Monday, August 24, 2015

Yin Yang Yoga "The Power of Stillness" with David Kim

Although I have been practicing yoga for many years and had gone for many workshops with some of the great teachers like Kino MacGregor, Christina Sell and Matthew Sweeney, I have not given much thought to going for a Yoga Teacher Training program although I have been encouraged by some of my yoga teachers and fellow practitioners to go for it.

Recently, I read an article about creating a second income to fall back on by doing something you are passionate about.  It got me thinking about my love for yoga and how I love the practice by blogging about it and sharing articles with my fellow practitioners,  I realized then, the next step for me would be to go for a Yoga Teaching Training program so that I can deepen my practice and spread the teaching of yoga to more people.   I do not have the confidence to go for a full 200 hour YTT course yet, so when I saw the Oscillation Yoga's post on David Kim's 13-hour Practitioners and Teachers Program Series in Yin Yang Yoga "The Power of Stillness",  I decided to sign up for it on my birthday as a birthday present to myself.

Last weekend was the David Kim's workshop which started with a Community Yoga session which was opened to all levels with a yin-yang class incorporating the breath awareness and heat building movement of vinyasa with the slower passive holds of yin yoga.   After the class, when I looked around the studio,  I could see a group of practitioners looking calm and serene from the effects of the yin-yang practice.

For the 1st session on "Yintegration - Balancing Vinyasa and Yin Yoga" David started by talking about anatomy and having us look at each other bodies to have a better understanding on how our unique bodily structure can limit our ability to do/move deeper in certain poses.   It was really an eye opener to see the difference in our bodies and how we compromise some parts of our body when we were told to go into a pose with specific instructions from the teacher.   Yin yoga enables us to be more aware of our body limitations and to move to a space where effort meets comfort.

For the 2nd session on "Yin Yang Yoga for Athletics", David talked about the importance of maintaining stability when our body is doing different range of motions.   He also talked about how our nervous system controls the body's activities and reacts by stopping us in certain movements to keep us safe .   He had us do some partner work to demonstrate how our nervous system can be tricked to enable us to stretch further by repeatedly doing ranges of motion through eccentric contraction of our muscles. This repetitive training of muscle memory is the yang aspect which enables the short burst of energy required by athletics to sprint to the finishing line.  Chronically engaged muscles tends to shorten which causes tightness and reduces our range of motion.  Yin yoga which focuses on the deeper connective tissues in the body helps to increase joint mobility.  With the balance of both yin (mobility) and yang (strength) yoga in our practice, we learn to move with stability, grace and focus and lower our chances of getting injured.

The 3rd session was "Heaven & Earth - Yang Inversions, Yin Backbends" where David led us through the progression poses to prepare us for the inversion poses of forearm handstand and handstand.  David also let us experiment with doing the inversion poses with different placement of our forearms and hands.   As I have a fear of banging my head on the wall when I am doing handstand, David told me not to use so much momentum when jumping into the pose and to rely more on keeping my top leg lifted, my shoulders over my wrists when hoping with my bottom leg,    We ended the class with some yin backbends poses which helped to cool down our body as well as having a grounding effect after the inversion poses.

The last session  on "Core Focus for Seated Meditation"was on cultivating core stability which involves strengthening the inner deep muscles that stabilizes the spine,  David led us through a routine where we were asked to maintain the integrity of our spine as we move in the poses.   We finished the workshop with two rounds of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) and a seated mediation practice.

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop with a great teacher who shares his teaching with so much passion and enthusiasm and his precise instructions made it easy to learn and follow during the asana practice.  I also met a group of dedicated and inspiring yoga teachers and practitioners who shares my passion for yoga.    The workshop is my first step to embark on my next yoga journey.

Teacher David Kim and my fellow yogis at the workshop

"You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step" - Martin Luther King Jr.