Last weekend I enjoyed a two day online Yin Yoga Teacher Training workshop, with Nina Goldberger. From the comfort of my home in Morocco, which became a yin yoga retreat / study office for the weekend. Read on for more about the benefits of an online yoga teacher training, and Yin Yoga.
Yin Yoga has been on my radar for a while, having recognised a need to do something to balance out a tendancy for yang qualities, and to expand my yoga teacher offerings. Turns out Yin Yoga is the perfect accompaniment to my other sporting passions, such as surfing and boxing, and, a life in Morocco in general.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is a great way accompaniment to stronger yoga practices, such as ashtanga and vinyasa, and, any high-intensity sports that focus on training and strengthening muscles. In Yin Yoga the poses are held for longer, around 2-6 minutes. The focus is on a deeper level, targeting deep-set tissues; connective tissues, joints, ligaments and bones, rather than the muscles, which a stronger yoga class would focus on. By holding the postures for longer we are able to nourish the bodies' meridians and promote organ health, in a similar way to acupuncture and deep tissue massage. There is compression whilst holding the poses, and when the compression/ pose is released, a surge of energy starts to flow again. Yin Yoga can help with relaxation, detoxifying organs, calming the nervous system, and, reducing stress and anxiety.
Difference between Yin & Restorative Yoga?
Restorative Yoga is aimed at those recovering from injuries, perhaps older practictioners - the practice is carried out with lots of props, to allow the body to be floppy and fully supported. Yin Yoga is aimed at healthy and active people, as a way to target deeper tissues and organs. There is some activity required in the body, and a (healthy) stress applied to healthy tissues.
Why is Yin great for surfers?
After a lot of paddling in the ocean, am always on the look out for ways to stretch out the back and arms. Especially that area between the shoulder blades, as well as increasing flexibility in the hips, and deep stretches for a well-exercised body. Increased mobility in the body will assist with paddle power, and a healthy balance in the body will lead to greater balance on the board. Tick, tick, tick.
I particularly enjoyed the deep back releases in Yin Yoga, including a supported bridge pose, where yoga bricks are placed between the shoulder blades, it worked a treat!
Overall, I felt a deep sense of tension release and strong detoxifying effects during and after the yin yoga workshop.
How was it doing two full days training 10-5pm on Zoom?
I was a little apprehensive to sign up to a two day weekend entirely online, curious as to how it would feel being on Zoom from 10-5PM. In hindsight, I can say that this style of learning really suited me. I enjoyed being able to focus on the Yin practice and teacher, whilst enjoying the quiet surrounds of my beautiful home retreat - Villa El Fen - in Morocco. It was lovely to wake up on Saturday, go for a swim in the ocean here in Morocco, log on for yoga and learning in the UK, then finish the day enjoying a sunset picnic at our local surf spot! Nina did a great job at sticking to the schedule, and we covered a lot in two days.
Course schedule/ format
Each day started with a Yin practice, guided by Nina, a knowledgable, passionate, patient and empathetic teacher. Her teaching style was really accessible, and easy to follow online. We had a short tea break, mid-morning before diving into the background of Yin Yoga, its roots, and some Zen / Tao philosophy. The lunch break was followed by a Yin Asana workshop, going over how to instruct, the benefits, modifications of Yin postures, and lots of opportunities for Q&A. Both days finished with further relaxation; a beautiful guided meditation, on one, and Yoga Nidra, the other. The course was really well organised, including a great recommended Reading List, smooth booking process, and concise follow up.
Online v in person teacher training/ retreat
The online format is different to a teacher training where you attend in person. There is not the same group energy, and for a 2 day course - it is harder to create friendships with the other students in the class. But, the yin practice we enjoyed, the connection with your teacher , and the wisdom shared was there in abundance. I benefited from Nina's expert tuition and teaching style.
Benefits of practicing Yin yoga live online
I'd stopped teaching my own Zoom yoga classes recently, pausing to do some self-practice and studies in order to expand my yoga CV. I needed to participate in some online classes as a student rather than teacher, because I was not fully appreciating the benefits of an online practice. Even though the students I was teaching said how much they enjoyed it, I had to try it for myself to really believe it!
Having dived straight into teaching on Zoom in April 2020, it was a while since I'd enjoyed an online yoga class as a student. Nina showed me how powerful online yoga and distant learning can be, thank you, I am excited to get back to online teaching and share my new Yin wisdom.
If you're a yoga teacher interested in participating in an online Yin Yoga workshop weekend, check out Nina's next Yin Yoga 20-hour training in July 2021: https://sallyparkesyoga.com/yin-yoga-teacher-training/ Pre-Requirements are that you be a certified yoga teacher with 200 hour YTT + two year's teaching experience.
Thank you for reading, if you enjoyed this blog, please share with anyone who may be interested. And, if we're not already, let's connect on Instagram, I love to post about daily life in Morocco, and any yoga & creative offerings @sally_kirby