YinYasa is an interwoven experience of dynamic movements and static holds.
Yin and Yang are concepts which describe the two relative qualities present in everything. Yin is more internal, passive, cooling and downward. Yang is more external, dynamic, warming and upward.
When these terms are applied in yoga, Yin Yoga is a slower practice where poses are passively held for longer. Yin Yoga works on the deep, dense connective tissues and joints in the body. Yang Yoga, in contrast, refers to a more active practice that works on the muscles and blood flow, building strength, stamina and flexibility. Yang styles of yoga are those with rhythm and repetition like Vinyasa Flow.
A YinYasa class may start with Yin poses to calm the mind and to work on the joints before the muscles are warm. Alternatively, the class may start dynamically (Yang) and end with longer held poses to relax and calm the nervous system. The sequencing of the class can have a powerful effect on your energy levels and how you feel after class.
Combining both Yin and Yang elements in one class provides a balanced practice and can have a powerful effect on energy levels. For example, if you are low in energy, starting with some Yin poses can be a good way to get on the mat and into your practice. Alternatively, beginning with Yang and finishing with Yin will leave you feeling calm and grounded. By practising Yin yoga first, we can carry over this very mindful way of practising into our dynamic practice. This is beneficial for those of us who might have a tendency towards competitiveness or striving in asanas (poses).
For a balanced yoga practice, we need both Yang and Yin elements. You could try including one or two Yin sessions along with more active yoga classes into your weekly schedule. Or practice both Yin and Yang together in a YinYasa class.