A Journey into Yin Yoga

BOOK REVIEW: A Journey into Yin Yoga, by Travis Eliot

Review by Michelle Pietrzak-Wegner

This new addition to the Yin Yoga literature is a well-designed manual for approaching this quiet practice—a possible antidote to our fast-paced, yang-oriented lives (and usual movement patterns). In just 227 pages, Los Angeles–based instructor Travis Eliot provides a comprehensive overview of the system of yoga alongside the origins and practice of the Yin Yoga style. Nearly 80 of those well-organized pages are filled with beautiful photographs illustrating each posture accompanied by clear, concise instruction. Setting this Yin Yoga text apart from others are the personal journeys of six individuals who offer their perspectives on the style: Practitioners from well-known yogi Bryan Kest to hip-hop artist Stic share struggles and discoveries from their own yin practices. The book ends with suggested Yang Yoga sequences and 10 yin sequences on varying themes.

The inclusion of background on yogic energy systems, meditation, pranayama (breathwork), and the basic paths of yoga demonstrates Eliot’s view of Yin Yoga as an integral part of the complete yoga system rather than a stand-alone practice. As a yoga therapist and Yin Yoga training facilitator myself, I did yearn for this book to include more extensive modifications and adaptations that used props. A small section in the back discusses props as a great addition to personal practice, yet few images in the book include a yogi using a prop. Admittedly, there are too many variables to include photographs of all possible yin modifications, but visuals of difficult and advanced postures with props would have been helpful for inclusiveness and for reducing the risk of injury while reinforcing the message that Yin Yoga accommodates individuals’ unique anatomy.

In the end, this book is a resource for those wanting to slow down and incorporate more yin qualities into their personal practices.

Michelle Pietrzak-Wegner, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, is a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist, Yin Yoga training facilitator, and graduate student in clinical counseling. She offers yoga programs in Asia and the United States.

A version of this review first appeared in Yoga Therapy Today.