What is Yin Yoga Anyway?
Blog by: Samantha Akers
“Yin Yoga.. what is it? Is it safe? Why should be practice this modality? Are we “stretching” ligaments?”
These are all valuable questions. I believe we SHOULD practice Yin Yoga, but as teachers, we must have a deeper understanding of the fascia, ligaments and of what type of body benefits from what type of practice.
Yin Yoga affects the Parasympathetic nervous system as well as the fascial fabric of the body; both are extremely beneficial. Our fascia likes long held poses; one to five minutes, in most cases, begins to melt and lengthen the fascia. As the fascia warms and lengthens, the nervous system can move fight or flight to the rest and digest space. Fascia is informed by the chemicals produced in the body, not by the myotatic reflex in the way the muscles respond. When the “happy” chemicals are produced, such as Oxytocin, the Parasympathetic nervous system is switched. So it’s a win, win!
The concerns are valid, but they can be addressed with proper and skillful training in Yin Yoga. Tom Myers asks, “Are you a temple dancer or a viking?” Meaning, are you hyper mobile in your fascia ( it’s not just joints that are mobile, but the whole fascial network) or are you quite inflexible? We must address this in a Yin practice and I do so by giving mobile bodies cues to strengthen and isometrically contract vs just flopping passively into a pose.
What about flexible vs. Inflexible bodies for Yin Yoga?
Flexible bodies don’t need more flexibility and for these folks, Yin can be a great challenge AND work to strengthen the fascia around their ligaments and tendons. For the more inflexible folks on the spectrum, they need some “stress” to the fascia, and yes, perhaps even the fascia around the ligaments. Tom Myers also believes that many of us need some “stress” not “stretch” of the ligamentation.
As teachers, we can learn to develop our eyes to see who needs what in a class and offer poses and instructions accordingly, always using props to support the body. I have done extensive study with Tom Myers and Russ Pfeiffer as well as cadaver study to delve into what is happening in the body when fascia becomes adhered, especially internally.
The other side of the Yin pose
I bring Metta, a form of loving kindness meditation, into my Yin classes. This is a great opportunity, through long held poses, to practice loving kindness. Students report that they find they experience more ease and less pushing towards a goal, when they incorporate Metta phrases. In my trainings, I incorporate Metta, the Science of a Stretch, Biomechanics, Passive vs Contraction, use of props and developing the eye and the insight to see which students need what type of assistance to benefit from Yin in a safe and holistic way. I also include the TCM meridians, as they run through the myofascial lines of the superficial body.
Yin is a beautiful and beneficial practice and I believe we can assist and keep bodies safe in Yin Yoga. We can lengthen and warm the fascia, reduce stagnation in the tissues and address the nervous and circulatory systems through the Yin practice. Both systems are informed by the messages your fascial network are sending. Judith Lasater states, “ Most of us in the United States are Vata Deranged!” Meaning we are moving too fast, living too much in the head and becoming much too tight in our bodies. I agree!
I believe that practices such as Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga ( two very different practices but both with relaxation of the nervous system in mind) can help our most vital systems to re-balance, renew and live, breathe and move more ease-fully. As teachers, I believe we have a responsibility to know what we are teaching, what we are asking of students bodies and why. Let’s delve in together!”
Yoga Teacher Training – Continuing Education in East LA
July is a month of yoga teacher training continuing education at One Down Dog. Open to any yoga teachers or teachers in training we have a range of opportunities for you to remain a student. Learn and work alongside fellow teachers to grow your practice and what you have to offer your students.
Hands On Assisting and Seeing w/ Janine Glass
July 13th 1:45 – 3:15
This workshop is for yoga teachers and teachers in training.
Awaken your intuitive “seeing” skills in order to strengthen your ability in giving hands-on assists while teaching and working with private clients.
This workshop will cover theory, demonstration, and training of safe and effective hands-on yoga assists
What you get:
- “Seeing” skills training: “seeing” blockages and brightness in bodies.
- Hands-on assisting theory and injury Q&A
- Guidance and coaching in assisting with partners
- Working with injuries and clearing pain
only 20 spaces available onedowndog.com/workshops
Restorative Yoga Teacher Training – Level 1
This is Sam’s second visit with this training. Take level 1 now, she will be back for level 2 again within the next year! Check out the first group of ODDfam that attended.
She will also be offering a 2 hour Restorative class open to the public and the students who attended the workshop. It will be delicious!
Join the relaxation revolution!
Restorative Yoga is a healing practice that brings the body, mind, and nervous system into balance. Learn to teach Restorative Yoga, guided by Samantha Akers (formerly Joseph) (E-RYT 500) (C-IAYT), creator of the TheraYoga Method. Sam is passionate about the immensely powerful practice of Restorative Yoga, since it has been a major part of her own journey to health. These trainings are for teachers & students who are looking to deepen their knowledge of Restorative Yoga!Teachers receive a certificate of completion once all homework and assisting is completed.Level 1 of this training covers the main poses of Restorative Yoga, how to adapt them for a variety of students, how to use props, how to design a satisfying class, and more. Special attention is given to therapeutic applications of Restorative Yoga, and how the practice can benefit people with special needs, or simply relieve stress. The training also includes discussion of the three Ayurvedic Doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) and how to build a Restorative and breath practice to best suit the needs of all three. You will also learn the basics of a mindful awareness practice to aid those with anxiety and trauma disorders, helping to keep students feeling more grounded, clear and balanced during their experience of Restorative Yoga and beyond. Students will receive a manual and a reading list.
These trainings are designed to prepare current yoga teachers to teach Restorative classes in studios and other environments. These weekends are also open to students simply wanting to deepen their knowledge, and for those in allied professions (massage therapists, those in the mental health care field, etc.) as a vital part of their practice with clients.
The goal is ‘happy kitty face’ here.
$400 prior to July 1st
DATES & TIME:
Friday July 14th 5-8pm
Saturday July 15th 9-5pm
Sunday July 16th 10-5:30pm
Samantha is currently under the private direction of her teacher George Haas as well as being a student in his 11 month program, A Meaningful Life. She completed Community Trauma Resiliency training, through the Trauma Resource Institute, in August of 2014. Her Restorative practice has been influenced by her teachers Judith Lasater and Leeann Carey. – Learn more about Sam in her bio under the workshop.
Hands-On Savasana Adjustments
7/25 + 2-3:30pm
Did you know we had a massage therapist at One Down Dog? Did you know she’s a yoga teacher!?
Want to give your students that little extra love in Savasana? Need a refresher course or brand new on feeling comfortable palpating and moving areas of the body? Then this workshop is for you! We will…+ Review basic structural anatomy
Where to apply pressure, where not to…+ Simple massage therapy techniques
Help ease muscle tension after an intense practice
+ Carefree joint mobilizations
Traction and movement to areas of the body without
assistance from student
+ Savasana Sequence
Learn a quick sequence outline that allows you to add your own flavor throughout
Restorative Yoga with Samantha Akers
Restorative Yoga; What is it and why should we practice? Cant I just lay down and rest at home?
This is what I asked 17 years ago before taking my first class.
In this busy culture and time that we live in, a restorative practice is more important than ever. Restorative poses support or should support our entire systems; body, mind, spirit and energy. Using props such as bolsters, blocks, blankets, and sandbags (which she will be bringing) we prop the body so that it is completely comfortable in long held, peaceful asana postures.
Our nervous systems are in some state of flight or flight almost all of the time, even when we are resting, we might be anxious or over thinking – leading to a bit of high alert in the body and mind. Restorative yoga is a deliciously relaxing practice. We are supported in each posture for several minutes, while learning to follow their breath with mindfulness techniques.
With in minutes, the nervous system begins to relax, we gain a sense of spacious joy and release. In the workshop, we will be practicing cooling poses, readying the body and mind for the hot summer months. You may find you sleep better, breath better and feel more general positivity, just after one class!
Restorative Yoga healed me, supported me through chronic pain, fibromyalgia and Lymes disease. It is a powerful tool that will kindly and gently support and heal anyone that is ready to melt into themselves and develop friendliness towards their own hearts.
Interested in Restorative Yoga Teacher Training?
Taking a training in this style of yoga is vital for teachers to begin to see where students need that support and how to fill the space so that they can completely relax and let go, nourishing their nervous system into blissful and healing rest. This practice keeps dis-ease as bay, helps with sleep as well as mental disturbances such as anxiety and depression.
We move so very much, we must balance with rest. TheraYoga Method training in this modality will teach practitioners to guide a skilled practice with alignment, breath work and guided meditation. Learning the subtle art to teaching, along with the science of stretching and the fascial system will enhance teachers ability to be in the top of their field of yoga therapy as it is a growing need for our population. Plus, we have so much fun playing with props and learning about one another’s bodies!
Read more about Samatha Akers, her background, her work, and what you will get from her coming 2 hour workshop AND her weekend training at the end of July. – Sign up and ask questions – http://onedowndog.com/events-workshops