by Biff Mithoefer Healing Arts Press, 2006 Review by Christian Perring on Jun 24th 2008
The Yin Yoga Kit consists of a book, a CD and a set of 14 cards explaining the principles of yin yoga and how to do it. The book has 131 pages, with both text and black and white photographs. Mithoefer explains the Taoist Meridian System and the Tantric Chakra System, each of which theorizes the interconnections of different parts of the mind/body. Chapters at the end of the book are closer to western medicine, discussing anatomy, connective tissue and the skeleton. Yin yoga involves stretching muscles and connective tissue by holding postures for a long time, up to 5 or 10 minutes, so it is a very slow practice. The main part of the book shows the main yin yoga postures, setting out their benefits and also giving variations for people who are less flexible. The CD is narrated by Mithoefer, who leads the listener through a 74 minute practice. The cards, which have color photographs of Mithoefer and a woman both practicing the postures, with varying poses. Those who subscribe to the basic ideas of eastern medicine may well find Mithoefer's explanations convincing, and those who do not can easily skip these parts. Most of the book and the CD are very practical, telling practitioners how to arrange their bodies and how to cope with the strong emotions that these postures can provoke. Mithoefer's writing style is straightforward and his voice on the CD is soothing and friendly. For those who are familiar with other forms of yoga, or those wanting a meditative bodily practice that will challenge them emotionally and physically, yin yoga is definitely worth trying. This kit is a good way to start, especially for those who find audio guides useful.