and the impulse to move arises.

This strengthens the elasticity of the body-mind.

The ability to abide outside of one’s comfort zone makes life in an imperfect world much simpler and more sensual.

The quiet warrior bearing arms:  the secret weapon: A tolerance so strong that it is RADICAL and REVOLUTIONARY.


→ Are you a Yin Yoga Warrior? Are you in San Francisco? Join us for a session of Yin Quintets. The next one is June 22nd.