Get Your Zen with Yin Yoga
Words and Photography by Skye McDonald
Turn up the heat and join Equanimity Hatha Yoga Yin Yoga classes in Marshall Square Park! Every Wednesday at 6:30pm, you can listen to the birds chirping and the rushing water from the nearby fountain as you relax both your body and mind. This style of yoga, created by Buddhist martial artist Paulie Zink, was designed to stretch the connective tissues such as the tendons and ligaments.
Jane Clark, senior Ghosh Yoga teacher, explained that yin yoga differs from regular yoga because students are given props so their muscles can relax. But that doesn’t mean the positions aren’t difficult.
“The posture that you hate the most is the one you need the most,” Clark explained. “The one I hate the most is called ‘Melting Heart.’ It’s an extreme stretch of the underside of the arms. I think that’s my favorite.”
Yin Yoga at Marshall Square Park is all-inclusive. For Clark, it’s extremely rewarding to see people change their bodies and their lives because of its meditative quality.
“You have to focus on your breath and the sensations of the body in order to allow yourself to progress in the postures, not resist them,” Clark stated. “When you get to a point where you’re really struggling, it’s a mind over body practice.”
Equanimity Hatha Yoga opened in West Chester this past October and teaches six styles of yoga at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Ghosh Yoga focuses more on "asanas" (or "postures") and "pranayama" (or "breathing"). Core strength classes focus on the abdomen, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and the lumbar multifidus, or the back. Ghosh Flow and Yin Yoga are more meditative, focusing on releasing tension and increasing flexibility. All classes are taught at 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with the exception of Yin Yoga at 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
“The heat is a tool, not a weapon,” Clark described. “It helps the muscles and body to move in a healthy way.”
The best advice Clark has for potential students is to forget all of your presumptions about Yin Yoga.
“It’s not about what you look like in the postures; it’s not an aesthetic practice,” Clark clarified. “It’s about being where you are in your body, in your mind and letting it meet you there and going from there. So just allowing yourself to have an open mind.”
Equanimity Hatha Yoga studio is located at 323 East Gay Street, B7. For more information, go to www.equanimityhathayoga.com.