Artwork by Phil Goodwin
Yin Yoga is the perfect complement to traditional Yang Yoga practices. It gives you the opportunity to feel, explore and meditate in each posture because you have to hold each posture for a minimum of 3-5 minutes!
It encourages a mindfulness in one's practice and in contrast to a Yang practice that works on your muscle strength and flexibility, the Yin practice is designed to "juice up" your joints and connective tissues and helps to energise your major organs and unblock major meridans in the body.
Hatha Yoga (Wikepedia definition)
Traditional hatha yoga is a holistic yogic path, including diciplines, postures (asana), purification procedures (shatkriya), gestures (mudra), breathing (pranayama), and meditation. The hatha yoga predominantly practiced in the West consists of mostly asanas understood as physical exercises. It is also recognised as a stress-reducing practice.
Hatha yoga is one of the two branches of yoga that focuses on the physical culture, Hatha yoga utilises not only meditative postures but also cultural postures. Hatha represents opposing energies: hot and cold (fire and water, following similar concept as yin-yang), male and female, positve and negative.
Hatha yoga attempts to balance mind and body via physical postures or "asanas", purification practices, controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation.
Asanas teach poise, balance and strength and are practiced to improve the body's physical health and clear the mind in preparation for meditation. However if an individual has too much phlegm or fat then purification procedures are a necessity before undertaking pranayama!
Yoga includes focus on mindfulness, breathing and physical movements which brings health benefits with regular participation. Yoga participants report better sleep, increased energy levels and muscle tone, relief from muscle pain and stiffness, improved circulation and overall better general health. The breathing aspect of yoga can benefit heart rate and blood pressure.