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Yin Yoga Paperback – June, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Yoga as practiced in North America is almost exclusively "yang" in nature, meaning that it relies upon postures that aggressively stretch the muscles. Paul Grilley offers his book Yin Yoga: Outline of a Quiet Practice as a counterbalance to this trend. Yin yoga, he says, should only be done when muscles are already relaxed, and postures should be held for long periods at least several minutes. Yin yoga can be used to unwind, and is particularly appropriate for the end of the day. Anyone who thinks that yin yoga sounds wimpy should gaze hard at the 35 photographs in this book, which illustrate some pretty challenging poses. Grilley's technique offers a unique blend of yoga meditation and Taoist principles.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Grilley begins by providing a brief, readable introduction to Meridian Theory, or the science behind Yin yoga. Yin yoga aims to stretch the connective tissues of the body, and Meridian Theory postulates that different meridians span across different areas of connective tissue. Grilley also explains the additional tenets of Yin yoga, including the longer holds of the postures and the ways in which Yin complements a more Yang (active) practice. Grilley also discusses basic guiding principles of Yin and how these can be used to design a practice; in addition, he offers several sample routines with different areas of body focus.
The bulk of the book's remainder centers around the Yin postures themselves. For each posture, Grilley offers a 2-page layout that includes both black-and-white photo illustrations (an average of 2-3 for each pose) accompanied by detailed instructions on the adjacent page. A total of 22 poses are covered, mostly Yin, but a few more Yan postures as well. In the final few chapters, Grilley covers additional important topics such as Sitting (as Yin is designed to prepare for this), Chakras, and finally, Breath, Mind, and Meditation; there is also a Bibliography with explanation of terms and additional resources.
Overall, I find this book to be a helpful reference in both my personal practice and my yoga teaching. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Yin yoga.
Paul Grilley does a great job explaining the basics of a yin yoga practice in this short work. He alludes to much larger works and medical studies for a more in-depth analysis, but he keeps it short and sweet in this book. If the reader wants to, they can research the references as well for a more in-depth understanding.
Grilley covers the basics of meridian theory (a guiding principle of yin yoga) and discusses other topics such as the connective tissues of the body, the effects of the yin asana on the body, breathing, and meditation. He also explains each asana and offers several variations for the most difficult poses. The sample routines are sequenced nicely and are a convenient way to start a home practice.
One thing that is not extensively covered in this book is the use of props for those with decreased mobility. It is a great to have an abundance of blankets, pads, bolsters, pillows, etc. to support the body in poses with long hold times. Some of the yin poses can be an intense experience as they are held for about 3 minutes. The extra props help to support the body and ease into the asana.
In my opinion, it is a good book for someone who is interested in yin yoga with little to no experience. However, it is also a good idea to go to a few yin yoga classes, if they are available in your area, to supplement Grilley's information. If they are not available, check out yinyoga[dot]com for demonstration videos.