1.How did your passion for Yin Yoga begin?
I’ve read so many yoga teacher bios outlining their ‘aha’ moment in yoga where they were dragged to their first class in the midst of despair, got into a downdog and were radically and instantly transformed. I feel that is entirely misleading in that it disregards yoga asana as a process, rather than a state of arriving at perfection. I have no fairytale romance for my relationship with yin yoga. It’s been a long term, sometimes arduous, daily development into stillness. Sometimes it feels dull or dark, other times it’s quite light and lifted. The passion stems from a willingness to be there, with and for yourself, in every moment. This is a practice you return to throughout every realm of the life process.
- How would you explain yin yoga to someone who has never experienced it?
I’ll outline some essential elements, or the main ingredients, of an enduring Yin practice:
-A gentle, restorative textured longevity practice to approach sustainable health of connective tissues, joints and ligaments normally neglected in a more active yoga practice. Typically, Yin postures focus on the lower spine, hips, pelvis, and shoulder girdle, but can target other regions as well.
-The observation of internal stillness as you hold each posture anywhere from one to twenty minutes! This allows us to develop the inner resources for tranquility even amidst discomfort or chaos. Meanwhile, the effect of gravity over time deepens and compresses the stretch to eradicate toxins, and lengthen and lubricate the denser tissues.
-A switch to the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest & digest component of our neurology) as we release deeply into the body, allowing for rejuvenation and vital healing on many levels, physiologically emotionally and otherwise.
Lastly, Yin Yoga is unhurried, still, and contemplative. We relax deeply into our essential Self and give ourselves the permission to simply exist, exactly as we are.
- What are some of the best known benefits of practices yin yoga?
It’s said you’re only as young as your spine is healthy. The greatest physical benefit of yin is a supple spine, lubricated ligaments, and healthy hydrated connective tissue. Yin restores optimal functionality to the vital organs and maintains or enhances complete range of motion in the joints. But the practice reaches much more deeply – it allows the practitioner to tap into her vast reservoir of vital energy, to filter through external stimulus and stressors to cultivate an unwavering presence. The calm in the eye of the city.
- Do you see a noticeable transformation in your students when you train them?
Absolutely. While every group of trainees is unique, alongside the cultivation of a more skillful and sustainable personal practice, I recognize a recurring theme of equanimity. Equanimity means a balanced emotional body, in which practitioners are able to respond to circumstance with wisdom and compassion, irrespective of the circumstance – meaning however chaotic or non-preferable the moment may be, my students are courageously engaged in maintaining tranquility despite.
This is not to disregard preference, but it is to disattach from the narrative surrounding our preferences. A yin yoga teacher training should be a process to awaken the allowance of sensations to emerge, without suppressing or indulging them. That way we can have a more skillful practice and offer more compassionate teachings.
- What is the best place to practice yoga?
I practice yoga everywhere I can, in the grocery store and the elevator and even on my way to the yoga studio!
An integrated practice means we are incorporating mindfulness of the mind and sustainable structure of the skeleton everywhere. It’s an embodiment practice because we LIVE our yoga.
That being said, my top three favorite places to practice in the city are:
-Bhakti Yoga Shala: a heart-based yoga studio I teach at, learn from, and grow with constantly.
-on the heated jade and salt crystal floors at Olympic Spa: I take my retreat time very seriously!
-naked in my living room: despite being very popular with the neighbors, I can’t stress enough the importance of a space or sanctuary in your own home to practice even 20 minutes a day, where you can be free to experience each shape exactly where you are.
- Where is the favorite place you have ever taught?
I love teaching at yoga festivals because it’s retreat time we carve out as a community to practice together and enliven a rich inquiry on the frontier of modern day yoga. Sedona Yoga Festival and Steamboat Movement Festival are two potent offerings to deepen your practice, and I’m continuously honored to offer classes for each.
—note: you can use discount code KALI and sign up for the 2018 festivals. See you there!
- Tell us about Durga Excursions? Durga Excursions is a conscious collaborative offering worldwide Teacher Trainings & Retreats dedicated to the living discipline of Yin Yoga. Our next upcoming teacher training is a divine week over spring break in sacred beachfront Tulum: 5 Elements Yin Yoga Teacher Training at Amansala Eco-Beach Yoga Retreat Center.
This is a Yoga Alliance training which interweave the wisdom discipline of Yin Yoga with Intelligent Anatomy & Alignment, daily Vinyasa Yoga and meditation, Buddhist Philosophy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Subtle Body energetics. It will Emphasize Buddhist practices of equanimity and loving kindness, you will learn to use your authentic voice as an emerging Yin Yoga teacher and guide unique sequencing in the sacred art of restoration.
Teaching Yin Yoga is a divine practice for deep healing, and the mounting need to offer such practices grows more vividly each day.
8.What brings you ALEGRIA/ joy in life?
Lately I’ve been teaching and practicing Tonglen, a Buddhist compassion practice to develop awareness and build empathy. I’ve found it’s opened my heart, the spacious seat from which ALEGRIA actually emerges from.
Since we’re in a material world there is no purpose in denying the pleasure derived from some of my favorite THINGS: lemongrass bubble baths, hugger mugger yoga bolsters, pecan pie, crisp white hotel sheets, a rockstar parking spot, golden chai, and a hydroflask waterbottle in every color.
- Do you believe that anyone despite their ideological or physical levels can benefit from practicing yin yoga in their own lives for a few minutes per day?
Unequivocally yes. I am a proponent of Yin Yoga for every body. It’s not about pretzel bending, although over time flexibility inevitably increases. Yin is an embodiment practice to live breathe and thrive in the shape you are in, based on your own unique skeleton. Yin is different for each person, and understanding your own anatomy empowers you to appreciate your unique way of showing up in the world.
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 Yoga Teacher Training in Tulum on March 26-31. Use code KALI to receive $50 off.