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Somatic Wisdom - Yin Yoga

FASCIA - THE FABRIC OF OUR FORM: ON YIN VS. YANG TISSUE

FASCIA - THE FABRIC OF OUR FORM: ON YIN VS. YANG TISSUE

Fascia is known as transanatomical substrate:

·      Transanatomical- meaning anatomy and more;

·      Substrate- meaning the element behind everything, that which connects everything, the extracellular matrix which envelops every organ.

Fascia is made of collagen and fed by Vitamin C. It forms blood vessels, muscle fibers, it even informs the architecture of our lungs and our brain.

As our largest sensory organ, I think of this connective tissue as our ‘6th Sense’ contributing to interception and proprioception, it tells us where we are in space. No muscle of bone ever works without the utilization of this organ of organization.

The main job of this fascial matrix is to draw water into its matrix (hydration), as neural impulses move through water, the autonomic nervous system relies on a fluid state of the connective tissue for its communication . In a healthy Asana practice, we are directing some of our inherent water element into the fascia to send healthy neural impulses through our system.

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YANG TISSUES:

·      Shallower tissue- closer to surface, the faschia under skin, muscles.

·      Responds to: rhythmic movement and short-term engagement (5 breaths maximum), repetition and strong explosive movement.

·      Muscle tissue closer to surface has more fluid content that tissues closer to the bones. At rest muscles are 75% fluid content and they get juicier with movement. That’s why warming up in a Yang Yoga practice is so important before  reaching apex pose. 

YIN TISSUES:

·      Ligaments, tendons- deeper connective tissues that binds bones and even binds within the bones and bone marrow

·      Responds to: static loading and holding, slow sustained holds

·      Whereas yang tissues need repetition, repetition is Deleterious on our joints (wear and tear)

·      Healthy stress on the yin fascia can initiate the flow of fluids to yin tissues which don’t intrinsically juice up like Yang muscles do.

A Pose in itself isn’t yin or yang but how you practice it becomes the intentionality and texture of the shape- thereby targeting the yin or yang tissues.

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ABOUT KALI: 

International yoga teacher Kali Basman  (kalidurgayoga.com) enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 

WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.

Skeletal & Energetic Articulations of Sphnix

Skeletal & Energetic Articulations of Sphnix

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Tops of feet on the floor: lengthen front of ankle joint and energetic release in soles of feet

Upper inner thighs engage: slight energetic engagement of the inseam of the thighs will stabilize base of spine

Pubic bone as the anchor point: press pubis into mat to create the stable anchor point the spine will lift off from

Navel lifts away from pubis: this will lengthen the lower abdomen

Navel glides toward the spine: this will engage the corset of the middle abdomen and protect lower back

Middle ribcage slides forward: picture yourself opening a drawer as you slide the ribs forward to compress thoracic spine

Sternums lifts away from spine to complete the arch

Sternum spreads widening through the distal ends of the collarbones

Base of skull pulls back and wide to prevent jutting forward of the chin and stressing the neck

Crown of head lifts to refine your relationship to the upper realms

YOU ARE ONLY AS HEALTHY

AS YOUR SPINE IS SUPPLE


Copy of Kali Basman Bio.JPG

ABOUT KALI: 

International yoga teacher Kali Basman  (kalidurgayoga.com) enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 

WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.

The Wisdom of the 'Respose' in Yin Yoga

The Wisdom of the 'Respose' in Yin Yoga

Pentacle / 5 Pointed Supine Star

The ‘Repose’ in Yin Yoga practice is used as the thread, or the ‘Sutra’, between carefully curated asanas in a Yin Yoga sequence to allow the system to come to a state of ease and decompression in between each shape. Think of it as a mini-savasana in between each posture: The magic of stillness here allows for an observant practitioner to absorb the subtle significance of the preceding posture, and to soak up the benefits of the shape, before flowing onward to ‘what’s next!?’. Yin Yoga is a practice of honoring transitions, the space in between transitions, and the precious potency of the present.

One crucial objective in a conscious mindfulness embodiment practice such as Yin Yoga is the devotion to simplification. In Yin, when we no longer can rely on the normative patternings of stimulation and chaos, movement and turbulence, we are forced to get down to the bare bones of the practice: a system in stillness, and a body of breath.

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By keeping movement to a minimum (letting the stimulation of Vinyasa- or FLOW- to be reserved for a more YANG practice), we assume a minimalist aspect: to renounce the rest of the world and just take refuge within the shape you’re in.

THE WISDOM OF THE REPOSE-

LENGTHENING THE LIMBS

SETTLING THE SPINE

RENUNCIATE, SURRENDER

OPEN TO DIVINE

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In Tibetan Buddhism, the concept is referred to as Nekkhama: to Renunciate. As you lay down and become enmeshed in quietude, the subtle realm becomes more pronounced and externalities sheathe away. All that’s left is the beckoning will to draw inwards. Choosing a pentacle repose is a radical renunciation – a different way of being in the world: more refined.

It’s quite phenomenal to simplify and surrender enough to become unhinged from the normal turbulence your system learns to rely on. Without this preoccupation, you can learn to deeply love where you are right now.


Copy of Kali Basman Bio.JPG

About Kali:

International yoga teacher Kali Basman enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 

WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.

Unraveling Anahatasana

Unraveling Anahatasana

ON YIN & THE GREAT WITHDRAWAL FROM THE EVER SHIFTING SENSORY REALM.

Yin is a helpful container to practice PRATYAHARA: Withdrawal of the Senses, or as I like to call it ‘The Great Withdrawal’.

Teaching in Los Angeles, I see studentship enter the studio with a flurry of externalities, a contingency of chaos, and filtering through the debris of life in constant motion. The goal of a Yin practice is to allow the system to settle into stillness so true cellular regeneration and deep tissue restoration can occur. However, modernity implies that the availability of stillness and spaciousness is intermittent at best. The city sweeps you through its streets, the to-do list mounts, and in the midst of progression and productivity there is rarely time for the dust of the subtle realm to settle.

With that in mind, my objective in offering Yin Yoga as a daily foundational practice is not to demand that the practitioner set aside the perfect amount of space and time with complete clarity of mind. The objective is this: to train the nervous system to become comfortable with the ever-shifting state.

There may be space between the thoughts and between the breath in some moments, and in others we may succumb to the normative patterning of clinging and cluttering the foreground of our mentality. Either perspective is part of the process. We might inquire - How do I extricate myself from the onerous paradigms of an involved and often overwrought life? Where and how is stillness accessible to me, even in the midst of movement?

- Kali Durga Yoga


Unraveling Anahatasna: An Energetically Intimate Examination of Melting Heart Pose

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I use Anahatasana (Melting Heart) as a way to observe the threading of breath along the length of the spine, supported by a still and stable base of skeletal alignment of pelvis and femur bones. This shape encourages us to seek stability and spaciousness even in the midst of a turbulent breath. In terms of Yin Asanas, this one has quite a Yang elemental texture to it – there is activity, there is muscular engagement, and yet – there is the propensity to experience a subtle sweep of deep, still, quietude – if even for a brief and fleeting moment.

Note: There are many resources online which point towards the proper cueing, entering and exiting the shape, contraindications and modifications. I encourage you to explore those on your own accord – the thrust of this post is not to cookie-cutter the shape for you, but rather to offer some of the underlying energetic repercussions a refined relationship to this posture will provide.

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SETTLE

As the name implies, the structure of this shape allows for an energetic pooling at the locus of the heart as it  melts off the spine, drips from the sternum, pools and puddles on the earth below you. What a delectable manner to settle! Arms outstretched allows you to lengthen the Heart & Lung Channels of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Meridians, stretches the lobes of the lungs long so that breath becomes more accessible in the backbody.

COMPRESS

This is a backbend for the upper thoracic spine, which tends to be the most inflexible region of the vertebral column. Repercussions of inflexibility here include rotator cuff rigidity and neck pain. The more mobility you have here, the greater flow and flush of prana and cerebrospinal fluids you have. I see a lot of hypermobile yogis electing the lumbar spine to bend deeply in mid and lower back. The lumbar spine should serve to stabilize here, so you can encourage a deep and therapeutic compression in thoracic.

ENGAGE

The weight of the pelvis should be balanced over the knees: another way of thinking of this is ensuring the length of the femur bones are directly perpendicular to the mat. This will allow even gravitational force to be distributed down the thighs, maintaining a foundation of stability. Slight engagement of the quadriceps along the inseam of the femur bones (think isometric magnetizing of the inner thighs towards the midline) will support stability… so that you may sink into stillness, even for a moment!

SURRENDER

Once stability has been realized, there is a way in which the YANG element of this shape dissolves into the somatic wisdom of YIN. You can unravel here, allowing the shoulder blades to soften and descend off the spine, the glutes melt off the backpoint of the sitting bones, and the expression of the face unfolds into a subdued state.

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MAY THE MELTING OF YOUR HEART

INVITE ELOQUENCE OF MIND

& STILLNESS DESPITE CHAOS


Copy of Kali Basman Bio.JPG

About Kali:

International yoga teacher Kali Basman enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 


WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  

Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.

A Voyage Through Virasana

A Voyage Through Virasana

THE OBJECTIVE OF YIN.

A still, intentional embodiment practice helps to soothe the fluctuations of a cluttered mentality and release the binding grip of muscular stress. Yin is the format we may use to withdraw from normative patterning of stimulation and let all the energetic build-up of the daily debris find a way to percolate through the system and be effectively released.

Certain implications of stress emerge around the tops of the thighs and the bottom of the hip flexor – a critical fight or flight response when the system is in stress – and so a shape which lengthens the quadriceps and compresses the bottom insertion of the psoas is paramount to softening and widening the legs so we might settle into groundedness.

-Kali Durga Yoga


The Subtle Systems of Saddle

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I offer Virasana (Heros/Saddle) as a way to internally rotate the femur bones and lengthen the quadriceps to slough off mounting tension from thighs and lower hips. You can choose to keep the spine erect or enter into a more intense embellishment of the shape with the spine on the ground.  

This is an intense, acute shape: as such, within the immediacy of sensation there is the availability to observe somatic wisdom. Enter quietude to hear the wisdom – sometimes it speaks to you in a mere whisper.

Note: there are many resources online which point towards the proper cueing, entering and exiting the shape, contraindications and modifications. I encourage you to explore those on your own accord – the thrust of this post is not to cookie-cutter the shape for you, but rather to offer some of the underlying energetic repercussions a refined relationship to this posture will provide.

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Settle The skeletal set up of the foundation for this shape is an internal rotation of the thigh bones and a compression of the front of the ankles as you settle the hips above the heels.  The Kidney & Stomach Channels of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Meridians are engaged.

Spread Generally speaking, an internal rotation of the thighs allows for a spreading of the sacrum. Thus, a stable base of spine allows for a therapeutic foundation to compress lumbar if you choose to move into a backbend.

Arch  If you enter the backbend by bringing the back to the ground behind you, you’ll experience a deep opening in sacral-lumbar region of the spinal column.  Remember you are only as healthy as your spine is supple!

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MAY THE SPINNING OF THE THIGHS

INVITE SPACIOUSNESS IN SPINE

& GROUNDEDNESS OF PRESENCE


Copy of Kali Basman Bio.JPG

About Kali:

International yoga teacher Kali Basman enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga to integrate distinct aspects of Self into an innate wisdom practice to awaken a rich inner life and radiate with ritual. Her offering honors Yin Yoga as a tool to surrender to our intrinsic wholeness. On the textured path of mindful healing, Kali is celebrated for her integration of the 5 Elements and Chinese Meridian Theory with self-inquiry, embodied Anatomy, Buddhist Philosophy of Equanimity, and sharp intellect. 

WANT TO PRACTICE WITH KALI?  Learn more about her upcoming 5 Elements Yin  & Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.