Bernie Clark demonstrates some confusion regarding the history of Yin yoga. He states, "Paul Grilley, not Paulie Zink, developed yin yoga as a style of yoga." As for Grilley developing the style of Yin yoga, note that the Kripalu website bio of Paul Grilley (see photo) states: "Paul Grilley has been teaching yoga since 1980 in the style of Taoist master Paulie Zink."
Actually, Grilley did not study with Paulie Zink until circa 1988. Prior to that Grilley taught Ashtanga yoga. After he studied with Paulie Zink he then taught Paulie's art, albeit a truncated version of it.
Paul Grilley falsely claimed "After a few months" of studying with Master Zink that he had "seen the whole repertoire." Grilley went on to say, "It isn’t as though there’s another secret coming down the line five years from now"- implying that he possesses the sum of Paulie Zink’s yoga knowledge and ability. And this was said at a time before Master Zink began teaching around the country. One of Master Zink's most senior and advanced students, who was there in the same classes with Grilley, tells a very different story.
The following are corrections of the misinformation in the book The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy & Practice of Yin Yoga By Bernie Clark.
Paulie Zink developed the art of Yin yoga in the 1980's. Bernie Clark did not even meet Paulie Zink until 2007. Bernie Clark is not the foremost authority on Paulie Zink's life, not his biology nor his achievements. Paulie Zink is the foremost authority on Paulie Zink and his complete art of Yin yoga.
The Phoenix is a mythical bird that is reborn from its own ashes; it symbolizes longevity and regeneration. The Phoenix embodies the FIRE element: the energetics of rising upward above the earth, of being ungrounded. It’s the quality of lightness and free form...
By Paulie's student Marie Stalder, France
I remember a fitness class when I was young, I came out and had to run to the public toilets because I was totally sick, my body had not supported the violence of these practices! And with you, it’s different, even when we talk about building muscle, it’s not done in the name of “holy musculature”, but in the name of a transition between 2 postures, made in the dance of a swimming frog in the air, happy, joyful and funny, aware of her limits because she can – or not – stretch out a leg or turn into a drop of water that sways peacefully in search of her center, and especially of the fact that the posture will be repeated rather than suffering endured. What joy. I see even more the treasures of your teachings when I begin to practice alone.
Kaye lived with debilitating back and then hip pain for seven years. After two days of Yin yoga training with Paulie Zink she was able to walk without pain. This is her story: My name is Kaye Sitko. I am 51 years old and live in Minnesota. In April of 2012 I injured my back at work. In September, a surgeon performed an L5 [Lumbar vertebra] discectomy on me. Immediately upon waking up from the surgery and I was in more pain. I was on high doses of morphine every day for a little over four years. In the past two years I have been to several doctors, including hip specialists and neurologists at leading medical facilities. No one had an answer for me. No one knew why I was having pain. I couldn't walk any further than only 1 to 2 blocks. The pain was horrible.
Yoga student Ashley Meyer said to us, “I was taught in Yin yoga anatomy theory at a workshop that my bones aren’t meant to bend in a way that would allow me to do certain poses. They told me I will never do the splits, but it’s not my fault, it’s my bones. They showed me other ways to practice, and I trusted them. I continued doing my daily yoga practice, becoming more flexible then I have ever been, but with a belief that there was a limit to what I can do." In response to Ashley's experience, I asked one of Paulie's students who is a real doctor what he thought of this Yin yoga anatomy theory. He replied: "It is not possible to predict what a person may physically accomplish by observation, medical examination, X-ray of skeleton, MRI or other imaging devices.
This practice is designed to take us out of the obsessive thinking and judgmental mind in order to restore and to enliven our primal essence that modern convention has alienated us from in many ways. It is our birthright, the wild spirit of keenly attuned senses and empowered physical awareness that is unfettered by social conditioning and which returns us to being in harmony with the natural world, with her rhythms and cycles.
Streaming Yin Yoga Flow class with Paulie Zink presented by Yoga International magazine. The true art of Yin yoga is all about flow. The purpose of still postures is to develop the flexibility to enable fluidity and grace in movement. As you grow you will flow,...
Paulie Zink Yin Yoga Founder
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Paulie Zink’s Yin Yoga Teacher Training workshops, Yin Yoga Certification Courses, Yin Yoga DVDs, and other inquiries, please contact Maria Zink at