I am grateful for all the yoga homes that I have found as I have traveled this past year. Bala Yoga in Kirkland, Washington is a special place for me; however, because it is the place where I returned to my practice. I was fortunate enough to both practice at Bala Yoga last week and participate in a Yin Yoga Intensive training over the weekend, led by Pamela Chang. It was so nice to meet Mike and Gabriela Baiocchi, the owners of the studio.
Yin Yoga emphasizes poses that are held longer than in most styles of yoga. Poses are held 2-6 minutes (maybe more), depending on the part of the body being stretched. These long holds stress the deep connective tissues of the body resulting in strengthening joints, ligaments and fascial networks. Most poses are on the floor. In Yin Yoga we look for the edge – the place of being uncomfortable but not in pain – and then hold the position for the time. Bernie Clark says two things that are helpful to remember when thinking about and practicing Yin Yoga:
If you are feeling it, you are doing it.
We don’t use our body to get into a pose,
we use the pose to get into our body.
I feel honored to study with Pam Chang, a sweet and compassionate teacher who has so much knowledge to share. There were 25 yinsters in the Intensive over the weekend. We spent time talking about philosophy, meditation, sequencing and doing a posture clinic. And we practiced several times. On Friday evening we were fortunate enough to have Richard Grace, one of the other Yin teachers from Bala Yoga, bring his singing bowls for practice.
I look forward to returning to Bala Yoga the next time I am in Seattle.