I combine heat-generating sequences of postures with mind-focusing breathing techniques. While using the structural order and many postures from traditional Astanga, I build classes with a creative flow and long sequences to keep students engaged and their minds from jumping ahead. Each class is different, personalized to meet the experience and needs of my students.
It is not about the depth of the pose, or even how it looks - it is about how one experiences it, while being present and breathing. When you are fully present in your breath and posture, you are aware of what your body can and cannot do. This practice is also about building strength and flexibility at the same time - one without the other can lead to imbalance in the body, even injury. My training has given me a strong foundation in anatomy and physiology, and it is extremely important that my students are safe in their practice.
The approach in Yin is also heavily based in the body, but in such a different way. It is the perfect complement to a more dynamic practice - it is, essentially, a stillness practice. On the physical side, Yin focuses on strengthening our connective tissues by holding mild poses for longer periods of time. The approach is one of softness and tolerance, and a perfect place to invite in a meditation practice. While one of my students has confessed that Yin feels "better than valium," I find the practice more along the lines of a description by my teacher Josh: "bitter practice, sweet result," and a good yin class is often the best part of my day.
To learn more about the amazing practice of Yin Yoga, I recommend checking out Bernie Clark's website, yinyoga.com. Or better yet, take a class!
You may notice that the focus is on the physical practice, not the spiritual or metaphysical aspects of yoga. I have found, through my own experience, that it is easier to access the more subtle side of yoga by starting with the physical practice. As the saying goes, "practice, practice, and all is coming" (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois). The emotional and spiritual journey is a personal one. And though it is incredibly helpful to have a supportive community and teachers throughout, the most accessible way to create and expound upon this process is to start with the physical: it is the work you do on your mat.