a yang girl gets yin: 5 lessons from Yin yoga master Bernie Clark
January 19, 2011
What do you mean faster isn’t better?
Greater sensation isn’t always ideal? More is more, right?
I’ve been a yang-based girl for a lot of my life, running and rushing at life and in my yoga practice like there’s no tomorrow. Luckily for me, I had a mild quarter-life crisis when I hit 25. I had my dream job, dream guy, and dream city to call home. But my health was shot, my sleep was gone, and, frankly, so was my happiness. I was tense and uptight and, most of all, feeling like though I’d ended up exactly where I’d planned to be, I wasn’t actually supposed to be there.
Happy ending: I signed up for teacher training, ended the relationship, moved to a different home, and completely re-vamped my life; the dream job was the first to go.
Since then I’ve had many amazing people come into my life and share powerful insights to help me tap into that place of deeper, greater ease and peace: the Yinside.
This is a term coined by Yin yoga master Bernie Clark. I’m doing his brilliant Yin yoga teacher training at Semperviva Yoga right now, and loving it like crazy.
Here’s 5 reasons why: 1. Bernie’s big on self-acceptance. Not in that new-agey, I love you, you love me, kind of way–but in that practical, every body truly is different kind of way. A friend of mine was so transfixed by Bernie’s explanation of how and why different bodies can or can’t do different yoga poses that she decided to sign up for teacher training that day.
2. The guidelines for practicing and teaching Yin resonate on a deeper level: Find your first edge; get still; hold for time. You don’t need to go to your max to get maximum results. In fact, you’ll go deeper, further, faster, if you accept your initial so-called ‘limitations’.
3. Anatomy can be destiny. Bernie teaches that our physical bone structure may prevent us from embodying a pose in the particular way our teacher would like us to present it. i.e. your bone structure may prevent you from ever lining your triangle pose up between those two imaginary planes of glass.
4. The question is–what do you feel? It’s not up to any teacher–other than your own inner guru–to tell you what you are or should be feeling in a pose. It’s up to you, and me, to figure that out for ourselves, move deeply into our own experience of the pose, and adjust it accordingly.
5. The trick is to think about compression or tension. If we’re feeling tension that’s preventing us from moving deeper into a pose, well, as Bernie says, we should “suffer through it”. It’ll decrease over time. If it’s compression, though, we may never work through that, and this is where acceptance of where we’re at comes in.
All in all, it’s really jiving with what I love about yoga and am learning about Buddhism: self-acceptance.
Namaste, and good luck with your own path towards self-love,