The following was a conversation between a Yin yoga teacher and I during a Body of Knowledge™️ biomechanics workshop about soft tissues, hypermobility and stretching. In it, she asked how to reconcile her new understanding of passive stretching and hypermobility with her existing understanding of the aim of Yin yoga.
This video contains part of my answer. I teach anatomy and biomechanics primarily as a means to teach a mindset that resists dogmatic thinking like ‘Yin is good for you’ or ‘Yin is bad for you.’ The truth is, it always depends. Statements like ‘Yin is good or bad for you’ beg for context like, who is practicing, how often are they practicing, what is Yin yoga, who is teaching the class, what are they teaching and many more questions. There are questions that can be answered. There are questions that cannot. And there are questions that need to become better questions. I love them all. As a teacher, my aim is to create an environment in which all students, regardless of their beliefs and current level of knowledge, feel safe to share their thoughts and questions and to practice thinking critically amongst others. This environment involves questions and more questions, plenty of listening and plenty of remembering the limits of what we can know, including scope of practice considerations. This excerpt addresses the fact that an interdisciplinary approach to exercise and movement is a pretty good start when seeking to use movement as a means to feel good physically. We cannot rely on any one movement modality for all of the load input our bodies and nervous systems need to feel balanced and strong. It takes a village!