80: Common Challenges of Yin Yoga: Community Conversations with Shannon Stephens

The practice of Yin yoga is unusual in that it asks us to do the opposite of what we do in the rest of our lives. That contrast is powerful, but adjusting to it can bring up challenges.

In this episode, returning guest Shannon Stephens is back to talk to host Rachel about the common challenges of Yin Yoga for both students and teachers, and shares her tips on how we can navigate them skillfully to get the most out of our practice.

Listen to this episode to learn how to embrace the contrast between Yin yoga and daily life to create a more fulfilling, and ultimately revealing, practice.

“The adage of less is more is definitely a lesson to take into a Yin practice. It’s approaching it in a way where we go to the beginning of sensation and then we just allow for time to be what gives it its potency.” – Shannon Stephens


“Regardless of how seasoned we are in our practice, the idea of sitting with pain or discomfort…goes against the grain of begin human.” – Shannon Stephens

Show Notes:

  • Student challenges in Yin Yoga: dealing with discomfort [2:59]
  • Discerning between different types of discomfort [4:32]
  • Difficulty letting go in Yin [8:46]
  • Managing the spectrum of mobility in a Yin yoga class [14:05]
  • Noticing phasic changes within a Yin pose [19:49]
  • Adjusting to the slow pace of Yin compared to the fast pace of life [20:35]
  • Practical ways to attune to the subtle body in Yin [27:21]
  • Yin can feel messy compared to other yoga styles [32:52]
  • Challenges of teaching Yin Yoga [37:34]
  • Pros and cons of moving around the room when teaching [39:10]
  • How to leave more space for quiet [41:17]
  • Strategies for keeping time [43:17]
  • Guiding students out of poses and managing the “rebound” [46:12]
  • Preparing to teach Yin [48:08]
  • Tips for teaching Yin without props [50:45]
  • Creating a safe, supportive space for students [53:36]
  • Overall tips for managing the challenges of Yin: intention and compassion [57:41]
  • Being prepared to teach and practice; show up authentically [1:00:32]
  • Learning the impermanence of feelings and sensations [1:03:50]
  • Final takeaways: every practice teaches us something [1:07:50]

Links Mentioned:

Facebook | Instagram | This Land Yoga

“Yin is a much bigger, broader, and more spacious container for awareness.” – Rachel Land

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