One week from today, I'll be starting a week-long 50-hour Yin Yoga teacher training with Bernie Clark in Vancouver!
I am soooooo excited, not only to go to Vancouver (which I hear is gorgeous), but because I have become completely obsessed with Yin Yoga (in a good way!) over the past two years or so. Bernie Clark is one of the leading lights of the Yin style - he studied with both of the major innovators of the style, Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers, and his teaching really brings their two valuable perspectives together. Here's an interesting LA Times article that quotes both Sarah and Paul, about the rising popularity of Yin Yoga.
I can't wait to absorb all the information from the training and to delve even deeper into Yin Yoga. In Yin, the poses are done passively, with muscles relaxed. I like to say that it's a form of yoga you can do with your socks on (no standing poses means no slipping.) With the muscles relaxed, the stretch reaches the deeper tissues of the body - ligaments and connective tissues - and thus it benefits the health of the joints.
Yin Yoga is also very focused on the body's natural energy system. In Indian yoga, we call this energy "prana." Yin Yoga happens to be based more on the energetic theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine, so we're talking about "chi" in this context. However, it is incredibly interesting to see how both Chinese and Indian yogis observed chi/prana and the body, and how their theories complement one another.
In Chinese Medicine, the chi flows through pathways called "meridians" (similar to the nadis in Indian yoga). It is believed that these meridians are housed in our connective tissues. Thus, these long-held Yin Yoga poses give us access to stimulating and directing our chi through specific meridians as we stretch and gently pressurize our connective tissues. Cool, huh?!? You can actually learn how to give yourself a big dose of Vitamin Chi.
So, Yin Yoga really works on many levels, physically, mentally, and energetically. I find it to be a very profound form of yoga. My Yin practice always leaves me feeling extremely relaxed, but quite sharp and alert. I highly recommend giving it a try.