What Is Advanced Yin Yoga

posted in: Yin Yoga Podcast 0

In this episode, we will dive into this concept in a moment as it connects to Yin.

But before we go there. I just want to talk a little bit about this concept of advanced Yoga in general.

So in the yogaverse, the western yogaverse that we are all probably part of.

Yoga has been taken from its original intent and has been turned into a bunch of funny shapes that you make with your body. And so most of the time when people are asking this question, they’re talking about the Asana or the shapes. They’re talking about these pretzel poses that we make with our bodies, and they want to know about advanced Asana.

So here are some problems with that concept. First of all, what is an advanced Asana to one person might be completely simple to another. So there is no way to say, this is an advanced pose, and this is a beginner pose.

For example: One person could be super comfortable sitting on the floor in meditation. And another person could really struggle with that just even sitting cross-legged. And yet that same person who has trouble sitting cross-legged could do a handstand in the middle of the room. but can’t sit still and quiet on the floor in meditation.

So which one is the advanced Yogi?

What is Advanced Yin Yoga – Listen

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What is Advanced Yin Yoga – Watch

What is Advanced Yin Yoga – Read

 

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Hi Guineas.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Welcome back to a yin yoga. Podcast if you are new around here, welcome

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and we have met before. My name is Nick Danny. I’m your host. I’m a certified yoga therapist, a mentor of yoga teachers, a yin yoga teacher trainer, and a total yin yoga geek.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So I have a 60 plus hour therapeutic yin training. That’s one way that I serve teachers.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And I also offer yoga business mentorship

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Nyk Danu Yoga: which most people would use the word consulting or coaching. I don’t like it either of those words. So I say mentorship. So that’s the work that I do with teachers. So if you’re interested in any of that more info about any of that. I will put links, of course, in the episode notes below.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So if you’re new welcome, that’s me in a nutshell. Welcome back to returning listeners before we get started. A couple of reminders.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: That these are adult conversations which may include difficult subject matter

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and colorful language. So if you

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Nyk Danu Yoga: are sensitive to

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Nyk Danu Yoga: colorful language, you may want to stop listening. and if you have small people around, take a moment to put some headphones in. Now.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: another thing to note is that if you didn’t know, dear listener, if you’re listening to this.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that I have the full, unedited versions of these available on Youtube. So if you are a watcher rather than a listener, you can check them out on Youtube, they’re again unedited. I just literally upload them, as is

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and the link to that again is all in the show notes.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So if you want to watch rather than listen, then, that’s always available to you.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Okay, let’s get into today’s topic.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So today’s topic is on advanced Yin Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: I often will see this. Come up in Yoga teacher, Facebook groups asking about how to create an advanced Yen Yoga practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And I also had a request for this. And if you didn’t know, dear listener, I’m happy to take requests for things that you want to hear about.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So if you have ideas of things, you would love me to cover on the podcast please don’t hesitate to find me on on Instagram, either through Yen, yoga, podcast or at Nick Danu Yoga, and just send me a DM. And let me know

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Nyk Danu Yoga: what you’d like me to talk about. So if you have subject ideas, if you have questions that are plaguing you, I’m happy to add those to the list. Please feel free. So this was one that came up

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Nyk Danu Yoga: on advanced Yin Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So we will dive into this concept in a moment as it connects to Yin. But before we go there. I just want to talk a little bit about this concept of advanced yoga

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Nyk Danu Yoga: in general.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So in the yogaverse, the western yogaverse that we are all probably part of

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Yoga, has been taken from its original intent.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and has been turned into a bunch of funny shapes that you make with your body.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And so most of the time

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that when teachers are asking this question, they’re talking about the Asana or the shapes. They’re talking about these pretzel poses that we make with our body, and they’re wanting to know about advanced Asana.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So here is some problems with that concept.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: First of all, what is an advanced Asana to one person might be completely simple to another. So there is no way to say, this is an advanced pose, and this is a beginner pose.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: For example.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: one person could be super comfortable sitting on the floor in meditation.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and another person could really struggle with that just even sitting cross-legged.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And yet that same person that has trouble sitting cross legged could do a handstand in the middle of the room. but can’t sit still and quiet on the floor in meditation. So which one is the advanced Yogi?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Hmm! These are the questions we will ponder.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So first, I think we need to have a definition and an understanding, and probably a drastic reframing of what advanced Yoga is

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so

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Nyk Danu Yoga: the reason that this is so important, especially when it comes to yin. Yoga is because yin as a concept is so different and the practice is so different.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So let’s just go from the framework of the teachers asking this question are probably referring to Asana, which is already problematic. What is advanced? Asana.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If you have not studied the work of Paul Grilly, my teacher, Mr. Yen Yoga. and you have not watched his presentation on skeletal variation. It’s called Anatomy for Yoga. There is a link

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Nyk Danu Yoga: in the notes to grab that if you’re teaching Yin Yoga, and you have not watched that presentation.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: you need to do that right away.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because everything as far as the physical practice

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and teaching the physical practice is based on that information. Now, any Yoga teacher can watch that information, it’s not it’s not a Yin-specific program.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: but the lectures and all of that are the foundation of Paul Grilli’s work

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Nyk Danu Yoga: on skeletal variations. And so if you’re teaching in and you did not purchase that and watched it. You need to do that.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because that will clear up some of what I’m about to say.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So the first thing I would say when we’re talking about advanced Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: is that there is no such thing as if you just keep practicing. Eventually you’ll be able to do all the poses. That is a lie. That is not true.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: We all have different bones on the inside.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and so some of us have bones that allow us to do these pretzly type poses

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Nyk Danu Yoga: with a fair bit of ease. In fact, some of those people could probably do most of those before they even started practicing Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: just based on their own particular body type, their own body proportions, their own bone structure. And then there are people who have been practicing Yoga for decades who won’t be able to do some of these air quotes for those of you listening.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: advanced Yoga Asanas.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: based on their bone structure or their body proportions.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So the first myth that we need to pick apart here, or actually, I’d rather stab it to death

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is that

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Nyk Danu Yoga: this silliness that we have in the Yoga world, that if you just keep practicing poses. that eventually you will be able to do the advanced version.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: You may or may not ever be able to do these fancy flashy poses that you see on Instagram and on the cover of a Yoga magazine.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and whether or not you’re ever able to do. Those depends on your particular body, because we are all unique, magical individuals.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If you have a bone structure that lends well to those poses, and you start practicing Yoga and you, within the first little while build up some strength and get rid of surface tension in the muscles so that you’re able to move to your full range and you have a large range in your particular bone structure. Then maybe doing some of these air quotes advanced poses actually won’t be that hard for you. They’ll feel kind of natural, fairly easy.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If, however, you have a bone structure that doesn’t yield well to that particular pose that you have in your mind as an advanced

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Asana. Then you will never be able to do that pose, and it doesn’t matter how much Yoga you practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: It will never happen, because your bones will limit you.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Now this can sound sort of negative, or like defeatist or kind of sad. But actually, when I found out that my bones had been limiting me in a couple of poses.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: I felt grateful because it explained why I wasn’t getting any further in these poses.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and then it allowed me to go. Oh, okay, so I’m not really built for that pose. So I’ll just let it slide, and I’ll do a different pose that has the same benefits as that 1 one that works for my particular bone structure and body.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So that’s the first thing to tease apart, and I’ll use my own body as an example. So in my shoulders. if I were to interlace my hands behind my back

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and then try to pull my hands away from my sacred. I have very little range of motion before I hit my Acromian process in my shoulder

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Nyk Danu Yoga: with my hands that narrow. Now, if I can use a strap and widen my hands, I can get a lot deeper, but still not a huge range of motion.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Okay, how is this relevant? Well, if you look at poses like shoulder stand and plow pose or snail in yin.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and you think that everyone should be able to do that.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Well, guess what I can’t.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and it’s based on my bone structure. I can’t. When I bring my hands underneath my body. pull my weight of my body off of my neck.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Enough that I can practise it safely because of this bony limitation in my shoulders.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so I can only lift up and off of my neck so far, because I hit bone on bone in my shoulder joint. which then means there’s no further to go. Once your bones are hitting. That’s it, that’s all she wrote.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And so for years and years and years I thought that I couldn’t do shoulder stand well, and I couldn’t do plow pose because I had air quotes tight shoulders meaning my deltoid muscles. I thought that these muscles, these caps of my shoulders, were what was restricting me.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and truth be told, there is, there is and was some tightness there.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: but not to the degree that it was limiting me, and how I knew that that wasn’t the case. Once I learned about

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Nyk Danu Yoga: skeletal variation from my teacher Paul, how I knew it wasn’t. That is because I wasn’t feeling any stretch. I was just feeling stuck like I would look at somebody next to me and see them just effortlessly kick up into a shoulder. Stand

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and be happy and graceful there, and bring their feet overhead, and to plow and be able to interlace their hands behind their back, and just be content as a little clam there, and I would be like red-faced, all the weight on my neck, struggling, unable to get up.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: all because of the small little joint here in my shoulders this little limited joint that was like.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Okay.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that’s as far as we go. Actually, please quit trying to make us do that.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So there’s an example in my own body.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Now then, you might say, Oh, okay. Well, people are either flexible or not flexible in their bone structure in general. Well, not so much

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because what I lack in my shoulders I make up for in my hips.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So I have really good internal rotation in my hips. I have good external rotation in my hips, so poses that involve my hips.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: I’m usually pretty good at pretty comfortable in. So the reason that I’m using myself as an example is because that’s always the safest bet is to point out that you can’t look at a pose

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and a person practicing the pose and determine whether or not they are an air quotes, advanced Yogi, based on how well they’re doing that pose.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: In fact, I would argue

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that we shouldn’t even say that there are advanced Asinas at all.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because what is advanced to someone is simple to someone else. And so what are we using to gauge

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Nyk Danu Yoga: these poses which poses are advanced which poses are beginner, which poses are intermediate.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: It’s all a moot point when we really understand

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that every everybody is different, and so everybody will be able to do different things and not do some things.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So that’s the first thing I wanted to just poke a little hole in is this concept of advanced

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Nyk Danu Yoga: yoga, or advanced Asana.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So that’s in general. That’s just in the Yoga verse. Why are we using the word advanced asana.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: or advanced Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: That seems very silly to me.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and the reason I’m using Asana or the physical shapes as the example is, because, unfortunately, that’s what most Westerners think of as Yoga. But if we were thinking of Yoga in the grander scheme of things, and how it was intended.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: remember that the Asanas are just one tiny little part of the Yoga practice

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Nyk Danu Yoga: right. The poses originally were designed to create a body that was stable and flexible and strong enough to be able to sit in meditation

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so that we could work with our mind.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So I would argue that advanced Asana is a meditation practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So that’s just in general in the yogaverse. But let’s talk a little bit more about trying. And so it’s already problematic, right? This idea of advanced Yoga advanced Asana already very problematic. For all of the reasons that I just mentioned.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: It also brings this sort of

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Nyk Danu Yoga: hustle

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Nyk Danu Yoga: goal kind of culture to Yoga, which was not how Yoga was designed right.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And don’t, dear, dear Yoga, teacher, if you have yoga poses on your vision board, please don’t feel called out.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: I used to as well until I realized that some of the ones I had on my vision board I’d never be able to do based on my bone structure.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: having Yoga poses on your vision board as like a goal to get to or having goal poses

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Nyk Danu Yoga: isn’t very helpful.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And to be honest. if that’s the way you want to move your body physically, I think just going to a gym is a better idea. you know, doing some Bicep curls. Set some goals there. How much weight do you wanna lift?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And the reasons why, being first of all, you may or may not ever achieve that goal.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: depending on your personal bone structure on your body.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: You know. I often say to my students when I’m teaching, and I find it funny that

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Nyk Danu Yoga: We can all look at each other’s outsides.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and we can say, Oh, we’re all different. You’re tall, you’re shorter, you’re thin, you’re bigger. You have this color of skin and this color of hair and this color of eyes. You have long arms, short arms, etc. Right? We can all see this clearly. We can just go out into the world, and look at the beautiful array of human expression, and say, All different, all unique.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And yet somehow we think that when we go under the skin and we remove all of this flesh that our bones are all the same. and so we should all be able to do the same. Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: That doesn’t make any sense at all.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And yet it’s what’s taught. You know, this is the safe way to do a pose. That’s a

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that’s an episode for another time.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: you know, this is the the way the correct way to do this shape, and if you just keep practicing, you too, will be able to do the splits. So this is very problematic.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and it’s not

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Nyk Danu Yoga: accurate. And when teachers or students hold themselves to some sort of physical goal pose that they try to get to. And they’re doing all of these things to try to get to this goal shape.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: What often can happen is in the in the very lightest thing would be that they get frustrated and give up. but on a more serious note.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: injury and some serious injuries.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If you look at a lot of the Yoga teachers that were teaching kind of pre me. So I’ve been teaching for at the time of this recording 20 years. So teachers that have been teaching 30, 40 longer years, especially in some of the styles of Yoga, where they were told

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Nyk Danu Yoga: practice, practice, and all is coming.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: or spin off styles of Yoga from styles of Yoga like that where there is this. Oh, everybody can do this. If you just keep practicing, you, too, will be able to do this

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Nyk Danu Yoga: in those styles of Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: What you’ll notice is that a lot of the teachers that were teaching it for many, many, many, many, many years either had to stop teaching and practicing that style or remove poses.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and several of them have had hip replacements.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So, pushing and pushing and pushing assertively to get into a pose because it’s a goal pose. If your bone structure does not allow for that pose to be expressed in some sort of ease

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Nyk Danu Yoga: will result in injury.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So that’s just something to keep in mind whether it’s you as a as a practicing Yogi. It’s whether you’re a teacher or a member of the public and thinking about your own body.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: or as teachers when you’re looking at your students bodies.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If you have this idea in your head that if they just keep practicing eventually they will master this air, quotes advanced pose. You could potentially be injuring people

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and spreading information that is not accurate. So just something to think about and sit with.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So if we’re all different on the inside, we all got different bones in here, which means that’s going to drastically affect what poses we can do, what poses we can’t do.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Then

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Nyk Danu Yoga: how do we define advanced Yoga?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Well.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: as I mentioned the original intention of all of these funny shapes that we make with our body was to create a body that was strong

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and stable

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Nyk Danu Yoga: enough to sit in meditation.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So I might argue.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and I will. That actually, meditation

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Nyk Danu Yoga: practice is advanced. Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So that’s in general. But let’s talk a little bit more about yin, specifically, because sometimes

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Nyk Danu Yoga: we’re, you know, brought up in the general yogaverse.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: you know. Maybe our first styles of Yoga were a Vinyasa, or Stanga, or a half, or some other style, and then we kind of come into yin. This is really common right where it’s like, especially as teachers. Your first teacher training was probably not a in train sometimes, but very rarely.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And so you kind of come in with all this luggage that you bring in with your first training, and some of this luggage could be. A suitcase called one size fits all

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Nyk Danu Yoga: queuing. Another piece of this luggage could be advanced. Asana, which is what we’ll talk about today.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And another piece of this luggage that you’re carrying in with you might be this striving, efforting, perfecting. You know, calling yoga a workout exercise, drills, etc., etc.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So then, when you bring all of that messiness into a yin practice. that’s probably why someone’s going to say. how would you do an advanced yin practice. But here’s the thing.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: All of those things I just described are young activities are young in nature.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: right? So I’m gonna do a very brief Yin Yang roundup here. but just as a reminder within the symbol, the black and white symbol, sometimes called the Taichi symbol, we have yin, and we have yam.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and sometimes

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Nyk Danu Yoga: teachers bring their young attitude into their yin practice. Whether it’s their own physical practice, and students do this as well. I see it all the time in my classes

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Nyk Danu Yoga: they bring that young attitude into the Yin practice, or into teaching yin.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because they don’t have a really deep understanding of what is the difference between Yin and Yang? So I’m just going to review a couple of things that are young like in nature, and then some things that are yin-like in nature as it affects our Yoga practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So if some of you have probably listened to the whole episode on what is yin and Yang if you haven’t, you can go back and check that one out. But I’m just gonna do a very brief overview. So I was just talking about bringing our young attitude into our yin Yoga practice. So what might be some of these characteristics that we might bring in

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Nyk Danu Yoga: from these other styles of Yoga into a yin practice without being aware of it.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So young qualities in general tend to be bright, boisterous, advancing, extroverted, outward.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: active. The sky is considered young.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and you’re looking at the TCM. 5. Element tradition, the fire element and the wood element, or young, the sun, daytime, spring, summer.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: light upward, dynamic and hot.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So those are just some general young, like qualities.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and then yin-like qualities. I’ll to go over in a moment. So think about those qualities, and how that might relate to Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So young forms of Yoga

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Nyk Danu Yoga: include movement, repetition striving. There’s like, there’s this sense of like wanting to improve their achievement based.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: There’s strengthening, there’s effort. There’s sun salutations connected to the sun. There’s a proprioception and awareness of like, where is my body in space? Very important. If you’re in a flow practice

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Nyk Danu Yoga: to know where your foot’s going to land when you step back.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: there’s a sense of flow, whether it’s soft or stronger, depending on the style increased heart rate. It’s more structured, it’s more aesthetic. It’s more bright, expansive. And the focus is on evolution.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: right progressing, evolving, and they create warmth or heat. So young styles of Yoga tend to strengthen and stretch muscles. There’s often focus on structure, alignment, and what the post looks like.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and young Yoga is more likely to increase the blood flow the circulation in the body due to its moving and repetitive nature.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Okay, so that’s sort of a summary of our young like qualities, and the reason I wanted to go over those is because I had just said.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: sometimes, as teachers or practitioners, we go to other styles of Yoga before we end up at Yin, and we bring all of that luggage with us. Right? We bring the

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Nyk Danu Yoga: achievement based piece of luggage we bring the I’m obsessed with evolution based piece of luggage we bring in the striving and efforting piece of luggage with us into our yin practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: But here’s the thing. Yin. by its nature is more dark. quiet. yielding. it’s more introverted.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and we cultivate interoception

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so I could talk more about in a moment. Interception is an awareness of what’s happening inside. So I just mentioned that young forms of Yoga are focused on proprioception. So you know what’s happening outside of your body. So you know, if I move my arm here, what’s going to happen if I step my foot here that kind of thing?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: But with yin, we’re looking at interception. What’s happening inside of me? It’s more inward. more still. and the elements that are more yin like in nature are the earth and the water

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Nyk Danu Yoga: element, and then metal to some degree as well.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: The moon. nighttime.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: the seasons are winter and fall. Yin energy is more heavy, more downward, more passive.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: more cool or cold.

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So

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that just talks briefly about some of the yin qualities. And then how does that affect our yin practice?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Well, our yin characteristics. There’s going to be more stillness.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: more quiet. It’s more cool, there’s more surrender, less efforting.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: involution going inside.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: opening softness.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: interoception. Again, an awareness of what’s happening inside in a yin practice? We’re looking at the function of the pose. Why am I doing this pose? What is the intention? What is the function.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: its more free form or not, as structured. It’s connected to the moon

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Nyk Danu Yoga: to dark. And it’s more singular meaning. We don’t do repetitive movements because we’re still.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so a yin practice is more internal. so some of you may not have heard of these terms. Extracellion, proprioception, interception, so very briefly

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Nyk Danu Yoga: extraception is what is happening around me. Proprioception is, where is my body in space? Super important in movement forms of yoga, right? We need to know when I lift my leg up in downward dog. Am I going to hit that student’s head next to me? Right? So proprioception

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interoception is what is happening inside of your body.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So on the level of more gross. To more subtle

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Nyk Danu Yoga: extroception is sort of the most external or gross proprioception kind of falls in the middle, and then interoception is the most subtle or the most internal of those 3 terms.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and Yin Yoga is all about the interception. That is one of Yin Yoga’s secret superpowers

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Nyk Danu Yoga: is this ability to cultivate interoception? So you can see why this might be, then a little bit problematic

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Nyk Danu Yoga: when we’re talking about, how do we practice advanced yin.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because

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Nyk Danu Yoga: the intentions of a yin practice are completely different

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Nyk Danu Yoga: than a movement form of practice. So if you take all of that luggage that you brought from your movement forms of Yoga into your yin practice. Then you end up doing what we often call in yin circles, practicing your yin yoga with your yong attitude.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that efforting, striving, pushing, competing, accomplishing mastery, attitude. When you bring that into yin. That is problematic, because it’s a very different practice. That’s not the intention of a yin practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: I could argue. It’s not necessarily the intention of other styles of yoga, too, but I think we’ve already addressed that enough in the beginning.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So if we acknowledge that we’re all different on the inside.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and our bones are all different. And so, therefore we will probably not all do the same versions of poses based on but bone limitations.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And so these poses that we all call advanced air, quotes again, Asana may or may not be acceptable to

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Nyk Danu Yoga: accessible. Sorry to somebody, regardless of how much experience they have.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Somebody could be practicing Yoga for decades and still not get into one of these poses that has been nicknamed a advanced Asana, simply based on their bone structure.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: whereas somebody else who has very little yoga experience, but just happens to be gifted in their bones could master that pose within a few classes. So I’m reminding this of this because even just the premise of advanced Asana is

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Nyk Danu Yoga: ridiculous. Frankly.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: what is advanced for one is easy for someone else. I will tell you, though, that for most human beings and most minds meditation is advanced for almost everybody.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So anybody that starts a meditation practice knows. That is, that’s hard. That is some hardship.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And it’s not just you. If you’re thinking you’re the only one who can’t meditate. Oh, no, that’s universal welcome to being human. It is challenging.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So I want us to be very aware, first of all, of these little pop culture things that we’ve picked up from the yogaverse about advanced Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so that we can start to pick that apart. Does that actually serve us

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Nyk Danu Yoga: in the Yoga world. I would say no, considering that there’s a very small percentage of people that are going to be able to even do a lot of those shapes based on their bone structure. I don’t think it’s very helpful to call that advanced yoga. What if we just called this a yoga pose. That’s a yoga pose. We didn’t have to put these beginner intermediate advanced labels on there.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So there’s something to think about.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: But when it comes to Yin again. We want to be really, really careful that we’re not pulling all of our suitcases that we have gathered with us from our first trainings

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Nyk Danu Yoga: about, you know, alignment and practice, practice, and all is coming and advanced poses and pushing and striving and efforting. And you know, Yoga drills and Yoga exercise. We’re not bringing all of that baggage with us into our yin practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because that it doesn’t belong there. And again, I would argue, it doesn’t belong in other practices, too. But that’s

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Nyk Danu Yoga: we won’t get into that anymore. I’m going to talk about again practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So then, what in the world is an advanced Yin practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Well. let’s just ponder that one for a moment, shall we?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: What in the world could then be an advanced in practice?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So we’ve got a bit of a framework. Now we’ve discussed how Yen is different than sort of movement-based. Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: But let’s take a look at

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Nyk Danu Yoga: another aspect of yin that doesn’t get talked about a lot.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So yin yoga, and sort of the nervous system.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so yin Yoga can create creates yin yoga. My goodness, creates a container

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Nyk Danu Yoga: where the Asanas or the poses actually aren’t necessarily the primary focus.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Like, yeah, we’re gonna make some shapes with our body. But it’s not really the point.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: It’s more about slowing down. paying attention and really tuning into the body.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so that practice again, of interoception. like a meditation practice. This gives the person permission to just be present with all that is in the body in that present moment.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So we could say that

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Nyk Danu Yoga: one of the qualities of an advanced Yen Yoga practitioner is their ability to be present.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Fascia, which is sort of one of Yeni Yoga’s secret superpowers, is an incredibly sensitive nervous system conductor in the body. and so this can be one reason why Yin Yoga can be so nourishing to our parasympathetic nervous system.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And then you add to that the conscious act of slowing down.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: which naturally, for most people engages our parasympathetic or that

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Nyk Danu Yoga: rest and digest response in our nervous system.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: In this space of still and quiet presence.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Deep healing and profound interconnection can take place.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So when you’re able to be still

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and quiet and really drop-in.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: it gives you a whole other aspect of the practice

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that you can be aware of, that you can’t do in a movement-based practice because you have to pay attention to where your foot is, and where your hand is and what you’re doing because you’re moving.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: But when you’re still. it allows us to really drop in.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So it’s within this space that one can sense or hear or feel the messages that your body

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Nyk Danu Yoga: is sending you. your energetic body. and maybe even what we might call sort of our higher self.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So when we’re so busy being a human doing instead of a human being, it’s really hard to take an opportunity to drop in to notice, to observe.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: to be still.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and when we have this opportunity, in a practice like Yin Yoga, to intentionally be still and quiet.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: to take that time to drop in

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and to cultivate interception, to start to be aware of your inner landscape. the sensations of the body, emotions, thoughts, etc.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Then that’s a very different practice. So how do you measure whether or not that’s advanced?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So I would argue

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that advanced

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Nyk Danu Yoga: yin, Yoga

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Nyk Danu Yoga: is an advanced Yin yogi is somebody who is okay

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Nyk Danu Yoga: with being still and quiet and observing what is happening on the inside of them

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that is practicing mindfulness. practicing present moment awareness

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that is developing and nurturing, that witnessing consciousness, that part of them that is able to stand just a little bit outside of their direct sort of more charged experience and observe.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So Yin Yoga cultivates all of that

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Nyk Danu Yoga: present moment awareness and understanding of what’s happening inside of our body, whether that’s

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Nyk Danu Yoga: easy or not.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Thanks. Anyone who’s practised yen at a really trying time in their life can tell you

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that’s some hard shit to do

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Nyk Danu Yoga: right. I did. A whole episode called Yan Yoga is hardcore. So.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: sitting still and quiet

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Nyk Danu Yoga: with the stuff that comes up, whether that be physical, mental, emotional, energetic, etc., etc., that is advanced. Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So I would argue. and I might be biased. That practicing Yin Yoga period is advanced. Yoga. Now does that mean that you can’t be a beginner and a practise yin? Of course you can.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: That might be a whole podcast. Episode on its own. But yes, I’m not saying that you need a whole bunch of previous Yoga experience to practice in Yoga. Not at all.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Instead, it’s the attitude that makes it advanced. Yoga, not your experience. Level experience, level and ability to make pretzel shapes with your body is not what I would consider advanced yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: You either got that or you don’t. It’s based on your bones and some practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: What I consider advanced yoga is, are we able to use our Yoga practice

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Nyk Danu Yoga: to help us when we’re not on our yoga mat. so are we able to be still, to be quiet, to be reflective?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Are we able to be present during challenging things

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Nyk Danu Yoga: in our yin practice, like thoughts and feelings and sensations in the body? And are we able to stay

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and observe

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and develop that sense of introception and patience?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If we’re doing that on a regular basis. then that helps us learn to respond to life instead of react to life.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So when I can sit on my yoga mat in the yin practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and observe the sensations in my hamstring. and notice that sensation of stretch.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and then also notice my impatience with that, and maybe my boredom, and my fidgety-ness and all the thoughts that are running amok in my head.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: But I’m able to stay present and observe all of that

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Nyk Danu Yoga: witness, all of that, with the part of our mind which we all have. By the way, you just may not be paying attention to yours. There is all of us have this part of our mind that is able to just slightly step outside of your direct experience and witness or watch what’s happening.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Right? It’s the part of you that is aware that you’re aware.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and when we do practice yin regularly, or meditation.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: we cultivate and we strengthen, and we learn how to be in that sort of witnessing consciousness.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: it becomes more readily available for us in our daily lives and on our Yoga map. and then we’re able to, not only on our Yoga map. But when we’re out in the world

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Nyk Danu Yoga: with all of the stuff that happens and all the other people.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: we’re more able to find that inner resource again. because we’ve practiced it on our map. We’ve practiced sitting.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: be it being observant, being patient, being curious, going inward, practicing mindfulness, cultivating interception

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Nyk Danu Yoga: when we do all of that regularly on our yoga mat.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: then that’s easier to do when we’re out in the real world, which is kind of the point to me

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Nyk Danu Yoga: if you practice Yoga every single day, and you still go out into the world and aren’t very kind, and you’re like an asshole to people. Then what are you doing

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Nyk Danu Yoga: while you’re on that yoga mat?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So, in my opinion. that’s advanced, Yoga

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so advanced, Yoga

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Nyk Danu Yoga: is realizing that actually, the point of Yoga. Isn’t these funny shapes we make with our bodies at all?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And then, if these funny shapes we make with our body aren’t the point at all.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If we’re not using

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Nyk Danu Yoga: these Asana shapes, these poses as a way to determine what’s advanced and what’s not advanced. Because, as I mentioned earlier.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: doesn’t matter how much experience you have, you may never be able to do certain poses. So if that’s the Aha that you have, that’s like, oh.

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00:40:24.490 –> 00:40:38.969
Nyk Danu Yoga: I’ve been thinking of advanced Yoga as these funny shapes, these Asanas that we make with our body. But actually it doesn’t matter how experienced somebody is, how much practice they do, they may or may not ever be able to master that pose. And so

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Nyk Danu Yoga: then what is advanced? Yoga. if it’s not based on experience and practice, which I think it should be

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Nyk Danu Yoga: advanced. Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Experience practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: That’s a start.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: not what shapes you make with your body. But how do you feel about those shapes that you make with your body.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So when we bring again all of this sort of cultural baggage of advanced yoga

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Nyk Danu Yoga: into a yin practice, and all of these things like pushing yourself, efforting, striving. You know all of that stuff when we pull that into our yin yoga. Then we’re actually doing our Yin Yoga with our young attitude.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and I can see this often in my classes I can see students sort of especially in, say, for example, half butterfly. Oh, my God! It’s like they think they’re not doing the pose right. If they’re not touching their foot, it’s ridiculous.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and so they’re white knuckling it, and their veins are bulging, and they’re turning red because they think the goal air quotes again of that pose is to get your hand to your foot.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: What if the goal was.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: do you notice sensation in your body in a 50 to 60 degree amount?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: And can you sit and be present to that without the mind kind of going on adventures, and when it does go on adventures, can you be gentle and compassionate with yourself, and still have the dedication to bring it back.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because that, my friends

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Nyk Danu Yoga: is practicing advanced Yoga, in my humble opinion.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Okay. I think you get the point.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So next time you’re hesitant to go. What do I teach? How do I teach advanced Yoga

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Nyk Danu Yoga: advanced in Yoga. Just take a moment to remember this. Podcast. Now that being said.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: there are different experience levels right? But describing these experience levels, as you know, beginner, intermediate, advanced, maybe not be so helpful. Beginner is a little bit more helpful, because if somebody’s brand new, they are a beginner.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: But again, intermediate. Maybe if you use intermediate meaning, they have some experience. They’re not an absolute beginner, then. Okay.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: but advanced.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If you’re an advanced yogi, you are an enlightened being, my friend, because you have spent the time to deal with your mind, and

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Nyk Danu Yoga: you’ve let all of this minutia of our daily lives go.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So maybe we can stop trying to practice advanced Yin Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because unless you’re doing meditation.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: I don’t think there is such a thing as advanced. Yan Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Now, if you’re a teacher and you’re thinking, yeah, but I have this group of students, and they’ve all been practicing yin for a long time, and II feel like I need to give them more. Well.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: here’s a question. Do you feel like you need to give them more? Or are they requesting more?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: This could be a whole episode, too, in the future, but because, as teachers, we tend to think that they need more. We tend to think they must be bored. They need more

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Nyk Danu Yoga: when meanwhile they’re actually just fine doing what they’re doing. They like this delightfully simple practice. They like a reliable practice that is familiar, because that’s more soothing to their nervous system.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So don’t assume just because you have been doing the same shapes

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Nyk Danu Yoga: over and over again, which, if you’re teaching in, you probably have, because there’s only so many to do.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: don’t assume that that means that your students are bored that your students need more. Your students want more of a challenge.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: That might not be the case at all. That might just be something you are telling yourself, because you feel like you have to keep offering more.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and they might be just fine.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So that’s one thing to consider. And then the other thing to consider is if you’re thinking, yeah. But I need to give my students more, or maybe my students have asked for more.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Well, if they’re asking for advanced yin or intermediate yin. One thing that could help with that is to create a registered series. So not a drop in

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Nyk Danu Yoga: that helps them go from point A to Point B in a deeper way. Right? That’s when you can bring in some themes. Whatever you’ve studied, you know, I tend to use traditional Chinese medicine, because that’s my foundation. That’s what I’ve studied.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Maybe then you can dive deeper into some deeper topics.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So when you have a group that has experience with the poses. Maybe you can introduce some more soulful themes to that group. Maybe it doesn’t have to be the sort of new to yin speech and now feel the rebound because they know all that they’ve been doing it this whole time. Now, maybe as a teacher.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: you get to challenge yourself

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Nyk Danu Yoga: to speak more to their inner journey. Instead of focusing on the Asana’s as a way to make this a more air quotes advanced practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Maybe you get to speak more to the inner journey. Maybe that now informs your lesson plans.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Maybe you start to guide those students through meditation. If you have a meditation practice the training and experience to do so

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Nyk Danu Yoga: to. Maybe when you have a er quotes advanced yin class, you’re spending some time in seated meditation.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Maybe

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so, dear teacher, I’m not suggesting that you should do all of these things if you don’t have experience and training in them, like, if you’ve never guided meditation. If you don’t have a meditation practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: please don’t try to guide your students through meditation.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: but if you do.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: now’s where this comes in with your intermediate students with your experienced students, the ones who no longer need to hear the 8 different ways that they could choose to explore this pose based on their bone structure, because they already know, because they’ve been doing in for a long time, and they know it works for their bodies. And you know, these are the students that are already halfway in the pose before you’ve even finished describing it, because they know what works for them. They’ve got their props, if needed, they’re doing their thing.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So if you’ve got students like that, then maybe it’s time to take them out of a dropping class and create a small series where you can dive deeper into a particular subject.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: a little more soulful of a practice, little less kind of based on the physical.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: including more meditative aspects, etc.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So that’s some food for thought. Because if dear Yin Yoga teacher, you think that

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Nyk Danu Yoga: you’re going to guide your students through an advanced us in a class by just making them hold the poses longer, which may or may not be part of an intermediate or experienced practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: or by them going deeper air quotes into the pose. Then you’re missing the point of yin.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and just to address the longer holds. There’s nothing wrong with doing longer holds in a practice

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Nyk Danu Yoga: from my experience with myself and my students. If

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Nyk Danu Yoga: you are no longer feeling the shape.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: you’re no longer feeling that sweet rebound in the shape when you come out. When you’ve done these shorter holds in the 2 to 5 min range. Then maybe you do start to increase the length of hold

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Nyk Danu Yoga: in a practice. But if you were doing that in a group scenario, you would probably want to do

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Nyk Danu Yoga: 2 2 times. So like, you might want to say, Okay, this has been 5 min. Those of you have had enough. Come out. And this is, you know, we’re going to continue on for a couple more whatever.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: because even if they’ve been practicing yin for a long time, there’s a huge percentage of people that do not need to do longer holds because they’re still feeling plenty in their body, especially if they’re practicing in just sort of weekly with you and not doing a home practice.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So there’s some thoughts on advanced Yin yoga?

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Probably not always popular opinions, but nonetheless.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So for those of you who clicked on this all excited thinking, yes, I’m going to learn how to teach advanced Yoga

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Nyk Danu Yoga: advancekin. Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Then learn how to guide meditation.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: start practicing meditation.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: start excavating some of these deeper learnings that the Yin practice can bring us.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: That’s what I would call advanced yin. Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Okay, friends, that’s all for today. I think that’s plenty of

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Nyk Danu Yoga: food for thought. And until I see you again. bye, for now.

 

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