Episode #103: Yin and Yang of Teaching Yoga

In this week’s episode, Michael and Paul sit down to discuss two very well known opposites: yin and yang. Not only do they move through qualities and elements that represent yin and yang, but more specifically they dive into yin and yang as it applies to teaching yoga and how you approach your classes. 

They discuss the Yang as structure, the left brain, the logic or anatomy, controlling the room, respect, among much more. Paul shares examples of requiring students to turn their phones off at the start of class or reprimanding someone who isn’t creating a safe environment for them and their neighbors as ways to hold the space with yang energy. Whether or not it is a yang style practice (power, vinyasa, rocket, etc) there is an importance of using yang qualities to create a sense of respect and safety. 

On the opposite side, they talk about Yin as holding space, creativity, vulnerability, and sharing authentically from the heart. People need to feel safe in a yin class in order to heal. People need to relax in order to feel vulnerable. Softening the body to allow emotions and feelings to come through. So the way we support students in doing this is by opening our own hearts and sharing from a place of softness and love. Paul shares an anecdote of a student on a recent meditation teacher training who really won over the hearts of her classmates by allowing the class to really see her while guiding. 

Among many other topics, Michael and Paul also discuss finding advanced trainings that balance out what you need to nurture within you. If your trainings used to be very structured, find one that’s very flowy and soft. Study with different types of teachers. They dive into the art of receiving feedback, the importance of taking risks, and what balance really means. 

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 02:16 The Yang of Teaching
  • 04:22 Masculine and Yang Styles
  • 09:00 Structure and Discipline in Class
  • 14:00 The Yin of Teaching
  • 18:35 Your Personal Touch/Uniqueness 
  • 20:33 Receiving Feedback
  • 25:00 Being Relaxed and Being Seen
  • 28:00 Taking Risks
  • 29:55 Continued Learning to Nurture New Sides of You
  • 33:20 Balancing Yin and Yang
  • 36:40 Doing Your Own Work

In this week’s episode, Michael and Paul sit down to discuss two very well known opposites: yin and yang. Not only do they move through qualities and elements that represent yin and yang, but more specifically they dive into yin and yang as it applies to teaching yoga and how you approach your classes. 

They discuss the Yang as structure, the left brain, the logic or anatomy, controlling the room, respect, among much more. Paul shares examples of requiring students to turn their phones off at the start of class or reprimanding someone who isn’t creating a safe environment for them and their neighbors as ways to hold the space with yang energy. Whether or not it is a yang style practice (power, vinyasa, rocket, etc) there is an importance of using yang qualities to create a sense of respect and safety. 

On the opposite side, they talk about Yin as holding space, creativity, vulnerability, and sharing authentically from the heart. People need to feel safe in a yin class in order to heal. People need to relax in order to feel vulnerable. Softening the body to allow emotions and feelings to come through. So the way we support students in doing this is by opening our own hearts and sharing from a place of softness and love. Paul shares an anecdote of a student on a recent meditation teacher training who really won over the hearts of her classmates by allowing the class to really see her while guiding. 

Among many other topics, Michael and Paul also discuss finding advanced trainings that balance out what you need to nurture within you. If your trainings used to be very structured, find one that’s very flowy and soft. Study with different types of teachers. They dive into the art of receiving feedback, the importance of taking risks, and what balance really means. 

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 02:16 The Yang of Teaching
  • 04:22 Masculine and Yang Styles
  • 09:00 Structure and Discipline in Class
  • 14:00 The Yin of Teaching
  • 18:35 Your Personal Touch/Uniqueness 
  • 20:33 Receiving Feedback
  • 25:00 Being Relaxed and Being Seen
  • 28:00 Taking Risks
  • 29:55 Continued Learning to Nurture New Sides of You
  • 33:20 Balancing Yin and Yang
  • 36:40 Doing Your Own Work

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Priority #1-2 Cues – Movement into Pose/Gentle stability:

Used to move the student(s) into the pose. These cues are the first thing to say to guide movement into the posture combine with occasionally cues for action to stabilize and protect the body.

Action cues are subtle movements in that establish stability to support the posture and protect the body.

These cues are necessary for beginners.

Front Arm Lines (FAL)

The Front Arm Lines assist the body in stabilization and consists of the Deep Front Arm Line (DFAL) and the Superficial Front Arm Line (SFAL).

The DFAL assists the upper body to move in adduction, rotation, and flexion. This fascial line runs from the area underneath your chest, up the armpit, and connects to the biceps.

The SFAL assists the upper body to move in adduction, flexion, and protraction. This fascial line runs from the clavicle, through the inner biceps, and into the front forearm area.

To lengthen the front arm lines, you need to move your body into abduction, adduction in combination with flexion or extension.

Priority #1 Cues – Movement into the Pose:

Used to move the student(s) into the pose. These cues are the first thing to say to guide movement into the posture. These cues are necessary for beginners.

Priority #2 Cues – Adjust Common Misalignments:

Used to adjust common misalignment in the body by providing action cues. Action cues are subtle movements in that establish stability to support the posture and protect the body.

Priority #3 Cues – Finishing Touches:

Used for the final touches of the pose. These are the last things you would say after a student has entered the pose (#1) and established alignment(#2).

Priority #1-2 Cues – Movement into Pose combined with Adjusting Common Misalignments:

This yoga pose is more complex and requires a combination of action cues to stabilize the body before moving into the full express of the pose.

Action cues are subtle movements in that establish stability to support the posture and protect the body.

Superficial Back Line (SBL)

This fascial line runs from the bottoms of the feet, up the back of the body, to the third eye.

It assists the body to move in extension, for example to arch the spine.

To lengthen the back line, you need to move your body into a forward flexion.

Muscle areas of the back line include: calves, hamstring, and the spinal muscles.

Superficial Front Line (SFL)

This fascial line runs from the tops of the feet, along the anterior side of the body, up to the base of the skull.

Assists the body to move forward, in flexion.

To lengthen the front line, you need to move your body backwards, into extension.

Muscle areas of the front line include: the shins, the quadriceps, the abdomens, the diaphragm and the muscles in the front of the neck.

Lateral Line (LL)

This fascial line runs from the base of the outer ankles, up the side of the body, to the base of the skull region underneath the ear.

Assists the body to move sideways, in abduction, for example to stretch the side body.

To lengthen the lateral line, you need to move your body to one side so that you can stretch the other side.

Muscle areas of the lateral line include: the muscles along the sides of the shins (peroneals), the muscles outside of the thighs including the Iliotibial (IT) band, the glute muscles, the side abdominals (obliques), and the side of the neck (scalenes).

Spiral Line (SL)

This fascial line loops around the body, across the upper back to the opposite shoulder, and around the ribs to cross again at the front.

Assists the body to rotate and twist.

To lengthen the spiral line, you need to move your body in circular and twisting motions.

Muscle areas of the spiral line include: the muscles on the front and sides of the shins, the muscles on the side of the thighs including the Iliotibial (IT) band, the side abdominals (obliques), and the spinal muscles on each side of the neck.

Deep Front Line (DFL)

This fascial line is composed of the deep inner thighs, hip flexors, deep core and the diaphragm.

Assists the body with core stability, primarily to move in flexion and hip abduction.

To lengthen the deep front line, you need to stimulate these deeper layers of tissue in the body with long holds that target the inner thighs.

Muscle areas of the deep front line include: inner thigh muscles, the hip flexors (Psoas), the deep core including Quadratus Lumborum (QL), and the transversus abdominus.

Back Arm Line (BAL)

The Back Arm Lines assist the body in stabilization and consist of the Deep Back Arm Line (DBAL) and the Superficial Back Arm Line (SBAL).

The DBAL assists the body to move in abduction, rotation, and extension. This fascial line runs from the midline of the back body, through the deep muscles in the back and shoulder area, and into the back of the forearms.

The SBAL assists the body to move in abduction, rotation, and extension. This fascial line runs from the midline of the back body, through the trapezius and tricep area, and into the back of the forearms.

To lengthen the back arm lines, you need to move your body into flexion, adduction, or protraction.

Priority #3 Cues – Soft Finishing Touches:

Used for the final touches of the pose. These are the last things you would say after a student has safely entered the pose to reconnect with their breath, to create awareness, and to relax their body

Spiral Line (SL)

This fascial line loops around the body, across the upper back to the opposite shoulder, and around the ribs to cross again at the front.

The Spiral Line assists the body to rotate and twist.

To lengthen the spiral line, you need to move your body in circular and twisting motions.

Muscle areas of the spiral line include: the IT band, obliques, and the spine.

Superficial Front Line (FAL)

The Superficial Front Line assists the body to move forward, in flexion.

This fascial line runs from the tops of the feet, along the anterior side of the body, up to the base of the skull.

To lengthen the front line, you need to move your body backwards, into extension.

Muscle areas of the front line include: the quadriceps, abdomens, intercostals and diaphragm .

Deep Back Arm Line (DBAL)

This fascial line runs from the midline of the back body, through the deep muscles in the back and shoulder area, and into the back of the forearms.

The DBAL assists the body to move in abduction, rotation, and extension.

To lengthen the back arm lines, you need to move your body into flexion, adduction, or protraction.

Muscle areas of the back line include: triceps, rotator cuff muscles of external rotation and rhomboids.

 

Superficial Back Line (SBL)

This fascial line runs from the bottoms of the feet, up the back of the body, to the third eye.

The Superficial Back Line assists the body to move in extension, for example to arch the spine. 

To lengthen the back line, you need to move your body into a forward flexion.

Muscle areas of the back line include: calves, hamstring, and the spine.

 

Deep Front Line (DFL)

This fascial line is composed of the deep inner thighs, hip flexors, deep core and the diaphragm.

Assists the body with core stability, primarily to move in flexion and hip abduction.

To lengthen the deep front line, you need to stimulate these deeper layers of tissue in the body with long holds that target the inner thighs.

Muscle areas of the deep front line include: Adductor Longus, Psoas, Quadratus Lumborum, and the abdominals.

 

Lateral Line (LL)

This fascial line runs from the base of the outer ankles, up the side of the body, to the base of the skull region underneath the ear.

The Lateral Line assists the body to move sideways, in abduction, for example to stretch the side body. 

To lengthen the lateral line, you need to move your body to one side so that you can stretch the other side.

Muscle areas of the lateral line include: the IT band, glute muscles, and obliques.

Lateral Line (LL)

This fascial line runs from the base of the outer ankles, up the side of the body, to the base of the skull region underneath the ear.

The Lateral Line assists the body to move sideways, in abduction, for example to stretch the side body. 

To lengthen the lateral line, you need to move your body to one side so that you can stretch the other side.

Muscle areas of the lateral line include: the IT band, glute muscles, and obliques.

 

Superficial Back Line (SBL)

This fascial line runs from the bottoms of the feet, up the back of the body, to the third eye.

The Superficial Back Line assists the body to move in extension, for example to arch the spine.

To lengthen the back line, you need to move your body into a forward flexion.

Muscle areas of the back line include: calves, hamstring, and the spine.

 

Superficial Front Line (SFL)

This fascial line runs from the tops of the feet, along the anterior side of the body, up to the base of the skull.

The Superficial Front Line assists the body to move forward, in flexion. 

To lengthen the front line, you need to move your body backwards, into extension.

Muscle areas of the front line include: the quadriceps, abdomens, intercostals and diaphragm.

 

Deep Front Arm Line (DFAL)

This fascial line runs from the area underneath your chest, up the armpit, and connects to the biceps.

The DFAL assists the upper body to move in adduction, rotation, and flexion.

To lengthen the front arm lines, you need to move your body into adduction or extension.

Muscle areas of the front line include: wrist flexors, biceps, pectoralis minor

Lateral Line (LL)

This fascial line runs from the base of the outer ankles, up the side of the body, to the base of the skull region underneath the ear.

The Lateral Line assists the body to move sideways, in abduction, for example to stretch the side body. 

To lengthen the lateral line, you need to move your body to one side so that you can stretch the other side.

Muscle areas of the lateral line include: the IT band, glute muscles, and obliques.

 

Spiral Line (SL)

This fascial line loops around the body, across the upper back to the opposite shoulder, and around the ribs to cross again at the front.

The Spiral Line assists the body to rotate and twist. 

To lengthen the spiral line, you need to move your body in circular and twisting motions.

Muscle areas of the spiral line include: the IT band, obliques, and the spine.

Deep Front Line (DFL)

This fascial line is composed of the deep inner thighs, hip flexors, deep core and the diaphragm.

Assists the body with core stability, primarily to move in flexion and hip abduction.

To lengthen the deep front line, you need to stimulate these deeper layers of tissue in the body with long holds that target the inner thighs.

Muscle areas of the deep front line include: Adductor Longus, Psoas, Quadratus Lumborum, and the abdominals.

 

Superficial Back Line (SBL)

This fascial line runs from the bottoms of the feet, up the back of the body, to the third eye.

The Superficial Back Line assists the body to move in extension, for example to arch the spine. 

To lengthen the back line, you need to move your body into a forward flexion.

Muscle areas of the back line include: calves, hamstring, and the spine.

Superficial Front Line (SFL)

This fascial line runs from the tops of the feet, along the anterior side of the body, up to the base of the skull.

The Superficial Front Line assists the body to move forward, in flexion.

To lengthen the front line, you need to move your body backwards, into extension.

Muscle areas of the front line include: the quadriceps, abdomens, intercostals and diaphragm.

 

Deep Front Line (DFL)

This fascial line is composed of the deep inner thighs, hip flexors, deep core and the diaphragm.

Assists the body with core stability, primarily to move in flexion and hip abduction.

To lengthen the deep front line, you need to stimulate these deeper layers of tissue in the body with long holds that target the inner thighs.

Muscle areas of the deep front line include: Adductor Longus, Psoas, Quadratus Lumborum, and the abdominals.

Spiral Line (SL)

This fascial line loops around the body, across the upper back to the opposite shoulder, and around the ribs to cross again at the front.

The Spiral Line assists the body to rotate and twist.

To lengthen the spiral line, you need to move your body in circular and twisting motions.

Muscle areas of the spiral line include: the IT band, obliques, and the spine.

 

Superficial Back Arm Line (SBAL)

This fascial line runs from the midline of the back body, through the trapezius and tricep area, and into the back of the forearms.

The SBAL assists the body to move in abduction, rotation, and extension.

To lengthen the back arm lines, you need to move your body into flexion, adduction, or protraction.

Superficial Back Line (SBL)

This fascial line runs from the bottoms of the feet, up the back of the body, to the third eye.

It assists the body to move in extension, for example to arch the spine.

To lengthen the back line, you need to move your body into a forward flexion.

Muscle areas of the back line include: calves, hamstring, and the multifidus along the spine.

 

Superficial Front Line (SFL)

This fascial line runs from the tops of the feet, along the anterior side of the body, up to the base of the skull just under the chin.

The Superficial Front Line assists the body to move forward, in flexion. 

To lengthen the front line, you need to move your body backwards, into extension.

Muscle areas of the front line include: the quadriceps, abdomens, intercostals and diaphragm.

Level 1: Safe to perform in the average body and can be added to the beginning, middle or end of a sequence.

Level 2: Requires one or more areas of the body to be prepared, warmed up, or activated, using a level 1 pose.

Level 3: Requires two or more areas of the body to be prepared, warmed up or activated, using a level 1 or level 2 pose. These postures are recommended for middle to end of a sequence.