In the midst of our most yin time of year, when the days are the shortest, we celebrate the beginning of the return of the sun to the northern hemisphere with our most yang celebration of the year. However you celebrate the solstice season, as Christmas or the Saturnalia or whatever celebration you choose, take a few moments to remember to breathe. This can be a very stressful time; this can be a great time to reconnect to your breath.
In this edition of Yinsights, we will examine the causes and consequences of stress and how to manage stress with our breath. Yin Yoga is an excellent time to learn to create new breathing habits and awareness. If you find this edition helpful, please share it with others.
Wishing you a wonderful and mindful holiday and a peaceful new year. Cheers, Bernie
The Yinside of Breathing
“It can be argued that stress is the number one killer in the Western world today.”
The above quote is from Dr Timothy McCall. In his book Yoga as Medicine, he goes on to say, “… stress fuels some of the biggest health problems of our time, including type 2 diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, heart attacks and strokes as well as autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis. While there isn’t a lot of evidence that stress causes cancer, it appears to increase the odds of dying from the disease.”
Whew … stress! Who needs it? Stress is unavoidable in our culture and some amount of stress is actually needed for our bodies to be strong and healthy. All exercise includes the dual components of stress and rest. However, when we experience too much stress and not enough rest, problems arise. In physiological terms we are hyperactive in our Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and hypoactive in our Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). The SNS and PNS are part of our autonomous nervous system, and our yoga practice, especially the Yin Yoga practice, can help rebalance these two important systems. Before we examine how Yin Yoga, combined with mindful breathing, can help reduce our stress levels and dial back the SNS, let’s look a bit more at what these two systems do.
If you are having trouble finding a Yin Yoga teacher near your, or if you are travelling to somewhere new, try checking out the Directory of Yin Yoga teachers. We have hundreds of teachers registered from all over the world. If you are a teacher and are not in the directory, just send us your information and we’ll be happy to add you.
The forum is available for anyone to ask questions about Yin Yoga in particular or Yoga in general, but the forum is not just for those who “don’t know” – it is also available for everyone who already knows, and has stories and information to share with others. Recently the forum has been changed to make it easier to find the most common topics. Check it out and feel free to add your voice.
Yin is In! And, it is growing in popularity. Yin Yoga has been with us since the beginning of Hatha Yoga centuries ago. But since the early 19th century, yoga has become more and more yang-like in nature. Everything requires balance: yin completes yang. Yin Yoga is the balancing practice for the more active, muscular yang yogas. There are more and more teachers offering Yin Yoga today, and more workshops and opportunities to learn how to become a Yin Yoga teacher. If diving deeper into the yin-side of life is on your bucket list, there are lots of opportunities for you.
Upcoming Yin Yoga Teacher Trainings & Retreats with Bernie Clark
35 Hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training
January 15th-30th, 2011 (Weekends only) at the Semperviva Yoga Studios – Vancouver, B.C., Canada
The Yin Yoga Teacher Training Program offered at the Semperviva Yoga College is a unique way to deepen your yoga practice and touch tissues rarely worked in a more active yang style of yoga. For 200 hour certified teachers the credits of the course can be applied towards the 500 hour certification, and is eligible for CEUs with Yoga Alliance. (Continuing Education Units are required to maintain your status as a Registered Yoga Teacher).
7-Day: 60 Hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training & Retreat
With Bernie Clark & Diana Batts May 29th to June 5th, 2011 at the Sea-to-Sky Retreat Centre, Whistler, B.C., Canada
The Spring 2011 Yin Yoga Teacher Training will take place from May 29th to June 5th, 2010. This retreat is designed for students who have been practicing Yoga for at least one year and want to deepen their understanding of the practice. Prior experience in Yin Yoga is not required. You do not have to desire to become a Yoga teacher, but you are expected to have a passion for Yoga. The facility is limited, so attendance is restricted to the first 20 students who apply.
Many teachers around the world are creating Yin Yoga based workshops and retreats. Some of them are posting these activities on our Forum page. Check it out. There may be one happening near you. (If you are a teacher, feel free to add yours to the page!)
The Yinside of Breathing The onset of winter can be one of the most stressful times of the whole year. Stress can manifest in many ways, as dis-ease, sickness, tiredness or a general sense of anxiety. Yoga can help in many ways, especially when combined with mindful breathing. Click here to learn more.
A Life Worth Breathing Max Strom has released a wonderful new book called A Life Worth Breathing. I highly recommend it for every yoga student and teacher. It is not just a book about breathing (pranayama) – it is a book about living. Here is what Paul Grilley has to say, “Wonderfully written, thoughtful, thorough, and convincing.” It is great – read it! Click here to learn more.
Recent Forum Topics On the YinYoga.com website there is a forum where anyone can ask questions about Yin Yoga or other topics, and everyone is free to offer wise commentary. Click here to learn more.
Teacher Trainings & Retreats There are several Yin Yoga teacher training courses being held by Bernie Clark over the next 12 months. The next one is happening in January, 2011 in Vancouver Click here to learn more about these.
Checking out Other Interesting Events There are many teachers leading workshops, Yin Yoga retreats and Teacher Trainings. Click here to learn more.