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What Is Yin Yoga and How Can It Benefit You This Winter?

An Interview with Yin Culture

As winter draws in, we chat to Simon Lee of Yin Culture; the yin yoga teaching collective sharing tools and maps for everyone on their own unique yin yoga journey. We ask him what yin yoga is, what the benefits of the practice are, how beginners can get started and how yin yoga can serve us during the fall and winter months.

Yin Yoga is quite simply a 'yin' approach to yoga. Yoga being the spiritual science of 'union' (translation of yoga) or self-realisation.

With the word 'yin' coming from the yin yang Taoist philosophy, we can see the commonly known symbol as a map. Contained within our experience everything we are and come in contact with sits somewhere within this map. The curved line represents the changing nature of all things and the opposite dots represent that nothing is completely yin and nothing is completely yang. The ultimate goal is that we remain in a state of equal balance and harmony of both.

The main difference to other yoga methods commonly practiced is that it is a lot slower, holding postures for five minutes maybe, sometimes more. It is often said it takes at least three minutes of stillness to allow the body to open the target area of the connective tissue (also known as fascia or the 'yin' tissues).

To summarise the main difference with Yin Yoga and other practices, Yin is a lot slower and a different aspect of the physical body is targeted.


What does the Yin Culture stand for?

A community and movement bringing more balance and harmony to our beautiful planet. Yin Culture also offers teacher trainings and events designed to facilitate self-enquiry and transformational inner experiences. 


This month we’re focusing on living in harmony with the seasons; slowing down and turning inwards as autumn and winter arrive. How can yin yoga help us slow down and connect with ourselves?

As the postures are held significantly longer, the stillness that comes with it provides an opportunity to slow down and turn inwards. This is especially beneficial in our modern faced paced 'yang' world by offering the opportunity to bring balance. This extends to our nervous system (activating the parasympathetic 'rest and digest' state) and also our mind. Yin Yoga is a great opportunity to reflect, explore the inner landscapes and connect with our true selves. Strategically sequenced Yin Yoga can be great preparation for meditation.


In your work at Yin Culture, you use the phrase ‘Harmonise with the rhythms of nature’. How does yin yoga support us to do that?

The way I interpret ‘harmonise with the rhythms of nature’ is to first realise that we as humans are not separate from nature. We are an interconnected part of it. Breathing air is a simple example of this. Yin Yoga supports us here by physically purifying the body (releasing stagnation, toxins, stored emotions etc.) and calming the nervous system and mind to be receptive to self-realisation. In the words of Jason Corliss, "nature being nature".


What are the physical and mental benefits of Yin Yoga?

Generally speaking the body will become more open by releasing tension stored in the connective tissue. This tension often creeps in due to a range of factors including things such as our robotic-like movements in the western world (sitting at a computer chair for long periods, for example). Mentally the benefits include more spaciousness to reflect, rest, digest our reality, anxiety relief and creativity to name a few.


For anyone who is new to Yin Yoga, what should they be prepared for when moving into this new practice? Do you have any tips how to practice it safely?

I would say they should be prepared to feel amazing and calm. To add I feel it's important to find a Yin Yoga teacher you resonate with and feel comfortable to practice with. A safe and comfortable space is very important. It's also important to take a 'yin' mindset into the practice in terms of how you mentally approach it. It is possible to have a 'yang' approach to 'yin' trying to push the body to the maximum edge for example. So go easy on yourself, stay open to new experiences and gift yourself some time away from the busyness of our modern world.


Tell us about what you do at Yin Culture?

I assist Nik Robson (founder/lead teacher) on the teacher trainings. I also liaise with the students interested in joining / some behind the scenes administration. I also lead Yin Yoga events myself in various countries (currently based at home in Queenstown, New Zealand) and have a keen passion for Ayurveda, which filters into the trainings. It's a great community to be part of.


How can readers become involved with Yin Culture and your events?

Our next 100hr Yin Yoga teacher training is in June 2020 in Indonesia.

To get in touch or for more event information here reach out on our contact details / social accounts below:



IG: @yinculture

FB: @yincultureyoga



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