Life is all about balance. Taking the good with the bad. It’s treating yourself to a massage after a stressful workweek, or splurging on that dessert after you’ve eaten all your vegetables.
We have to find this balance in our physical bodies as well. This is where yoga, and its many forms, comes in. If you’ve wondered what in the world yin yoga has to do with active, sweaty yoga that gets your heart pumping –
Well, it comes down to balance!
In this article, learn about the origins of yin yoga, what types of training are available in this beautiful form of restorative yoga practice, and my top five recommendations for yin yoga teacher training programs for those of you who want more yin in your life.
Yin Yoga vs Yang Yoga
In general, yoga styles can be categorized as either passive or active. The term ‘yin’ originates in Chinese philosophy dating to the third century BCE, and is understood as the complementary force to ‘yang’ energy; together, yin and yang represent the existence of all things in inseparable opposition. This concept evolved in the Taoist tradition to include postures and practices designed to achieve energetic harmony in the being.
Today, yin yoga refers to a slow, steady and restorative style of yoga that integrates poses held for 3-5 minutes or more with deep breathwork, meditation and connection to the subtle energy flow. In the Taoist tradition of yin practice, five elements correspond to the cycling of energy through time: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
While you don’t hear this term used often to describe hatha or vinyasa yoga, these forms of active practice are, according to the yin philosophy, ‘yang’. Both are essential for bringing the energy body into harmony.
Active forms, like hatha yoga or vinyasa flow, are essential for strengthening and opening the body. Passive classes, such as yin or restorative yoga, give you the opportunity to explore the subtle energy within the body.
I know that we all tend to have our favorite styles of yoga, but incorporating a variety in your personal practice is important. You challenge your body with the active classes, and give it the time it needs to recharge with more passive classes.
As a yoga instructor, it is important to be able to facilitate this balance to your students. With knowledge of different styles, you’ll have a better understanding of how to achieve this.
Where Does Yin Yoga Come From?
The concept of yin and yang began in ancient China and was used in reference to the chi, or energy, in the body. The energy flows along different meridians within the body, and yin yoga postures are designed to release any blockages along the meridians.
According to this meridian theory, a yin yoga practice is especially helpful in balancing the chakras.
Yin yoga is a passive style of yoga where poses are held for longer periods of time, and many of them are done seated or lying down.
This may sound easy, but it is not!
Going that deep into the muscles can release some tension that may have been building for a while. This can create some intense physical and emotional reactions.
They say that thoughts and emotions manifest themselves as tightness in the body. So it’s not uncommon for certain emotions to surface during a long hold.
With such a long time spent in each of the yin yoga poses, you could also look at yin yoga as a form of meditation. Holding the yoga poses gives you the stillness to relax your mind and settle into the body.
It is a slow, delicious form of mindfulness, a moving meditation practice.
No matter what comes up in a yin yoga class, the most important thing to remember is to breathe. Staying focused on the breath will get you through challenging postures and bring your mind back to the present moment.
Besides the yoga mindfulness aspects of a yin yoga practice, it’s also a great yoga practice to support your overall health and well-being. As you settle into the yoga poses, you are slowly releasing the connective tissue in the target areas, giving your body great flexibility and mobility.
It also teaches you how to surrender to the present moment, making your yoga and meditation practice a powerful one. Whether you are a yoga teacher or practitioner, you may find yourself interested in learning more about yin yoga. For this, a teacher training program may be the right step for you.
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Where To Get Your Yin Certification
Getting a yin yoga certification is a great move for both existing and new teachers. I would recommend it even if you never plan on teaching.
There is SO MUCH to be gained for your personal yoga practice that whatever training you decide to do will not be wasted.
Most 200-, 300- or 500- hour training programs will teach a variety of yoga styles.
In fact, it’s common for programs to teach hatha yoga and ashtanga vinyasa together.
However, it is less likely for active and passive styles to be taught together. After all, the yoga postures are slightly different in the two styles of yoga, and they originate in different philosophical lineages. While many aspects of Chinese philosophy compliment Indian philosophy, and many parallels exists between traditional Chinese medicine and Indian ayurveda, there are notable differences.
Luckily, there are many different options out there for experiencing yin yoga and its teachings! My 200-hour course has a module dedicated to yin yoga, which is taught by Kassandra Reinhardt.
Yin yoga teacher trainings can be found everywhere from the Himalayan foothills to your neighborhood studio. Training online is even an option. Depending on your schedule and budget, you can definitely find a training to suit your needs.
Yin Yoga Immersion
An immersion course is a shorter, accelerated teacher training program. Yin yoga immersion programs consist of 20-60 hours, and provide a focused, in-depth study of yin yoga. This is a good choice for current yoga instructors or students looking to deepen their practice.
During a yin yoga immersion, students learn yin yoga sequences, physical anatomy focusing on the connective tissue and fascia, and often use the meridian system as a guide for understanding how each posture effects energy flow.
Keep in mind that an immersion is not a substitute for a 200-hour certification if your intention is to teach yin yoga. But, it can be taken before or after a 200-HR course for those who are on a teaching path.
Even those who don’t plan on teaching yoga can benefit from an immersion program. People who work as massage therapists, artists and social workers might also find this training helpful as it’s an excellent yoga practice to support overall health and well-being.
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Yin Yoga Teacher Training Online
I’m obviously a HUGE fan of online yoga teacher training, and recommend my Uplifted 200 hour teacher training program to absolutely anyone who wants to transform their health and wellbeing, on their own schedule.
You can take yin yoga teacher training online, too!
For the most part, online yin yoga teacher training is designed to supplement a 200 hour yoga teacher training program. These programs are meant to supplement – not replace – a foundational 200-hour yoga teacher training.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t attend a workshop or teacher training program online. In fact, some of the best options for yin yoga teacher training are online! Keep reading to check out my recommendations.
Online yin yoga teacher training courses work best for current teachers with a busy schedule or with limited access to training due to where they live.
An online program will grant you the flexibility of where, when and how long your training will take place. To facilitate the training, you will be presented with instructional videos, notes, practical assignments and teacher support.
Even if you never intend to teach a full yin yoga class, learning this style can help you cultivate yin elements for a more balanced yoga class.
200-Hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training
200 hours is the foundational training length approved by the Yoga Alliance. Yin-specific 200 our yoga teacher trainings will include yoga history, anatomy, teaching techniques, pranayama, meditation, and myofasical release technique.
If you are looking for an in-depth training format with hands-on assistance from expert trainers, then a 200 hour yin yoga teacher training is a good option for you. While committing to a 200 hour training is greater financial and time commitment, you will be thoroughly trained in the principles of yin yoga and certified to teach at the end of it.
Whether it’s for your teaching or your personal practice, doing a yin yoga training will only benefit you! After all, I think we could all use a bit of calm and balance – don’t you?
What to Look for When Choosing a Yin Yoga Teacher Training Program
Because yin yoga draws from the same philosophy of traditional medicine that guides acupuncture, acupressure and Chinese schools of herbalism, it can be difficult to choose the right yin yoga training for your needs. Yin yoga was introduced to the West by Paul and Suzee Grilley in the 1970s who pioneered a scientific approach to support the traditional practice of yin yoga that has been around for thousands of years. But it’s not always easy to tell the difference between legit teacher trainings and the scams.
The yin yoga training options available today often fuse various philosophical traditions, and range in target audience from anyone on the internet to highly trained specialists practicing TCM. Here are a few things to consider before choosing your yin yoga training:
What do you want to learn? This is the first thing to consider before signing up for a yin yoga training. Do you want to practice yin yoga for yourself? Are you a new yoga teacher seeking a top-up training to help define your niche? Or are you a professional in a related field interested in using the framework of subtle energy knowledge in your services for clients and patients?
Many yin yoga training programs will also feature a section on the course page describing who the course is for. This might sound obvious, but pay careful attention: a course targeted specifically to yoga teachers will approach topics like the five elements in a very different way than a course for the general public.
Yoga – in any form – is an oral tradition. For this reason, it’s SUPER important that you like the teaching style of the lead trainer offering your yin yoga teacher training. Do they clearly explain the principles? Are they approachable? Do you enjoy their sequencing and the mood they set for yin yoga classes? If you’re looking at an online yin yoga teacher training course, try a few classes from the instructor who leads the training before you buy it. Check YouTube or browse around their site to see if you can join a live online class or download a set of classes to make sure they’re the right fit for your learning style.
Live, retreat-style, online pre-recorded, or online hybrid? The training format you choose for your yin yoga teacher training should suit the learning environment you need to study deeply and practice in peace. Some students need an immersive, retreat- style setting to minimize distractions and explore the yin yoga practice under close guidance by a trainer. I recommend online yoga teacher training across the board because it enables you to put the practice to work in your daily life from day #1. Look for online trainings that offer live call support, synchronous group chats, and other features to support your learning journey from the comfort of home (or wherever you have WiFi).
If you are a professional in the wellness industry, make sure the yin yoga teacher training you take is certified by the associations that govern your credentials. This isn’t exactly essential for yoga teachers who are already certified with the Yoga Alliance and don’t need the continuing education credits, but certifications often reflect the rigor of the course curriculum and show that the teacher offering the training is committed to professional development.
The Best Yin Yoga Teacher Training Courses
Are you ready to invite more yin into your life? Students and teachers alike can benefit from training in yin yoga. Yin yoga courses are also useful for energy workers, therapists, social workers, stressed 9-5 workers, creative souls and anyone seeking relief from the demands of daily life in the modern world. Here are five amazing yin yoga training options:
1. Best Overall Yin Yoga Teacher Training: Online Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Kassandra
30 Hours | Self-Paced Online Training | Fully Pre-Recorded | Led by Kassandra Reinhardt, YouTube Sensation and Founder of Yoga with Kassandra
- Who Should Take This Course: Anyone who loves yin yoga!
- Program Focus: Kassandra has been sharing the joy of yin yoga with millions of people through her popular YouTube channel since 2013. Her 30 hour online yin yoga training is an incredible guide to the subtle practice of yin for anyone who loves yin yoga or perhaps would simply like to practice in the comfort of home. What sets Kassandra’s training apart from the rest is the highly structured, versatile curriculum that makes this 30 hour immersion suitable for students from a wide range of backgrounds.
The training is divided into two parts:
- Philosophy and Practical Applications
- Teaching Yin Yoga
The first module covers everything you need to get started with yin, including a yin yoga class, the benefits of yin yoga, an introduction to the chakras and meridians, and an interview with practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
The second module features sequencing methodology, more yin yoga classes, a thorough review of yin yoga asanas, and important modifications, including an hour of pre-natal practice tips, an introduction to trauma-informed yoga, and what it means to hold space in a teaching context. While targeted to those who want to teach yin, the training material in this course module is a practical guide for anyone seeking guidance building a personal yin yoga practice at home as well.
Kassandra delivers these teachings with the clarity and insight of a dedicated practitioner, empowering students to confidently take their practice and teaching goals to the next level.
Key Course Features: Kassandra’s course is recognized by a wide range of certification authorities for continuing education, including Yoga Alliance, AFAA, NASM, NSCA, ACE Fitness, British Wheel of Yoga, Canadian Yoga Alliance and Canfitpro. Here are the features that make this 30 hour online training a great investment:
- Lifetime access to all course materials, including updates and additional modules as they become available
- Approved for 20 non-contact hours of Continuing Education Credits (CEU) with the Yoga Alliance
- Free copy of Kassandra’s book, Yin Yoga: Stretch the Mindful Way
- 100+ page digital yin yoga teacher training manual
- 30+ hours of video lesson and yin yoga classes to take at your own pace
- Email support
2. Best Immersive Yin Yoga Teacher Training: Expressions of Yin: The Holistic Approach
100 hours | Live at The Yoga Barn, Bali | Module-Based Training | Led by Carlos Romero, E-RYT 500 and founder of Livin’ Inspired School of Yoga & Holistic Arts
- Who Should Take This Course: The adventurous spirit seeking a multi-sensory, comprehensive yin yoga experience in a gorgeous location. Yoga teachers can take this 100-hour course module to fulfill one of three requirements for the Livin’ Inspired 300 hour yoga teacher training course.
- Program Focus: Expressions of Yin is a full immersion into subtle energy work featuring world-class musicians, ceremonialists and sound healers taught at The Yoga Barn, a world-renowned training center for the healing arts in Bali, Indonesia. A 100-hour, retreat-style training held over 10 days, Expressions of Yin is a fully immersive program in embodied practices guiding students to heal and recharge the nervous system. It explores the meditative aspects of not only practicing yin, but of being yin through yin yoga classes, myofascial release, meridian study, somatic awareness, sound journey meditations, yoga nidra, aquatic bodywork, and the art of holding sacred space for practice.
Ceremony is at the heart of this tradition, and students will be guided to use their time for self-reflection and intuitive connection to their being at the deepest level. This course can be taken online or in person, though the experience of live music in the setting of Ubud is highly recommended for a fully immersive experience.
Key Course Features:
- 10 days all-inclusive immersive training at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
- 100 Hour Yoga Alliance Certificate (contributes towards 300 Hour Advanced Certification from Livin’ Inspired)
- Printed Expressions of Yin yoga teacher training manual
- Approved for 100 contact-hours of Continuing Education Credits (CEU) with the Yoga Alliance
- Sacred group forum with students from all over the world
3. Best 200-Hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training: Yinspiration Yin Yoga Teacher Training
200-hours | Live at The Yoga Barn, Bali | Module-Based Training | Led by Jo Phee, Dominik Trznadel and Franziska Gottschlich and Nicky Hadjithoma
- Who Should Take This Course: Yoga practitioners who want a complete education in traditional Chinese yin yoga and that doubles as a foundational Yoga Alliance certification from the lineage of Paul and Suzee Grilley.
- Program Focus: Led by Jo Phee, the Yinspiration Yoga School is the gold standard of advanced yoga education in online yin yoga teacher training. Jo Phee has served as the senior lead assistant to Paul and Suzee Grilley, teacher trainers who have popularized yin yoga in the West, since 2009, and has developed an innovative training school that fuses her extensive education in yin yoga with study of functional anatomy and upbringing with Traditional Chinese Medicine. This 200-hour yin yoga teacher training has been designed as the foundation of both the 500-hour RYT Yinspiration program and the 1000 hour Diploma in Yin Yoga, a highly-regarded training amongst bodyworkers, energy healers, yoga teachers and functional therapists who wish to grow their expertise to include the teachings of yin yoga.
Key Course Features*:
- 20 days of immersive study with a world-class teaching in Bali
- In-depth study of yin yoga theory, practice and functional yoga anatomy, including current scientific research on fascia
- Advanced teaching principles and practice applications
- Full color printed Yinsiration training manual and goodie bag
- Approved for RYT-200 registration with the Yoga Alliance
*Doesn’t include accommodation, meals, airfare or transportation costs
4. Best Traditional Chinese Medicine & Yin Yoga Teacher Training: Chinese Medicine for Yoga Online
20 hours | Self-Paced Online Training | Pre-Recorded and Live Online Workshops | Jennifer Raye, E-RYT 500 and PhD in Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Who Should Take This Course: Yoga teachers, herbalists, acupuncturists, yoga students and anyone interested in learning how to apply the system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to yoga practice. A basic understanding of yin yoga postures is recommended before taking this course.
- Program Focus: This online yin yoga teacher training course offers a foundational framework for understanding the subtle body through the the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Through pre-recorded videos and live online workshops with Dr. Jennifer Raye, E-RYT 500, participants learn how to apply the principles of TCM to yoga practice, whether their aim is to deepen their personal yoga practice or use the framework to teach yin yoga classes.
Dr. Jennifer Raye is a highly trained and deeply experienced Chinese medicine practitioner, and offers a clear, practical reading of how students can use the principles of TCM to boost awareness, balance and vitality through yoga practice. She expertly guides students through identifying meridian and acupressure points, how to tailor yoga practice to the five elements, assessing energetic patterns and indications, a comparison of TCM and ayurveda, and so much more.
Key Course Features:
- Expert guidance on how to use Chinese Medicine to deepen your yin yoga practice from an E-RYT 500 with a PhD in Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Fully self- paced. Students access course materials through an exclusive online portal, including over 30 prerecorded tutorials, lectures and practice videos, plus audio recordings, and readings
- Lifetime access to course materials and updates
- 5 live, online workshops with Jennifer Raye scheduled at your convenience
- Approved for 20 non-contact Continuing Education Credits (CEU) with the Yoga Alliance
5. Best Hybrid Yin Yoga Teacher Training: Arhanta Yoga 50-Hour Yin Yoga TTC
50 Hours | Self-Paced Online Training with Support Calls | Fully Pre-Recorded | Ram Jain, E-RYT500, Founder of Arhanta Yoga Ashrams
- Who Should Take This Course: Students who are looking for an in-depth training, seeking deep knowledge about the yin yoga tradition and can dedicate at least 3 hours of study per week to the training are a good fit for this course.
- Program Focus: The Arhanta online yin yoga teacher training course is based on the popular live training taught at the Arhanta yoga ashrams in Bansarai, India and The Netherlands. Infusing traditional Indian yoga philosophy with the science-based teachings of Western yin yoga teacher Paul Grilley, this in-depth training will enrich yoga teachers and dedicated yoga students with the tools to transform inner-body awareness through yin yoga. Students will master concepts of the energetic body and subtle energy flow, study anatomy with a special focus on connective tissues, joint mobility, postural study, and teaching methodology.
One stand-out feature of this course is the option to purchase lifetime access to support from the experienced staff at Arhanta Yoga School. Founded by Ram Jain, an Indian yoga teacher trainer who studied Vedic scriptures in Indian schools, Arhanta is a highly respected school with a broad range of online and live course offerings that can provide a lifetime of learning for committed students.
Key Course Features:
- 50 hours total of training, including recorded lectures and content, practical assignments, module quizzes, and support calls
- 70+ pre-recorded videos, including expertly designed yin yoga class sequences and live class recordings filmed at the Arhanta yoga ashrams’
- 22 downloadable resources, including printable notes for each module’
- Access to a synchronous discussion group with other current online student
- Choose between either 1 month of access and teacher support (no updates included) or a lifetime of access and teacher support with access to regular course updates
- Approved for 50 non-contact hours of Continuing Education Credits (CEU) with the Yoga Alliance
Final thoughts on Becoming a Certified Yin Yoga Teacher
Yin yoga is a beautiful contemplative practice that can completely transform your relationship to the subtle energy body, and just help you invite more chill into your busy daily life. If you’ve experienced the magic of a deep yin class and can’t wait to start teaching yin yoga, I hope this guide has helped you along your journey! Learning to skillfully hold space for others to unwind, recharge, and explore their potential for release requires you to prioritize for your own personal practice and growth – a total win-win, if you ask me 😉
Experience 3 Training Videos from Inside My 200-Hour Online YTT
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