At this month edition of "Let's Talk Yoga" Yoga in Indonesia.com is honored to have Yin Yoga expert, Sebastian Pucelle as a special guest. Sebastian shared his experience of finding Yin Yoga and how he introduced this style of yoga to the yoga community in Indonesia.
Q. Amongst many others styles of yoga, why did you choose Yin Yoga?
SP: I first started my Yoga journey with Ashtanga in 1994 in London,
my first teacher was Gingi Lee and i have studied with him for 6 years, and really enjoyed this physical challenging approach of Yoga under his guidance.
At a later stage, i was attracted to explore more of what Yoga has to offer.
I did my first 10 days Vipassana Meditation retreat in 2002 and this was the beginning of a clear change in my spiritual endeavor as i was then looking to intertwine a more contemplative&meditative approach of Yoga.
I went to the Sivananda Yoga Center in London where they offered many other aspects of Yoga such as Kirtan, Philosophy diet advice and Meditation.
It was exciting to learn this holistic approach of Yoga, Murielle and I went to one of their Ashram in 2004 following a Yoga Teacher Training Course.
In 2006 i came across Sarah Powers work and following several of her workshops, i had a glimpse of the potential of Yin Yoga, at this time my practice was interweaving traditional Hatha, Vinyasa and Meditation but slowly Yin started to take more place as it was obviously enhancing my meditation practice. The qualities of the Yin approach define what is meditation.
Q.What are the benefits of Yin Yoga
SP: Physically Yin Yoga will open your structural body, it has a specific effect on the body hence two main reasons, in Yin Yoga we keep the muscles relaxed and we stay longer in the pose.
This can be translated as passive or static traction on the connective tissues, when we are not engaging the muscles we can access the connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, fascias, cartilages, joint capsule), then we apply a passive stress to those tissues and we stay longer in the position which allow us to gently yet steadily improving, rehabilitating and strengthening them. In the long terms we develop a superior flexibility of those structure and range of motion of the body.
This are the evident benefits of the practice, but there is also another huge advantage of the Yin approach much subtler. It will affect our mind state by changing our attitude towards the body, the slow pace requires patience, the stillness allows us to surrender, the rebound of the posture genuinely express first trough the body a feeling of contentment to finally leave us with a profound sense of gratitude.
If the Yogi practices relaxation and establishes an unwavering witness all of the above will be inherently revealed.
Q.You have been spreading the love of yin yoga in Indonesia, and you did a really good job. Did you find any obstacles introducing Yin yoga to Indonesian yoga community?
SP: No not really, i cannot say i came across any obstacles in spreading the Yin approach in the Indonesian Yoga community.
Yin Yoga is a new name for an old practice, also i must say that Yoga is getting very popular now in Indonesia and South East Asia in general but it wasn't the case less than 10 years ago.
At first what is really well received by the Yogis are the more "Yang" style of Yoga, anything which has a strong physical impact on the body, and a form of workout, then as the Yogis become more experienced they usually get attracted to the more subtle aspects of the practice ready to explore the Prana/Body and mind.
In other words I feel that Yin is growing slowly in Indonesia, the Yogis start to feel and understand the need for it. I must say that i always had a major interest with Yogis from Jakarta for this approach, and in general a great support from my fellow Indonesian Yogis.
Q.Any personal life lesson you've learned from yin yoga?
SP: Well there is a few that i could share with you but i rather share this in my teaching, but the one which really outshine them all is the importance of slowing down, there is so much to gain by deliberately relaxing the pace of our life, this was really a breakthrough for me on many levels. Happiness is a matter of taking time to appreciate the present moment, just this one and nothing else.
The directness and plainness of this realization is fulfilling beyond any belief or expectation, simplicity is a life teacher.
Q. What is your favorite yin yoga pose and why?
SP: I love them all for different reasons, by practicing them all i come to a deeper sense of completion every time i come in Shavasana which is the ultimate Yin Pose, there is a profound sense of coming closer to what life has to offer, it give us the ability to sample the potential of human existence for a short time.
There is so much happening during Shavasana : the rebound of the tissues allows us to experience vulnerability and fragility and simultaneously an heartfelt sense of satisfaction, here is the opportunity to dis-identify ourselves from the constraints and conditions of delusion, if we pay enough attention to what is really unfolding in our psyche.
Thank you Sebastian Pucelle :)