The Yin Yoga Kit is another book I fell passionately in love with and have integrated it into my daily practice.  Biff Mithoefer does a magnificent job of explaining just exactly what yin yoga is, what poses it’s composed of and how to do the practice.

The kit comes in three parts. The first is a manual that explains the principles of yin yoga, and its benefits. Mithoefer explains the basics of yin and yang energy, meridians, and acupressure points.  He explains how these gentle poses are designed to stimulate deep tissue such as tendons and connective tissue that often gets neglected in more rigorous exercises. 

The text provides charts and graphs that are simple and are easy to understand.  The instructions for the poses are comprehensible and the photographs he uses to demonstrate each pose are clear and well defined. 

The second part of the kit is the cards. This handy little tool provides instructions on each pose. There are pictures demonstrating each pose, as well as variations for each, as well as instructions for using props such as cushions and blankets.  The cards also determine which meridians are stimulated and what muscles and tendons are used. 

These cards make for a great reference point when you’re on the mat. It’s much easier to go through the cards than it is getting up and fumbling for the book and looking up the postures that way.  By use of the cards, you can flip through the set quickly and without interrupting your practice.  They’re also easy to slip into a pocket or a purse if you’re going to work out on the lawn or the park.

The cards are also great for designing and personalizing your yoga practice.  You can use a few cards for a ten minute practice or you can use all of the cards for a two hour practice, providing you hold the poses for five minutes each.  I personally find that a bit too much and opt for a thirty to forty five minute practice holding each pose for approximately three minutes.  Your mileage, however, may vary. 

The third tool in this kit is a CD that contains seventy five minutes and thirteen tracks of information and instruction.  The CD provides a short verbal practice, led by Mithhoefer himself, a metta meditation practice as well as a timer which helps you keep track of how long to hold a pose.

My only kvetch? I dearly wish the kit had come with a DVD.

I love this kit, as well as this gentle and beautiful practice.  It didn’t take long to incorporate these poses into my daily yoga workout, and they’re easy enough for anyone to do, even during the heat of the day.   And with all new exercise routines I offer caution and seek the blessings of your health care provider before doing these.

Highly Recommended.

~reviewed by Patricia Snodgrass

Author: Biff Mithhoefer
Healing Arts Press, 2006
pp. 127, $24.95