Yin Yoga

In December, we are adding a few more Yin Yoga classes. In this guest blog post, I have asked our 2 Yin Yoga instructors, Lisa Schaefer and Nathan Paulus, to share their view on what Yin means to each of them. Enjoy and come join a class soon!

Lisa Schaefer

Yin is still pretty undiscovered in Chicago and I would love to help spread the word about this wonderful style of yoga. Yin was founded over thirty years ago by Paulie Zink, who is also a Master in the martial art of Kung Fu. He studied the natural movement of animals for many years and combined it with the five elements (earth, metal, water, wood and fire) into what is now called Yin yoga. Yin's focus is on strengthening the bones and the surrounding connective tissues. If practiced on a regular basis, the body becomes more flexible and eases into postures.

I was lucky enough to be involved in one of his recent workshops here in Chicago and learned so much from the Father of Yin Yoga. I am a big believer in making a style your own and teaching to the beat of your own drum. Paulie laid a great foundation for me in order to teach his style of yoga to my students. Most people think that Yin is holding postures for 3 to 5 minutes, and while this is true to certain practitioners and instructors, it is not my style. I have adapted to more of a fluid motion in my practice, so that there is a flow from one posture to the next. I feel that it is important to stretch the body, but also allow the body to adjust/adapt to a specific posture. Each person's ability to execute a particular posture varies from one person to the next. One student might be able to hold a posture for five minutes, while another may only be able to hold it for thirty seconds. Yin is an ever-changing practice. With daily practice you will feel your body become more natural in its flow during your Yin sequence. This is the beauty of building your own daily regimen. I hope to challenge, educate and bring enjoyment into each class that I teach. It is my goal to bring a fresh and new perspective of Yin with each student that takes a class for the first time or even someone that is a regular practitioner of it.

Lisa's classes will be offered at 7 am on Wednesdays and 9:15 am on Sundays beginning in December.

Nathan Paulus

A Yin practice places more emphasis on internal observation and awareness with more passivity both physically and mentally. There are fewer standing postures and poses that require a greater output of energy; instead, the body becomes attenuated to the effects of gravity and how to minimize resistance. Both dynamic and static movements are still employed, but the quality of both movement and stillness is one of effortlessness. Yin classes provide an easy route to release base line nervous tension that accumulates with daily stressors, they are also wonderful for learning about asymmetrical and paradoxical muscle/energy patterns present in the body. Typically, a yin class will leave the practitioner with a relaxed, calm and easy going state of being; which in my mind, is a wonderful way to employ one’s self in the external world.

Nathan’s class will be offered on Mondays at 7 am beginning in December.