Inner Reflections
August 2, 2020

How Yin Yoga Changed My Life

Yin Yoga is quickly becoming one of the most popular styles of yoga. Everyone from professional athletes to busy mothers are turning to yin yoga to dissolve tension and stress.

If you’re unfamiliar, Yin Yoga is where you hold a deep floor stretch for typically about three to five minutes. I shared a bit about the ancient philosophy of Taoism which forms the background for this practice here [link to taosim blog post], and I’ll cover the science of what happens and why we hold these poses so long in another post. Here, let me share a little bit with you about how I, Travis Eliot, discovered Yin Yoga.

It was about 12 years ago. I was in downtown Los Angeles crossing the street. When I was about halfway through the crosswalk, all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye, I saw this car racing at me really, really, fast.  I didn’t have time to go forward. I didn’t have time to go backward. I didn’t have time to move to either side either.   

My only option was to jump.  I jumped off the ground as fast and as high as I could. As I was floating down from my jump, I hit the windshield of the car, went flying through the air and eventually, miraculously, landed on my feet in the middle of a busy intersection in downtown Los Angeles. 

I immediately noticed I had a pain in my knee, and every time I would take a step my knee would give out. A few minutes later when the emergency personnel arrived, they told me that I was very lucky to survive as most people would’ve either gotten paralyzed or, unfortunately, killed. I had escaped this near-death experience – I guess you could call it – by the skin of my teeth. I had some gashes, but I didn’t have any broken bones. My only issue was this bad knee.

I began to look for help. I went to doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, acupunctures, massage therapists, you name it. I saw as many people as I could because I was sad. I couldn’t run anymore. I couldn’t jump anymore. And I missed all that. The doctors were able to help out a little bit, but still, I didn’t have the same body that I had and this sent me into a little bit of a depression. 

Eventually, I discovered something called Yin Yoga through some online videos. I started doing the Yin Yoga practice, and my knee started feeling better. Some positions and some poses would hurt, but it was the good kind of pain. 

There’s bad stress and then there’s positive stress. I found that yin yoga put a positive stress onto my knee, and within six weeks my knee was completely healed. 

Not only was it healed, but it was actually better than it was before.  I was blown away because here I’d been going to see all these doctors. I’d spent thousands of dollars doing that. And just by doing these slow deep floor stretches, I felt completely better.  Safe to say, I was hooked and now Yin Yoga is one of my favorite styles of yoga to both practice and teach. 

So this is how I got into Yin Yoga in a nutshell.  This all happened because I’d gotten injured, and was able to heal and repair my body. And to this day, 12 years later, I can go running through the mountains and feel better than ever. This would never have been possible if it wasn’t for Yin Yoga.

Yin Yoga will slow down the aging process. It’ll improve your flexibility, your mobility, your suppleness. It’ll switch on that parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, decreasing stress, promoting more calm.

Below are some recommend practices to experience the benefits of Yin Yoga today: