The founding or initial development of Yin yoga (originally called Taoist yoga) is attributed to Paulie Zink, who first started doing yoga when he was 14 and has numerous achievements in competitive Martial Arts under his (black) belt. This yogic style was further developed by Paul Grilley, stressing the importance of muscle temperature and static stretching, or the duration for which asanas are held.
Most Yin yoga classes offered today involve doing 35 different asanas (and variations thereof), although Paulie Zink continues to teach hundreds of Yin yoga poses. These are mostly postures that aim to improve circulation, promote growth, and ridding the body of blockages that disrupt energy flow.
Who Can Do Yin Yoga?
If your aim in learning yoga is to lose as much weight possible in the shortest amount of time, Yin yoga is not the style for you. Although it can help you stay physically fit, Yin yoga would be more ideal for those who need work on their connective tissue (read: ligaments, tendons) to increase range of movement. This is why Yin yoga is popular among athletes, and those in need of supplementary forms of physical therapy.
Benefits of Yin Yoga
Like other yogic styles, Yin yoga also increases flexibility and helps relieve physical and psychological stress. It's also a good style to start with to mentally and physically prepare you if you plan on doing meditational yoga and other similar practices. This is because Yin yoga poses are "passive" and typically fall under the categories of standing or balance asanas, requiring you to hold still and tune in with your body and breathing.
What You Should Know
Anyone can do Yin yoga regardless of age, level of flexibility, weight, etc. However, there IS one thing required for practicing it - PATIENCE. You have to learn to still your mind and body and be patient enough to hold Yin yoga poses for extended periods. Most Yin asanas are held for three to five minutes, but you may be instructed to perform and hold certain poses for as long as 20 minutes.