As a teacher, my role is to meet you “on the mat,” meaning appeal to your predisposition, energy flow and tendencies. For example, many of my students struggle with turning their minds off during practice and too much stillness sends your minds, if not your bodies, running out of the studio. As such, my teaching style for any of my classes includes a little bit of active flow and grounding poses before moving into the longer deep stretch poses that are often held for extensive periods of time. This applies to fusion (pilates and barre) classes as well, as we want to create greater flexibility while we are building strength. As a teacher, I tend to share a great deal of information related to the Western science of poses. I find opportunities to sprinkle in Eastern science and philosophy as well, but as a complement to the hard, anatomy type of learning that most students crave.
While most forms of exercise thrive on the competition, which is incredibly healthy in terms of motivating someone to keep giving it their all, the yin approach gives the yogis permission to not compete as there is no “apples to apples” comparison in these poses. As such, a lot of discussion in class also centers around the recognition that all of our bodies are different so a pose may look totally different on one person because their legs are long, while a pose looks very different for others because they have open hips.
Further, while I give a lot of options for each pose, the word “challenge” is never used. When “for an added challenge” is spoken in a yin class of adrenaline junkies, they all feel the need to do it so nobody thinks they are weak. Instead, I provide many options and point out that each choice impacts another area of their body, so there are no weak or strong choices. Everything is a trade-off.
In addition to deep stretch and yin-style classes, join me for a pilates/yoga fusion mix practice. I am a big believer in the integration of specific core and hip strengthening exercises that are common in pilates as most athletes traditionally only train for their specific sport, leaving hamstrings, hips, shoulders and their trunk weak or even injured. The combination of specific movements with counter stretches helps everyone grow stronger and more flexible.
Kimberly is an amazing teacher! Her diverse study in various types of yoga including yin and restorative provides a well-rounded learning environment. She has an ability to create a warm, safe and open class environment that is inviting to all yoga students, creating sequences that are beneficial and functional! I appreciate Kimberly’s depth of knowledge of the anatomy associated with each pose and how it affects the body. She provides great physical cues, as well as bringing attention to breath, mindfulness, stillness, and flow.
Jennifer Lake, RYT500
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