Yin Yoga and Qigong both involve meditation with movement - achieving a meditative state can be easier relative to a situation where you just sat in stillness, as the movement or sensations of the body can help give your mind something to focus on.
Both these practices operate under Chinese Medicine Theories - the belief that if we stimulate Qi flow within our bodies (i.e. move, strengthen or nourish our Qi within), we are about to ignite our body's ability to self-heal. Where "Qi" refers to our inner 'vital energy', that exists inside everyone & inside of everything thing.
According to Chinese Medicine, our vital energy can be stimulated via four ways:
- Breath work,
- Visualisation, &
- Traction &/or compression of the Yin connective tissues (our fascia - joints, ligaments, bones, & everything else making up the body).
In Qigong and Yin Yoga we stimulate Qi in three out of the four possible ways. This means via Qigong & Yin Yoga practices we are able to effectively strengthen & nourish our Qi energy system that is responsible for our emotional & physical wellbeing. Impressive!
According to Chinese Medicine Theory we have 12 main meridian channels within our bodies, acting like river passage ways that transport Qi (aka. life-force), blood (loaded with nutrients & oxygen) & other bodily fluids throughout body. Each Yin pose or Qigong exercise targets Qi flow & balance within specific meridian channels, allowing us to selectively ease a range of associated physical or emotional complaints that we may be enduring - anything from having a tendency towards being quick to anger or easily frustrated, to constant worry about what others think, feeling fatigued or even something more serious like healing injured body tissues.
In this high paced active 'Yang' dominated world, taking time to balance out the body with a grounding "Yin" practice needs to become a priority for if we are looking to take control of our health, happiness & levels of awesomeness. Yang practices (which refer to anything active, such as biking, running, skiing, flow yoga...) increase our Qi mobility - these help us eliminate any Qi stagnation or blockages within our bodies. Fantastic that a bike ride can increase the free flowing qualities of Qi within our bodies. HOWEVER if we do not complement our Yang activities with some Yin activities (which refer to anything relaxing e.g. Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Qigong, taking a bath, napping), i.e. if we always stay on the go, our Qi will become weak & despite our efforts, after a short lived buzz that follows some yang activity, our energy levels may drop below awesome. Incorporating both Yin & Yang practices is vital for optimal health, as they will enable us to both keep our Qi moving freely & of high quality strength for the long term. Ultimately this will sustainably allow us to be more awesome. Stoked!