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How wonderful would it be to easily listen to your body a hundred percent of the time? Imagine yourself as a small child taking your first step when only your inner voice was telling you what to do. You were born with the gift to be able to listen to yourself. Your body is perfect, it knows exactly what it needs and it talks to you every time you move, but as a busy lifestyle often gets in the way it is not always easy to read its precious signals.
The good news is that Yin yoga can help you pay more attention to what your body is trying to tell you, and by listening closely, you can restore its natural healing ability creating a genuine fountain of youth right on your mat.
Have you ever noticed that you may get used to functioning even if you are not comfortable with the way you are moving? We can sit in an office hunched over with crossed legs for several hours without even realizing that our bodies are not so happy doing so; at times, we can go on autopilot for days!
This may happen with your practice too. You know that yoga is vital for keeping your body and mind healthy, but certain movements may not always work for you, especially when your body is trying to communicate its specific needs.
This is basically what inspired the birth of Yin yoga. In the early years of study with his master, Paulie Zink realized that a yoga style that was open, free and innovative was missing. He wanted to flow and open up to an intuitive form of self-expression that was true to himself, so he developed a limitless art form in which your own body has the lead: Yin yoga. Just like you did when you were a small child learning to walk, the same way animals move intuitively in the wild, Yin yoga is an art that "allows you to bring forth your own creative potential in how you move,” says Master Zink.
A healing art
The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine says that disease can be avoided “when internal energies are able to circulate smoothly and freely and when the energy of the mind is not scattered, but focused and concentrated.” Yin yoga has such a powerful healing effect because it has its foundation in the energy that emerges from the cycle of transmutation of the five elements always present in your body. “It draws upon the theory of the five elements and the principle of yin and yang used in Chinese medicine and acupuncture,” explains Master Zink. He defines Yin yoga, in part, as “a Taoist form of yoga that uses postures based on the five transforming energies of Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire.” Each of the above-mentioned alchemical components portrays distinct properties such as groundedness, strength, fluidity, springiness and lightness respectively.
In Traditional Acupuncture: The Law of the Five Elements, Dianne M. Connelly, PH.D. explains how in Chinese medicine, health is based on the balanced cyclic interaction of the five elemental energies. “We are YinYang. We are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water,” she says. Each of our organs corresponds to one of these elements, which are always in motion from one to the next.
Yin yoga balances the different energetic elements and their ongoing cycle of transformation within the body. “This improves health by correcting excesses or deficiencies of one o more particular element,” says Zink. Yin yoga also involves postures and movements, which are founded upon the energetic and physical characteristics of certain plants and animals, so when you perform them often, you can begin to embody the spirit of their qualities.
Practicing Yin yoga invigorates your innate healing response by equilibrating your body’s energy flow. “The elemental powers and their corresponding properties are activated and enhanced in our body and our energetic field,” explains Master Zink. “Our blood flow circulates better and our energy moves in a more efficient way so our health can be optimized.” Yin yoga is about movement: “From stillness comes motion,” Zink says. “The smooth transition from pose to pose is as important as the postures themselves.”
What is yin and yang yoga?
Master Zink’s Yin yoga is a complex art form that was born from a fusion of various Taoist alchemy and Chi Kung healing arts and flexibility training along with Zink’s own insights and development of postures, movements and meditations.
Zink’s art form comprehends yin or still postures to promote growth and calmness, and yang or dynamic postures for strength and balance, resulting in the harmonizing between the body’s yin and yang inseparable and complementary energies. It also encompasses specific Chi Kung breathing techniques used for cultivating vitality and stabilizing the natural physical rhythms. This helps bring your body into a state of resonance with its own energetic field.
When the benefits of these healing modalities get combined, the natural physical attributes of the elemental energies are revitalized in your body and in your whole being. “We liberate ourselves from the thinking obsessed mind and become more playful, spontaneous and resilient,” explains Zink. Also, an improved circulation and balance, inner calm, confidence, stamina and enhanced vitality will support the natural restorative potential of the body while building considerable core strength and muscle tone.
The result? A flexible and strong body that looks and feels light, young and healthy, paired with a clear and focused mind that allows you to listen to your body, to be present in yourself.
-Interview with Paulie Zink -The Yellow Emperor´s Classic of Medicine -Traditional Acupuncture: The Law of the Five Elements, Dianne M. Connelly, PH.D