Top Yin Yoga Classes
Hi, I´m Melissa from Yoga with Melissa, I teach yin yoga, restorative yoga, yin yang yoga and yoga nidra. Yin Yoga is one of the most watched and loved forms of yoga videos on my main channel Yoga with Melissa. But, I know there are a lot of days in the month that you can be practicing yin yoga and so I thought I would share with you the best yin yoga classes from May of 2019.
You may wonder, what were my criteria for choosing these classes? There are a lot of yin yoga classes available on YouTube these days! When I looked at the classes available on YouTube I was making sure that this was a style of yoga that the yoga teacher was established in on their channel. In other words, this wasn’t a fitness instructor trying out yin yoga. I also wanted to make sure that they understood and were teaching the principles of yin: choosing an appropriate edge, softening, being still and staying in the pose.
Classes that did not make the list were clickbait classes. In other words, they said they were yin yoga classes, but then they didn’t have long holds or the language was too yang and focused on doing more, being more, achieving more. I just thought that was antithetical to yin. Also if the title of the class did not match the content, in other words if it said it was a chakra yin class or a meridian class then the content of the class didn’t actually teach about chakras or meridians.
The other thing that had me turning classes off was not looking after knees and necks. Need I say more?
I practiced a lot of yin yoga from YouTube this past month so let´s get into it!
#10 Yin Yoga for Mornings Yin Yoga with Trishy link
Trishy is also new to YouTube, she began her channel a year ago. She did her Yin Yoga training with Kassandra Reinhardt. What I appreciated about this class for mornings is that it opened up the body while still embodying the qualities of yin. That is it was meditative, receptive, quiet and slow. This was something that Trishy promised at the outset and she stayed true to her promise throughout the class. There was a good explanation of edge at the beginning, which I also appreciated.
Trishy had some interesting yin poses that I had never seen before such as monkey and a variation on archer, that worked well in a morning class to open the body after sleep. I have done a couple of Trishy´s classes now and one thing I have found as a student, because she doesn’t teach yin with integration between poses is that I find it challenging when she goes from same to same, for example: a posture with spinal extension to another in extension, or a posture with a deep knee bend to another posture with deep knee bends.
I appreciate the way Trishy holds space in her yin classes with all the silence for us to be in our own experience. Looking forward to seeing how her yin yoga teaching develops.
#9. Yoga Society Yin Yoga for Opening the Meridian Lines with Tahnee link
Tahnee from Yoga Society embodies yin, time extends in her class and you can settle into each yin yoga pose. Her voice is perfect for yin yoga. Great cueing with lots of checking in and space between poses. She does a lot to encourage interoception and to feel the poses and come into the poses by feeling from the inside. There was a lot of permission to let go, to not strive and to be in the moment. She is a master of holding space so that you can just be with your experience.
My one concern with this class is that it was about the meridians. I found myself wanting Tahnee to tell us which meridian she was intended to focus on in each pose. She did tell us in dragonfly, however in that pose I lost a little confidence in her because while she named the meridians on the inside of the legs correctly, and one of the meridians on the outside of the legs correctly, the urinary bladder is at the back of the legs and the stomach is at the front. So then I thought, well, maybe if she wasn’t sure, she shouldn’t have said.
Tahnee from Yoga Society is Brand new to YouTube. Definitely go over and support her channel.
#8. Vanessa Michele Yin Yoga for Stress Relief link
This was a fantastic class for the seasonal transition from winter to spring to leg go. Vanessa does a wonderful job of sequencing yin postures for the liver and gallbladder meridian which are right on cue for releasing the stress and also for her intention of supporting us into the seasonal transition into spring. Vanessa offers lots of good cues for building the yin poses and softening into the yin poses. She also offers time to receive the poses after each yin pose. She offered us some adjustments in sphinx and cow’s face, but also permission to come out if the poses were not working for us. I would have liked longer holds, especially in my favourite pose bananasana, but maybe she was running out of time in her short 30 minute class. We did get a nice long savasana, which I always appreciate, a lot of times YouTube teachers cut this short. I will definitely be back for more yin classes from Vanessa.
#7. Yoga Ranger Yin Yoga for Kidney Meridian link
This is a great practice for the kidney meridian. The thing I enjoy about Aprille’s yin classes is her creativity of yin postures and sequences. In this class we got to experience tipsy frog, winged dragon and windshield wiper twist. All of that while we focused on courage and the kidney meridian. If you have knee issues you may struggle with a child’s pose variation, but you could take hand to big toe pose with your leg out to the side instead.
Aprille was a great yin guide throughout the class, seamlessly offering principle of yin cues as we practiced. She reminded us to soften, tied courage to stillness, and from the beginning reminded us this is not a yang class and we should let gravity do the work in this class.
#6 Sally Miller 10 Minute Guided Meditation on the 5 Five Essentials of Yin Yoga and Somatic Meditation link
Although not technically yin yoga, I had to include this jewel of an offering from Sally Miller this month. Sally Miller is probably the most underrated yin yoga teachers on YouTube. She embodies all the qualities of yin. She is feminine, soft, calm, accepting and all those qualities allow you to come into your yin practice with ease.
This short guided meditation on the five essential qualities of yin yoga is the perfect prequel to any yin yoga class. It can be done lying down and it will prepare your body to soften and to be able to receive your yoga postures. If you haven’t heard of Sally Miller, go over, subscribe to her channel right now and then lie down and do this meditation.
#5 Yoga with Kassandra Yin Yoga and Affirmations for Inner Peace and Guidance link
It is no secret that Yoga with Kassandra is the Queen of Yin on YouTube. There is good reason for this too. In her yin classes she dishes up classic yin postures along with some creative variations that still embody the principles of yin – that is they get into the deeper tissues of the body. When you click on a Yin yoga class by Kassandra you know you are going to get long holds and stillness, the things that you are supposed to get in a yin class. The thing that I love about Kassandra’s classes is that she gives you a lot of space for your own experience with silence. This was definitely true of this class too.
If you have knee issues Kassandra does not give options in childs pose or pigeon pose, so you will need to know your own modifications.
For this Yin Yoga and Affirmations class I was super impressed with her discussion at the beginning which gave a comprehensive discussion of affirmations with a lot of permission on how to be with them throughout the class and ideas on how to journal with them after class. If you are a nondualism such as Toaism or Buddhism as many people who practice yin yoga are, you will still find plenty of space to explore non-duality throughout the ample space and silence that Kassandra offers throughout the class.
#4 Brett Larkin Root Chakra Yin Yoga – Calming, Relaxing, & Grounding Sequence link
This was actually my first ever experience taking a Brett Larkin class too! I was in love with the long holds. The class started with a 7 min forward fold which was just heavenly. Brett took a lot of time to let us settle into the pose and to teach us how to let go into this forward fold. I also loved the cue give yourself over to the pose, almost at the end of the class.
If you have back issues, sciatica or slipped discs, no modifications were given for this straight leg forward fold. She did give a lot of options in half saddle or half heros, although if that pose was not going to work because of knee issues there was not an alternative. Same for toe stand, if you have hammer toes or toe issues, there was not an alternative offered even though she offered way to make the pose less intense.
I enjoyed Brett’s teachings around the first chakra in this class, especially in toe stand when she spoke about how this pose brought us to feelings of fight or flight and asked us to notice what came up for us in this pose. I thought her teaching was at a high point in this pose. Throughout the class she offered first chakra affirmations, that wove well into the class.
The other thing that I appreciated about Brett’s yin class was the time in between the postures to allow the experience to integrate. The end of the class with a short mudra and chanting lam was a nice way to close out.
#3 Self Care Yin Yoga with Katie Blecker Yoga link
I am so impressed with this new to YouTube Yin Yoga teacher. Katie has mastered the art of teaching a short yin yoga class for YouTube. So often when I do short yin classes on YouTube I see teachers sacrificing the long holds in favour of trying to get more poses in. Katie languishes in three luxurious yin poses in this class. I love that she goes slowly, gives lots of options with tones of propping. She coaches the principles of yin including edge and softening. The holds are long and she models stillness. There is time between each pose to integrate the poses as well. This is also something that I do not see very often in YouTube yin yoga classes, generally yin yoga classes on YouTube whip from one pose to the next without giving time for the yin pose to integrate. I think this is one of the important distinctions of yin. I loved hearing Katie continually remind us to take as much time as we need.
If you are hard of hearing you will probably struggle with her sound. I hope that as her channel grows she will invest in a microphone so that we do not miss a single one of her important instructions. Please make sure you go and subscribe to this new YouTube teacher, she is a gifted yin teacher.
#2 Yin Yoga for Hamstring Flexibility Yoga with Kassandra link
I have another yin yoga with Kassandra class on this list but I had to pop this one in here too because it is classic and simple yin that will leave you feeling in a yin way! What I mean by that is I came away from this class feeling so calm and peaceful. I love the long holds, the silence, the no music, all of this allows me to go deep into my own practice. I think this is what Kassandra does particularly well. She sets up the poses, provides a few essential cues and then gets out of your way so that you can have your own experience.
This class will not be suitable for you if you have low back issues, slipped discs or herniated discs as it is an entire class of straight legged forward folds.
The reason this class will create such peace is that the hamstrings trace the urinary bladder meridian lines along the back of the legs. This organ system is tied to your autonomic nervous system – sympathetic nervous system – fight or flight and parasympathetic nervous system – rest and digest. So the longer we held into those hamstring poses, the more we sunk into the rest and digest, which allows you to relax, slow down, release stress. That was the main benefit that I received from this class and why I love stimulating my urinary bladder meridian so much.
#1 Travis Eliot FULL Yin Yoga “Foundations” Class (45min.) with Travis Eliot – Flexibility & Beyond Program link
This was my first yin yoga class with Travis Eliot and the whole time I was taking this yin yoga class with him I was thinking, what took me so long? Travis has an incredible talent for paying equal attention to our bodies and our minds. That is I felt he was equally training our body and our minds throughout. Travis is seeped in Buddhist and Taoist philosophy and that came through during the entire yin class. The principles of yin were also attended to in the class.
I was absolutely captivated by his languating. Things like “intuition instructs from within” and I’m here to remind you to pay attention to your inner teacher” and “medicine for the spine.” and “heavy velvet blanket” I just want to know, Travis Eliot, how to do memorize all those quotes? On the quote front, and this is personal, a quote that bothers me is the Pema Chodron quote that gets bantered around quite a bit in the yoga community “nothing ever goes away until it teaches you what you need to learn” I feel like this quote is probably often taken out of context and is a bit shaming and judgmental. I mean there are people living with long term chronic illnesses and terminal illnesses. Those are not going away. I just think, how do those people feel when they hear a quote like that. It just doesn’t feel kind to me.
I appreciated how he gave lots of modifications in poses like pigeons with blocks. Also how he used blocks for props to soften the mind in childs pose. The pacing of the class was wonderful with long holds and it felt like time was expanding.
By the end of the class, I found myself wanting more silence, which he did give us in savasana. Overall my impression at the end of the class is that Travis is incredibly skilled at attending to the mind and body and I will be interested in future classes to see if he has the same skill of attending to the energetic body with meridians, because he did not touch on that at all in this class.
So what did I learn from this experience of taking so many yin yoga classes this month? I learned just both how valuable and vulnerable it is to be a yoga student. I learned a lot of yin poses and variations that I had not seen before from these teachers.
I learned how much as as student I look to the teacher to provide options and modifications, in every class, because this might be my first time doing their class. I learned how much I wanted to hear about the principles of yin in every class. I also learned how much I wanted to be taught about what is happening in the poses with the meridians. Of course some of this is personal preference, but it has impacted me as a teacher as I move forward too.
For me it was challenging to be with so many different teachers and a lot of different energies this month. I did more classes than the ten that landed on this list and so it solidified for me how much I enjoy being with my own experience. As a teacher, this has me reflecting on holding space for my students to be in their own experience as well.
If you would like to check out my yin yoga classes, click here: link