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Hot Yin

 
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1129
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:16 am    Post subject: Hot Yin Reply with quote

Since my article on Hot Yin was released several people have commented either by email or via the Forum. I thought it would be useful to create one place for anyone/everyone to share their thoughts and questions regarding doing Yin Yoga in a hot environment. Feel free to add to this thread!

First question:
    I have been thinking about warm yin, especially since this month's newsletter. I am wondering if the rubber band analogy actually applies within the body or if there is a better analogy available. The fact that we look to have the muscle relaxed in order to better stretch the fascia but that warmth that tends to relax the muscles is seen as not preferred for Yin has not made sense to me. In light of the newer idea of fascia as a gel, does not having a warmer environment promote the liquidizing of the fascia? I am curious about other's thoughts on this subject.

My thoughts:

1st: we want muscles "relaxed" or "cooler" so that they are not taking up the stress of a stretch. It does sound paradoxical at first but engaging the muscles pulls the bones of a joint closer together (do this experiment - tighten your finger and notice how little play there is in those joints, then relax the finger and notice how much more movement is available.) When the muscle is relaxed, more stress can go into the joint; when the muscle is warm however, it will stretch leaving less stretch for the fascia. So, we ideally want the muscles relaxed and cool.

2nd point: it is a good point - another model for our tissues is a water based one. Gerald Pollack is one researcher who has looked at the thixotropic properties of our ground substance (water). [Here is a good interview with him for those interested.] He has shown that constant stress or heat can turn the normal gel state of our water into a sol state (which is a more liquid flowing state of water.) We need both states at various times so the switching of state is quite healthy. We don't want the ground substance to always be sol or always gel. Gerald suggests that both cold water is good, and so it warming the water. Change is good.

Cheers
Bernie
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1129
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is another question:
    I just read your article about hot yin yoga which is an interesting article. I just have one question. Besides the effects on the muscles can the heat not also affect certain meridian channels. I can imagine that a sequence of the heart and small intestine or the kidney or lover can easily lead to overheated situations. Especially heat has such an affect on the kidney and can lead to deficiency of water. What is your opinion about this.

It would be interesting to hear some comments from Yin Yoga teachers more familiar with TCM than I. Anyone?

My thought is that we can do too much of anything - we could overheat the organs and have excessive yang chi. That's not good, but generally this would create negative feelings which the student should be paying attention to. So, yes - the heat could affect us negatively, but it is also possible that it could affect us positively. Everyone is different, so the question is - how does this practice effect you, given your unique biology and biography?

Bernie
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Cvalor



Joined: 20 May 2016
Posts: 2
Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 9:12 pm    Post subject: Hot Yin Reply with quote

Folks... I teach Yin Yoga weekly and the temperature in the room is no more than 78 degrees. I was never a fan of hot yoga to begin with and I wouldn't practice it in Yin. I don't feel there is a need for hot Yin as the need for water increases, causing the body to feel dehydrated... just my thoughts Cool
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1129
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too don't do well in the heat and would not enjoy a Hot Yin class, but I know of other people who do enjoy it and only can enjoy Yin Yoga when warmed up. Different strokes for different folks. Interestingly, some researchers have found that the water in our tissues changes state and we become more flexible when it reaches 40C, which is one reason athletes need to "warm up" before doing their sports. We don't warm up in Yin Yoga, so having a warm room can do this for us.

Thanks for sharing!
Bernie
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1129
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:09 am    Post subject: Confused. Reply with quote

I recently received the following questions (which I am paraphrasing here):
    Hi Bernie! I recently had student ask me a question ..."If the fascial tissue is around and in a muscle then wouldn't we want the muscle warm and at its longest length to lengthen and remodel the fascia that surrounds it? And, "In the article above it explains If the muscles are warm, they take the stretch...when they are cold, the stress can go deeper. BUT whatever the length of the muscles, wouldn't you be able to stress deeply the whole system, just by going deeper in the pose? Thanks a million for your time!

This can be quite confusing and I puzzled over it for quite a while. It was only when I came across Jaap Vander Wals's work that it finally made sense to me. In the link above I show the muscles and ligaments in series with each other. That is the key realization! We join these elastics in series because in our body, our muscles are actually in series with our ligaments! Despite what may have been described in older anatomy texts, the work of Jaap van der Wal has shown that the normal relationship between muscles and the tendons and ligaments is serial, not parallel. (See The Architecture of the Connective Tissue in the Musculoskeletal System - An often overlooked Functional Parameter as to Proprioception in the Locomotor Apparatus by Van der Wal J 2009 in Fascia Research II: Basic Science and Implications for Conventional and Complementary Health Care, Munich: Elsevier GmbH.) This means that if we warm up the muscles, they lengthen (take up the stress) instead of the ligaments.

Yes, you stress everything when we go deeper, but if the muscles are cooler, more of the stress will hit the ligament, which is the targeted area in yin yoga. You can certainly have an intention of focussing on stressing the connective tissues enveloping the muscle fibers, ignoring the ligaments, and that's cool--the muscles do get stressed in yin yoga. But, even then, if the muscle is warmed up and longer, how much of the stress is getting to the fascia within? Is the length simply coming from a neurological relaxation of the muscle spindles that normally keep some tone to the muscles? If so, my same analogy would apply: the collagen fibers in series with the muscle fibers will not get as much stress if the muscle fibers are elongating and taking the stress. (I do talk a bit more about this in the article Hot Yin.)

Does this make it clearer? If not, please ask again.
Cheers
Bernie
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