Jamie Clarke – celebrated yoga teacher and founder of The Yoga People – is teaching a weekend of workshops next month (Feb 2020) in Soho where he’ll be bringing together the yin yoga practice and its associated ancient chakra psychology. Read on to learn more about ‘how’ and ‘why’ he intends to blend these two systems together.
We often hear that yoga is for everybody… Yet it is true the depth and intensity of its philosophies and techniques can, without skilful practicing and guidance, be inappropriate and at times even harmful. For example, I routinely witness on advanced trainings, student emotional instability, regressive personality structures and triggered stress response behaviour. In most cases these reactions are the appropriate path to awareness and healing when supported by experienced, qualified teachers.
However as with all medicines, safety should always be first with careful attention to what is being taken, what intensity and who takes what concoction. In this yin and chakras workshop at triyoga on 7th February 2020, the intention will be to offer an introduction to one of yoga’s deeper and more powerful, spiritual systems in the chakras, blended with the somatic practices of yin yoga.
Our exploration will acknowledge depth psychologist Carl Jung’s astute observations, that there is a strong inclination of the western yogi to submerse themselves in the ancient, eastern practices and attempt to conveniently neglect their own unresolved emotional unfinished business. This process was later formally described as the classical ‘spiritual bypass’ coined by Buddhist teacher and psychologist John Welwood, in the 1980’s. Despite such pitfalls of the alchemical path, there remain great opportunities in doing the practices correctly and with relevance to the students healing journey.
Why the chakras and yin yoga
As such the day will be introduction offering, bringing together the yin yoga practice and its associated ancient chakra psychology. It will harness a joining of the meditative, somatic yin discipline and the associated inner chakra technology, as a celebration of the purposeful, yet at times difficult, transcendent terrain that each spiritual adventurer faces. So, let’s look at the ingredients of our recipe, and understand why these two pieces of the yoga puzzle are being blended in this experience.
The yin yoga practice is now being taught worldwide and has been widely accepted as a bridging practice into meaningful meditation. However, because of yin’s progressive releasing process to the connective tissue of the body, it has come under criticism and in some arenas has been labelled as dangerous and potentially harmful to the practitioner.
It is not my intention to open this debate in our discussion here, citing comparative statistics of injury illustrating yin’s safety over the yang practice, yet must be acknowledged that yin’s technique requires skills of sensitivity and practice knowledge. However, the subject of a functional practice and issues of safety of yin versus yang, will provide fertile ground for our day of learning in this upcoming workshop.
With these questions as a basis the yin and chakras workshop, we’ll examine the ‘functional approach’ of yin – looking at students’ anatomical ranges of motion to understand its method, approach, its safety and benefits. From here we will be able to take these insights and then use them as an appropriate somatic portal into a deeper understanding of our holistic practice methodology, whether we are using a dynamic or still discipline.
Students should expect a full yin yoga practice at the beginning of the day, taught functionally with an anatomical target area focus to provide the basis with the range of motion demonstrations and lectures which will follow.
Human psyche and the chakras
Our psychological and philosophical scope will be covered within our analysis of the chakras. Coupled with yin’s functional approach relating to the body, the chakra theory will be framed as archetypal blueprints of the psyche. Therefore, as we look at the anatomical joints relating to the yin yoga postures, we will correspond the chakras that are being activated within this somatic process. From here the chakra theory will be expanded to link into early human development and the psyche.
So often benignly conveyed, as coloured wheels of energy within the spine, the Chakra insights will give their appropriate gravitas of potency and influence within a practitioner’s transcendent process. Further insights will be discussed as to how they mould our nature and life situations of family and relationships.
Students should prepare themselves for an emotional breath of fresh air, as we wake up to an exploration of who we are, how got here and what we can do to refine our personalities and life circumstances into balance and harmony.
So to conclude, it will be a colourful day of yogic practice and insight, anatomy and psychology. We will realise as to why the yin yoga practice is the original, ancient asana discipline and why all purposeful and accelerated meditation techniques lead to transforming the energy within the spine.
As my beloved teachers and founders of the modern yin yoga practice Paul and Suzee Grilley explain, “Monks and nuns would use yin asana to harmonize the chi flow in the body, in order to be able to meditate longer and with better quality.”
Furthermore, it is my tantra teacher Friedrich (Omesh) Langmann who would further point out that it was those same monks and nuns that would work persistently and patiently hoping to trigger and feel the very dark shadows of the body and mind, in order to pounce and work to transform them.
“In filth it shall be found.”
(“In sterquiliniis invenitur”)
Carl Jung, 1967, C. G. Jung The Collected Works