Posts tagged Andrea Kwiatkowski
Yin Yoga by Andrea Kwiatkowski

What is yoga, if not an attitude of mind? A mind that cultivates attention. When we are attentive to something it changes our experience and how we relate to ourselves in the world. The interconnectedness of our bodies, energies, our breath form the opposites of our daily experiences. They are the yin/yang aspects of life. Most people come to yoga through the doorway of the tangible, the body. Overtime they may develop a keen interest in the heart/mind/emotion states, the more yin side of life!

Yang energy and practice are dynamic flowing heating.  Yin energy  and practice  are passive static and cooling. Yin moves us inside. It is simple but mentally stimulating and challenging. It can give us many insights that can provoke changes in our lives. We can experience opening up, yet cultivate acceptance of what is. Above all the practice of yoga is a healing practice. Yin yoga can offer a student a way inside their body/mind complex.

Yin Qualities

  • Dark
  • Cold
  • Inside
  • Solid
  • Slow
  • Dim

Yang Qualities

  • Light
  • Hot
  • Outside
  • Hollow
  • Rapid
  • Bright

Like two sides of a coin one cannot exist without the other. There is no absolute yin or absolute yang. It is all about balance. For yoga purposes yang tissues relate to the muscles, skin yin tissues to our bones, joints, and ligaments. Muscles relate well to rhythmic, repetitive movements, ligaments to gentler pressure for longer periods of time. If there is too much stress on a joint the muscles around it will tear first, then the ligament and then the joint may become damaged. Yang yoga therefore is designed to not stress joints. Yin yoga is designed to affect the ligaments and to regain space and strength to the joints.

Test this with your finger – Hold your right hand out in front of you and stiffen the muscles and fingers, now try to lift your index finger upwards to the ceiling. Relax your arm, shake out your hand and try again this time stay relaxed in the muscles, see how you can lift your finger up.

Up to 30% of our muscles are made of fascia anyway ,  but as we age after our mid- thirties and upwards these tissues become more brittle, joints more un mobile and we stiffen up. The optimum time for balance of a yang/ yin practice is between 20’s and 30’s.

Stretching - Applying a stress in muscles that results in a stretch

Stressing - Tension placed around a tissue

Yin yoga is designed to stress the tissue not stretch them.

Andrea K - Shoelace Pose

Andrea K - Swan Pose

Influences and further,

Books - Yin yoga by Paul Grilley, Insight yoga by Sarah Powers, Theories of the Chakras by Hiroshi Motoyama

Yin + Meditation Sequence 3: Backbending

andreaThe following Yin sequence has been designed by Andrea Kwiatkowski. It is only suitable for those with Yin experience and should not be done by anyone with medical conditions which affect their practice. Please consult Andrea after class for further guidance. Click here to find out more about Yin and Meditation, as part of our Focus: On series.

Thank you to Andrea for so generously sharing these powerful practices with us.










Yin + Meditation Sequence 2: Twisting

andreaThe following Yin sequence has been designed by Andrea Kwiatkowski. It is only suitable for those with Yin experience and should not be done by anyone with medical conditions which affect their practice. Please consult Andrea after class for further guidance. Click here to find out more about Yin and Meditation, as part of our Focus: On series.

Please keep an eye on the blog over the coming weeks as we will be posting further exclusive Yin sequences designed by Andrea, who has been so generous in sharing these powerful practices with us.











Focus On: Yin + Meditation

andrea The latest addition to Camyoga's schedule, Yin and Meditation offers a fully rounded practice with a mindful approach. Yin yoga is a slow paced, floor- based practice which focuses on releasing the pelvis, lower spine and hips, freeing up the flow of energy ('qi') in the body. It was first taught in the 1970s by Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zinke and has since been developed by prominent teachers Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Unlike Zinke, who posited the practice as a complete method in itself, both Grilley and Powers emphasise passive Yin as a complement to other, more active forms of movement and exercise.

Yin poses are typically held for several minutes, allowing the practitioner to cultivate a deep sense of inner silence. As such, it is a practice which works very well in conjunction with, or as a precursor to, meditation. Whilst the poses are being held, the teacher typically engages in what is known as a "dharma" tallk, comprising philosophical teachings, thoughts and sometimes poems. Although many Yin poses will be recognisable to practitioners of other styles of yoga, in Yin they are given different names, to emphasise the fact that they should be performed in a different (passive) manner. Camyoga's Yin and Meditation class is suitable for all students with an existing flow-based practice.

Click here to view our Yin + Meditation classes

GREAT FOR: flexibility, relaxation, sports people.

Andrea Kwiatkowski on Jivamukti Yoga

Andrea Kwiatkowski on Jivamukti Yoga

1521427_741032399257796_1453507510_nQ1: Are all Jivamuktis vegan?

ANDREA: Yogic practices teach us that we are all interconnected to each other and the source. I have been a vegetarian for over 25 years, long before I was doing yoga and what I now realise is, how we eat and what we eat is a practice as well. I have been vegan on and off in my life especially in my early teenage years when I was quite passionate about my views, then after the Jivamukti teacher training at Omega in upstate New York I began to see how I could be more eloquent about this subject. Our teachers encourage us to think about how our actions contribute to the suffering in the world and whilst I cannot say every Jivamukti teacher is vegan, we shouldn’t judge anyone who isn’t, I know a lot of teachers and students who find our method difficult to understand as we talk about actions and veganism in the classes, but the skill is to teach with compassion. So I don’t judge a student who walks into my Jivamukti class and is a meat eater I just know that they may walk out thinking about how they live and what they do in the world and how it all matters.

Q2: What drew you to Jivamukti practice?

ANDREA: A friend of mine bought me the Jivamukti book after reading an article on Sharon and David. As they were both artists and performers, Sharon was a dancer , he thought I would interested in the style, I read the book and researched where I could do a class. The nearest was NY city so I hopped on a plane and spent some time there! When I walked out of my first class I knew this was the method of yoga I would like to teach, it felt like home -music, flowing asana, meditation and philosophy that was interwoven into everything – this was the method that I had been searching for… and it still is nearly 9 years later.

Q3: If you could give just one piece of advice what would it be?

ANDREA: It’s called a practice because that is what it is, not yoga perfection. Don’t expect too much too soon, think about what you bring to the mat, your attitude, your state of mind, your respect for the teacher, anyone can do wonderful asana but that doesn’t make you a yogi ! I quote Sri K. Pattabhi jois “Practice, Practice and all is coming”. You have to be prepared to spend a long time with no expection and more often than not we aren’t very good at that.

Q4: Please describe your personal practice.

ANDREA: I find it interesting that I am asked this so much, my practice is varied depending on my day with regard to asana I have a selection of asana that keeps my body open and relaxed with kriyas as well, I always do a long inversion usually headstand and forearm balance , I might do some yin poses and pranayama. If I have a workshop I will practice my sequence for the class over a period of time so I am familiar with it and can feel how it fits into my body. My practice can be anything from 15 /20mins restorative to 2 hours vinyasa finishing with pranayama and meditation or chanting. I love sanskrit so I have regular lessons on Vedic chanting. At the moment I am in the middle of a 108 day practice dedicated to someone special in my life. I have been known to stretch my hamstrings in the supermarket! You would be surprised how much you can fit into your daily life if you only take a few minutes.

Q5: What is your favourite yoga book ?

ANDREA: This is difficult – if only one then of course my obvious choice is Jivamukti: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul, but I love Master Patanajli’s Yoga Sutra too. Of course with this text as with all yoga books you need a teacher to describe the teachings to you, they come in many forms these teachers - oh , I can recommend a few at this yoga studio known as Camyoga...



Andrea Kwiatkowski is a former dancer and Advanced Certified Jivamukti instructor. She regularly runs Jivamukti masterclasses at Camyoga. Join her for Yin & Yang Yoga Day on 2nd Feb 2014. Book here