Yin Yoga, Acupuncture and The Meridian System

Yin Yoga, Acupuncture and The Meridian System

The magic of Yin Yoga is best explained by the Meridian System.

Yin Yoga is a slow-paced practice that involves long-held, passive poses. Its primary focus is to stretch and strengthen our connective tissues, particularly targeting our fascia, joints, tendons and ligaments. During a Yin class, you will typically hold a pose for several minutes, allowing ample time for your body (and mind) to surrender.

Yin poses create healthy ‘stress’ through tension and compression – both of which are needed to create and maintain healthy joints.

But this style of yoga practice also offers us the opportunity to access deep relaxation and take time for  self-reflection.

While Yin Yoga, if practiced regularly will improve your mobility, it is not about achieving extreme flexibility or perfecting complex postures. Quite the opposite. It invites us to let go of the need to do more or to accomplish. 

As you hold the poses for extended periods, you are encouraged to observe sensations, emotions, and thoughts that arise, practicing non-attachment. In the stillness, It is a powerful gateway to mindfulness and meditation as we get to explore deeper layers of ourselves – physical, mental, emotional.

The Meridian System

Yin Yoga has strong ties to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture through the concept of Meridians. The meridian system forms the backbone of TCM and acupuncture.

So what are they?

Meridians are invisible energy pathways that criss-cross our body, creating a network through which Qi (life force energy) flows. They are not unlike the Nadis and the Chakra system from India. Check out our introduction to chakras and energy centres

In TCM, it is believed that the proper flow of Qi through the meridians promotes physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

There are twelve primary meridians and eight extraordinary meridians, each associated with different organs and functions.

Therapeutically accessing the meridian lines through acupuncture (at a deeper, more precise level) or yin (at a broader, more ‘blunt’ level’), affects the associated organ thus supporting organ health, 

The 12 primary meridians, are divided into Yin and Yang groups. .

The Yin Meridians of the arm are the Lung, Heart, and Pericardium (Heart Protector). The Yang meridians of the arm are the Large Intestine, Small Intestine and Triple Burner.

The Yin Meridians of the leg are the Spleen, Kidney, and Liver. The Yang meridians of the leg are the Stomach, Bladder and Gall Bladder.

mannequin displaying the meridians


Acupuncture, involves the insertion of very thin needles into very specific points along the Meridian paths to stimulate and rebalance the flow of energy or Qi.

The acupoints are places where meridians are believed to be most accessible.

Acupuncturists are highly skilled and trained to understand the function of each meridian and acupoint. All of this happens within the wider context of both Five Elements which is all about balance and harmony of energy – Yin and Yang.

In China, home of TCM, acupuncture is a therapy designed to keep our organs healthy and in balance – long before they get sick.

With their shared roots in the meridian system, Yin Yoga is a powerful complement to Acupuncture and acupuncture turbo-charges the Qi experience.

AcuYoga & Yin Yoga Classes

At Mandala we host 3 weekly Yin classes. Tuesdays 7.30pm, Thursdays 6.30pm and Sundays 5.30pm. Visit the schedule here

Our Five Elements AcuYoga Immersion Series combines the  power of Yin Yoga with the Qi TurboCharge of Acupuncture to get your Qi building and flowing for more vitality and balance. 

This series is a collaboration between Licensed acupuncturist Lucia O’Byrne of Aspire Health and senior Yin Yoga teacher Susan Ni D.

Our next workshop exploring the Element of Fire the Element of Summer – takes place Sat 11 May..

To learn more about Five Elements, check out our blog about how our immersion series explores each element in turn as we travel through the seasons.

five elements of tcm