Yin Yoga Articles
Paulie Zink’s Philosophy on Teaching Yin Yoga
I encourage students to be self motivated, not to be dependent on a teacher for their practice. Therefore, I never physically adjust a beginner. Instead, I offer the students verbal instruction on how to properly position themselves into postures. On occasion I do adjust the more advanced students to help them grow further into the posture.
I believe in open systems of thought and practice. I disregard rigid formulas or concepts. My intention in creating the art of Yin and Yang yoga was to develop a style of yoga that has universal appeal and application, a style that can be adapted to a variety of interests and needs and is compatible with all other styles of yoga, to provide a practice that benefits the mental, physical, and spiritual health and well being of students, promotes healing and growth, and helps students restore their physical mobility, enabling them to move naturally as an animal moves, the way our bodies are intended to.
I never use timers in class, nor do I follow the dictates of a clock. The classroom door always remains unlocked. Students are welcome to join the class and to leave class whenever they want or need to. I would prefer to not teach according to a clock at all, but rather to let the class follow its own course of beginning and ending.
I encourage students to open to their intuitive heart, to flow with their own unique expression of the practice. In this way students learn to develop the artist within instead of copying a teacher exactly. Copying a teacher is mimicry not creativity.
Proficiency of yoga is achieved through the practice of yoga postures and movements, not through the study of theory. The benefit of yoga comes from doing it and becoming one with it. For me, yoga is a way of life. I have incorporated the practice into everything I do, into my way of being. When we are in harmony with the Tao then our minds are not busy thinking about theory. Theory and practice are two different things. It is not necessary to study theory to be able to embody the art of yoga. True understanding of theory comes from engaging in the practice of yoga. It comes from direct experience. The experience of yoga does not require scientific explanation in order to be advan-tageous.
My master did not teach me theory until after I had developed advanced skill in the art. Our primal nature is not preoccupied with intellect. Too much emphasis on the intellect during practice can prevent us from being fully present in our bodies.
The western mind-set is of the belief that more is better, the harder you try the more you achieve. It is always rushing into the future. By contrast, in Taoist thought the harder you try the less you achieve. This is because the body will resist force. I always encourage students to take their time, never rush, never strain. Excessive force and the tension caused by rushing can lead to injury. If students injure themselves, then they are doing it incorrectly.
As long as we are alive our bodies are growing. New cells are being created to replace old and dying cells. I never impose a limiting belief system on students. If we believe we are limited then we are. I encourage students to believe that healing, growth and improvement are almost always possible. A good teacher leads by example. A good teacher teaches students to realize their potential and to liberate themselves from presumed limitations.
The most important thing to me is not a static posture, but the essence of the posture. If you are in a posture of an animal or an element and you are not embodying the energetics of that particular posture then you are in a dead or inanimate pose. But if you are in a posture with the ability to flow with the energetic quality of one of the elements or animals then you can understand its purpose.
A Lesson in Yin Yoga: I developed Yin yoga by astutely observing nature and the animals around me and becoming part of it by blending with it energetically. We really are inseparable from everything. We as humans have a very malleable and adaptable consciousness. The intention of our thoughts has the power to expand our consciousness. We have the potential facility to merge our minds with other life forms, to internalize qualities that they possess and infuse our own physical energy with those qualities. If I see an animal in motion and I want to embody the energy of that animal, then will I meditate on it and become one with it. I can then create postures and movements based on the immediate felt experience in my body and mind as I identify with the creature.
Yin yoga article: The foundations of Yin yoga are rooted in the Daoist traditions of ancient China. Daoism is a multifaceted system premised upon the philosophy of living in harmony with the Dao, with the way of nature. Yin yoga is a synthesis Paulie Zink created by combining Hatha yoga and several disciplines from the Daoist tradition along with insights, visualisations, and animal based yoga postures, movements, and vocalisations he developed himself. The Daoist components of Yin yoga involve Dao Yin (yoga postures), Qigong, inner alchemy, philosophy, and mysticism.
The beauty of Paulie Zink’s Yin Yoga is that it is a living art form where everyone is encouraged to bring forth their own inner artist. The result: Magic.
What is amazing about this approach to the Yin Yoga practices is how good you feel and how fluidly you begin to move in a relatively short period of time.
I’ve been curious about Yin yoga founder Paulie Zink ever since I heard he was Paul Grilley’s teacher. Not only has Paulie been teaching Taoist yoga for over 30 years, but he’s also an internationally acclaimed martial arts champion. So I leapt at the chance to take his workshop at last year’s (2007) Midwest Yoga Conference–even though my back was killing me. Fortunately, Paulie’s style was warm and humble and peppered with gentle humor– which belies the fact that he has been inducted into four martial arts halls of fame, where he is known as “Master Zink.”
In Paulie Zink’s Yin yoga workshop, you practice poses you’ve never heard of before, like seahorse, deer, and T-Rex. As you do the poses, you are also connecting to the five elements of nature, which, according to Taoist philosophy, are earth, metal, wood (which contains air), water, and fire. These elements are related to feelings of stability, firmness, joy, fluidity, and enthusiasm, respectively.
Yin and YangYoga comes from theTaoist spiritual tradition indigenous to China.Tao refers to the mysterious source of existence and translates to the way, the path,The Absolute. InTaoism the entire universe is regarded as a living organism imbued with life force. Being in harmony with the flow of this energy in nature is the essence ofTaoist attitude.Taoism finds its origins in the shamanic cultures of people who lived along theYellow River region of northern China thousands of years ago. From these ancient and animistic beginningsTaoism evolved into several primary branches or schools that encompass magic, divination, ceremony and folk religion, philosophy and mysticism, internal alchemy and medicine, and ethics.
Everlasting Youth with Yin Yoga
by Maria Funk
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, “We liberate ourselves from the thinking obsessed mind and become more playful, spontaneous and resilient.”
Yin Yoga Articles
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