As part of my recovery from an injury several years ago, I began looking into adding yoga to a daily practice. Although I'd loved the Ashtanga yoga I'd practiced in my 20s and 30s, my heading-towards-50 body (and brain) wasn't so happy with it. Basic (Iyengar) yoga was closer, but still not quite right. Then I happened upon a local studio that offered something called Yin Yoga. One session and I knew I'd found my practice. Unlike other forms of yoga, Yin Yoga is founded on stretching muscles and connective tissue by holding postures for long periods of time (5 to 10 minutes), so it is a very slow practice. It is also very relaxing -- all the more so for providing a specific anodyne to modern 'run run run' attitudes.
The Yin Yoga Kit consists of a book, a CD and a set of 14 cards explaining the principles of yin yoga and how to do it. The main part of the book shows the main yin yoga postures, setting out their benefits and also giving variations for people who are less flexible. The CD is narrated by Mithoefer as he leads the listener through a 75 minute practice. The cards have color photographs of Mithoefer and a woman both practicing the postures, with varying poses. Everything is included to create your own routine at home.
Gentle yoga like this is best practiced during quiet times, perhaps the morning hours, but anyone can benefit from using this program no matter what time of day they choose. Since this style is unlike other forms of yoga, one might best benefit by reviewing all of the materials before starting a practice. One aspect I found very helpful was the author's connection of the practice to the chakras being worked with throughout the practice, as well as advice for dealing with the emotions which might arise throughout their practice.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Biff Mithoefer
Healing Arts Press
pp. 131, $24.95
Book, 75-minute CD, and 14 cards