YIN YOGA FOUNDATIONS:
An Introduction to Leading a Practice of Surrender
Swan & Dragonfly Module
Yin Yoga is a simple practice of surrender. We settle into a posture for 3-7 minutes and slowly relax our muscles to allow the deeper, drier tissues, the connective tissues (fascia) that wrap muscles and form joint capsules to be safely and therapeutically stretched, stimulated and strengthened.
However, leading Yogis toward simplicity and surrender can be challenging. It requires an appreciation and general understanding of the infinite complexity of human variation. Physically, mentally and emotionally, every Yogi is unique and requires an unique approach.
All of the Foundation Modules postulate and dissect three broad principles of practice and teaching:
#1: Listen to the body and lead it into a shape, a posture, that follows the body’s unique contours. We will learn how and where to “listen” (i.e. observe) the body and mind’s responses to effects of poses.
#2: Be still and surrender. We will discuss and practice some of the meditative techniques involved.
#3: Rebound. Passively observe and then actively manipulate the flow of energy (i.e. chi, prana, “life force”) released on the exit of a Yin pose.
The body-awareness of Principle #1 develops by working and communicating with others. This is a hands-on training. We will analyze, observe and practice the Yin Yoga Postures in depth. We will articulate the joints on a plastic skeleton model. We will study slides of real bones showing a spectrum of typical variations. But more importantly, we will examine and compare each other, the real flesh and bones, with range of motion (ROM) tests, Assisted Yin Yoga stretching and other experiential analyses.
As for Principle #2, the practice of stillness and surrender can be difficult enough, let alone while stretching across wide sheets of stiff fascia and opening deep into the joints. Cultivating skillful relaxation efforts requires a certain level of observation and discrimination, strengthened by an anatomical understanding of the ever-changing sensations.
We will study schematics of muscle/fascial lines as well as the corresponding pathways of subtle energy according to Ancient Yogic and Taoist traditions. We will feel and discuss the muliti-layered electrical and emotional responses in this practice: i.e. Chi or Prana. It is here we approach our 3rd principle, The Rebound.
The study culminates in a better appreciation for the endless variety of humankind, and a set of practical tools to successfully lead a full class, or to dialogue with an individual, and the wisdom to know which type of discourse is required.
The Foundation Modules are designed to give a broad overview of the Yin Yoga practice. Any of them has the potential to give the budding Yin teacher the knowledge and courage needed to offer a safe and simple sequence of postures. This particular module, Swan & Dragonfly, focuses more deeply on teaching techniques for postures that target the outer and inner hips.
About Joe Barnett
Joe Barnett is an ERYT-500 Yoga Teacher Trainer, based in Tucson, AZ.
Joe is the primary and original assistant to Paul Grilley, the founder of Yin Yoga and innovator of a functional approach to anatomy and asana which has had a far-reaching effect on the modern practice of yoga asana and pranayama. Joe has been teaching Yin and Yang forms of Yoga for 18 years. He now travels nationally and internationally throughout each year offering presentations and trainings based on his long-time mentor’s work. Staying true to the curriculum of Paul Grilley, Joe provides a deep study (both experiential and anatomical) of skeletal variation, the fascia system and yoga asana.
In the “Next Level” courses, Joe also leads a study of the more subtle mind/body effects on the Yogi’s “Prana" or “Chi” (“Meridians” and “Chakras”) as taught by Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama, Paul Grilley’s long time mentor.
With Grilley’s encouragement, Joe also began studying meditation with Takesima-sensei, a senior meditation student of Grilley’s teacher Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama from Tokyo. Grilley also inspired Joe to study the human form through cadaver dissections, under fascia expert Gil Hedley.
However, Joe’s play time is usually spent practicing, teaching and drawing others into AcroYoga which he has been playing since 2006 when he met Jason Magness (yogaslackers.com) with whom he continues to train/play whenever he can. In 2010, Joe traveled to Montreal to receive both levels of certification through the original AcroYogis Eugene Poku and Jessie Goldberg (acroyoga.com).
"Joe Barnett has been our friend and assistant for many years. He has two qualities that make him an excellent presenter: he knows the anatomical principles and he relates to people in a sympathetic manner. His presentations are unhurried, hands on demonstrations, this is the easiest way to absorb these ideas.” ~ Paul and Suzee Grilley