Yoga instructor Kim Eng, who is also the teaching partner of spiritual author Eckhart Tolle, presents a classic Yin yoga offering with this DVD. Yin differs from other styles of hatha yoga in that the postures are held significantly longer, sometimes more than five minutes. Unlike with restorative yoga, however, the goal of Yin yoga is not simply to relax, but specifically to stretch the connective tissues in the body.
During the 19-minute Introduction included on this DVD, Eng spends about five minutes providing an overview of Yin yoga principles, including the yin/yang nature of the practice and the importance of holding stillness despite resistance. The remainder of the Introduction features Eckhart Tolle providing a lecture on additional yogic concepts, such as maintaining awareness during discomfort.
In addition to the Introduction, the Main Menu offers the following options:
Complete Yin Yoga: Play—Select Pose
Daily Yin Yoga: Play—Select Pose
Choosing "Play" provides a complete routine, whereas "Select Pose" gives individual chapter menus. For both routines on the DVD, Eng appears alone, teaching via voiceover in a pretty outdoor setting. She is surrounded by a variety of props (e.g., blankets, blocks, bolsters), and she makes suggestions for viewers to incorporate these into the postures as needed. I have broken down the two main practices below. (Notes: All times are approximate. Posture names are as given on the chapter menu, although Eng will sometimes pause in child's pose or otherwise rest between postures.)
COMPLETE YIN YOGA (1 hour, 16 minutes)
· Seated Meditation, 9 minutes. Starting with such a lengthy meditation felt odd to me, as I've always learned that physical postures are intended as a preparation for seated meditation.
· Long-legged Butterfly, 4 minutes. Forward bend in this pose.
· Shoelace, 3 minutes per side. This is cow-face seat; forward bend in this pose.
· The Dragon Sequence, 5 minutes per side. Eng moves from Dragon (a low lunge) to Dragon Flying Low (a.k.a. Gecko pose). Rest in child's pose between sides.
· Sleeping Swan Sequence, 4.5 minutes per side. This is pigeon pose, and Eng performs it first with the traditional forward bend, then with a twist. Rest in child's pose between sides.
· Tadpole to Frog Sequence, 6 minutes total. Eng starts this hip opener with toes together, then adds in more of a forward lean, and finally moves into full frog pose.
· Happy Baby, 3 minutes. Add in rocking side-to-side and straight legs.
· Windshield Wiper, <1 minute. Rocking the legs back and forth.
· Spinal Twist, 3 minutes per side.
· Shavasana, 3 minutes lying, and 2 minutes seated to finish.
DAILY PRACTICE (44 minutes)
· Seated Meditation, 9 minutes.
· Long-legged Butterfly, 4 minutes.
· The Dragon Sequence, 5 minutes per side.
· Sleeping Swan Sequence, 4.5 minutes per side.
· Shavasana, 5 minutes total.
For the Daily Practice, the transitions between poses are shorter than in the Complete Yin Yoga routine. I enjoyed the nice hip-opening work of the latter, although at almost 80 minutes, this routine is quite lengthy for a home practice. I would have appreciated a mix-and-match option, but luckily, the DVD is well-chaptered, so it would be easy enough for viewers to create shorter practices for themselves as needed. Eng has a soft-spoken, soothing manner, making this DVD a good choice for both beginners and more experienced yogis looking to explore what Yin yoga has to offer.
© 2013 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.