Posts tagged Yoga Flow
An Introduction to Yin with Jacky Kuo

What does Yin mean?

Taiji Symbol

Taiji Symbol

Yin and Yang came from the Taoism philosophy. Taoism believes living in harmony with the universe and working with the universe’s natural flow (e.g. rather than trying to be the best, try and be simple).Yin and yang are the polarities of a whole, the complementary opposites of dark and light, cold and hot, soft and hard, female and male that allow all things to come into being. They are the two sides of a coin. One cannot exist without the other. Yin and yang are the vibration of the universe, the energy that informs all life. Together they form Taiji (a.k.a. Samadhi in the eight-fold path of yoga): a state of bliss through infinite potential and oneness. See picture to the left for the Taiji symbol.

As you can see from the picture, Yin (Black) and Yang (White) are not opposites, they are relative to one and other. Where you find Yin, Yang will be there and vice versa. 

Yin yoga postures, as created by founder Paulie Zink, are used to actualize the energetic and mystical attributes of various creatures and to stimulate the transformational properties of the five alchemical elements, thus enlivening and harmonizing these qualities within the body and animating the primal spirit that resides within us all. Integrating the power and healing aspects of these energies will help to balance emotions and put one into accord with the true nature of our being.


Traditional Yin Yoga founded by Paulie Zink stems from Hatha Yoga, Taoism philosophy, martial art, Qi Gong and observation of the natural environment. He underwent years of demanding training and esoteric disciplines which he mastered. He has taught thousands of classes since the 1970s, claimed three martial arts grand champions, choreographed routines for music videos and movies and featured in many magazines, articles and documentary programmes (e.g. BBC series “Jerry Hall’s Gurus”).

Elemental Flow and Yin Yoga are both sequences inspired by Paulie’s playful style of teaching that aim to rejuvenate students. Paulie taught me Yin Yoga as he intended it to be, finding Yang within Yin and Yin within Yang balancing the five natural elements. Incorporating continuous, smooth and circular motions that promotes ease, fluidity and grace in the body. Working with both static stretching and dynamic stretching, students are given the option to flow and pause depending on their energy level. 

In both Elemental Flow and Yin we will move in a circle and enhance our linear forward and backwards one direction movement in traditional Yoga. We will face all directions that represent the five natural elements and honour each every time we find our circular transition: east wood, south fire, west gold, north water, mother earth and father sky in the centre. 

Each week, we will focus on connecting and balancing the five natural elements in both Elemental Flow and Yin Yoga. These five natural elements correspond with the five elements that reside within our own body, fire, earth, metal, water and wood; heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys and liver. The two yoga classes are designed to follow the five element meridian pathway and complement each other. Elemental Flow balance wakens the awareness of all five elements and Yin focusing in depth on one particular element and the corresponding meridian pathway. For example, you might find water warrior challenging; in Yin, we would switch the focus to channelling the water element in our body which we are in excess of or craving for.  


What is the idea behind Elemental Flow?

Elemental Flow is designed with an emphasis on nature.

Students are invited to develop a connection to the five elements found within the environment and within the body. Finding harmony between humanity and nature so that we can both thrive. Allowing nature to connect us to a larger system where we can come to terms with what we cannot control and simply follow the order of nature. 

By following the order of nature, we are giving up our false sense of control that social media and consumer advertisement is constantly bombarding us with. Giving up the false sense of control over the weather, time, environment, sound, smell, other people, other vehicles, etc. When we give up these false senses of control, we give up our expectation and starting to look inwards with clarity over our behaviour, mindset, body and breath. 

Jacky teaches Elemental Flow & Yin on Wednesday evenings at Mitcham's Corner. Click here to get yourself booked in and see her other classes.

About the Author


Jacky Kuo

Like most of the people who come to a CAMYOGA class, Jacky started practicing yoga because something wasn’t feeling right (namely poor posture and stress). Despite her career in Psychology research there simply aren’t enough accessible solutions for better wellbeing other than a weekly evening Ashtanga Classes.

As a student and a yoga teacher, Jacky is passionate about dynamic and energetic practise that allow you to ‘empty’ your mind and focus on alignment that continue off the mat. Jacky received her BWY yoga foundation certificate in October 2013 with Cam Yoga and completed her Ashtanga Vinsayas Flow Teacher Training RYS 200hrs in February 2017 in India.


Three Questions: Rachael Moore

5738_756088144418888_1458938958_nThree Questions: Rachael Moore

What yoga teacher has had the most influence on you?

RACHAEL: I have been lucky enough to have met and been taught by some really amazing teachers over the last 16 years . Each one in their own way has had an impact not only in my own evolving practice but the way I develop as a teacher myself. I really do believe you are drawn to particular teachers/styles of yoga at certain times in your life that will enrich and evolve your practice as well as yourself as an individual. My very first yoga teacher was Camyoga's Iyengar teacher Karen Stamper. Karen had a huge impact on me as she was responsible for igniting this little flame in me that has lead me to where I am today. My first pregnancy teacher Francoise Freedman was also hugely influential in demonstrating to me just how powerful and transformative the practice of yoga could truly be. More recently, vinyasa flow teacher Claire Missingham and Beverley Nolan have continued to inspire me with their knowledge and passion for this beautiful, ever constant but evolving practice.

Which is your least favourite yoga pose?

RACHAEL: Hmmm, tricky! I think that actually depends on whats going on for me at the time and as cliche as it sounds, the ones you don't particularly enjoy are usually the ones that can offer you the most ! Core strengthening poses are always challenging for me, as are arm balances for the simple reason that they are hard work and extremely humbling!! However, the flip side of that is that there is always somewhere to be aiming for, to keep you interested and switched on to the sensations in your body as they arise. It is a constant voyage of discovery so whats not to like!

What is the best way to build up strength for chaturanga? I find lowering down slowly really difficult as my arms are quite weak.?

RACHAEL: Chaturanga is a really strong demanding pose and although visited frequently in a flow class is often not 'taught' in a step by step way. To avoid injury, Chaturanga demands huge core and upper body strength as well as careful attention to alignment. Whilst building up towards the full pose, there are a few ways of building the upper body strength required. One way is to practice against the wall. Stand a few feet away, arms level with the chest. Slowly lower toward the wall, bending the elbows so the forearms are at a right angle and the forehead comes to the wall. Hold for a breath (or two!) and then slowly press back. Gradually build up the number of times you can comfortably repeat this. Other ways to build the necessary strength is to come to plank and before lowering, lower the knees to the ground before lowering your body or come to the knees, chest and chin variation both of which develop your strength and awareness of alignment. Dolphin (forearm dog) and forearm plank are also great for building core and upper body strength. In terms of your alignment, always ensure your wrists are in line with your shoulders and never 'behind' as this can cause huge stress in the wrist joint.

Rachael Moore teaches Yoga Flow, Pregnancy Yoga, and Active Birth at Camyoga. Click here to view her weekly classes and here for details of her next Active Birth Workshop.

Focus On: Yoga Flow

We are all very fortunate to live in a world where yoga is immensely popular, in fact increasingly so, but to the beginner it's hard to know where to start when there are so many forms, styles and lineages to choose from. Our brand new Focus on: guides are designed to help you to choose the style of yoga that is right for you. We hope you find them both interesting and informative! First up, Yoga Flow...

1343368805_419850589_1-yoga-classes-at-home-for-women-Jubilee-Hills Yoga Flow (also known as 'vinyasa flow') is an elegant, dynamic style of yoga, derived from Ashtanga Yoga, which emphasises the synchronisation of mind, body and breath. In fact, the Sanskrit word for 'vinyasa' is often translated as "connection". Intelligent and creative sequencing will lead you safely towards a different 'peak' posture every time. Pace varies from teacher to teacher but expect to work hard and get hot, using ujjayi breath ("ocean breathing" - inhaling and exhaling through the nose, creating a rasping sound in the throat) to support your practice.

The term 'vinyasa' is also used to describe the sequence of poses that are performed between Downward Facing Dogs as part of a Sun Salutation sequence.

Yoga Flow classes typically involve repetitions of Sun Salutations, with Downward Facing Dog used as a resting pose throughout the class. Most teachers will offer a variety of levels to suit different bodies and abilities, encouraging those who feel tired or pushed beyond their limits to rest in Child's Pose. Due to the fast pace of most Yoga Flow classes, they aren't recommended for beginners. Make sure that you have a few months of yoga under your belt first, along with a reasonable level of fitness.

Click here to view our class schedule.

GREAT FOR: strength, fitness, weight loss, energising, flexibility

On Balance Hermione Fairbairn

Hermione Fairbairn: On Balance


Finding balance is central to Yoga in the same way it is central to fulfilled and happy lifestyle. 'Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony' (Thomas Merton).'

However, in the same way that finding balance in life is not a static achievement, in yoga you are also continually working at balancing not on the one-off achievement of being balanced. This is constant process of regulating, reconfiguring and adapting. Working with this ongoing and constantly changing process (not against it) is essential to any success. Let each pose be a balance of effort and engagement, and softness and grace (Sthira Sukham Asanam). Find focus, relax into it then equally importantly, embrace falling and get back up...this works for life too!

Just observe how wobbling strikes the ego and draws you instantly away from your inward focus altering your mode of mind towards criticism and comparison. It feels very public, and we are quick to direct judgement. 'Why can't I do it like I did it last week?', 'What's wrong with me today?'. The point however is...'Simply to be with yourself, however you are in that moment. To smile, breathe and go slowly' (Thich Nhat Hanh).

In life, we need to mindfully and graciously accept that things change, we have a part to play in how things unfold but not control. Finding ts state of balance at any one time is not a 'forever' state. We need to let go and accept that things can't always be the way you want them to be. In more practical terms, perhaps the aim of arriving somewhere obtainable, livable and lasting is more likely to be a workable balance.

A further challenge is to balance the doing with the being. Without this, life easily gets unsteady. Taking time to be attentive, sense and really feel, has been shown to really help balance our mental state.

In our own Yoga practice, balancing on the mat helps us deal with challenges and setbacks off the mat, to bounce (or to balance!) back. This is where the real yoga begins. Hermione Fairbairn




Hermione Fairbairn teaches Yoga Flow at Camyoga. Her classes incorporate a Jivamukti flavour, elements of mindfulness practice and an eclectic soundtrack. Hermione is currently on maternity leave, but to discover Yoga Flow at Camyoga, click here to view our full schedule.


Flow Focus: Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

Camilla Explores Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

In my classes this month, I have quoted from the works of Patanjali, written around 2 000 years ago.  No one knows much about Patanjali. Some believe the Yoga Sutras attributed to him, a collection of wise sayings, were passed down from yogis living in isolation from society, through the generations until eventually recorded in writing. Others say they were created by this one person known as Patanjali. Whatever the case, it is an important philosophical text that can add a little wisdom to our lives today. Below are some lines significant to me. But if you read this book (which is so short you could do it in half an hour), you will no doubt find other parts of significance to you.

"By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness" - Book 1, Sutra 33

Take from these words your own interpretation, relevant to your own perspective. To me, it is about finding a good way to be a part of this world. Who we associate with has a subtle yet strong effect on our own being. Bringing the more positive aspects of our lives into the foreground strengthens us to become part of a constructive community.

"Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness." - Book 1, Sutra 14.

This is what we are all aiming for, to get on our mats, starting little and often and building gradually, until our practice becomes a natural part of our being.

"Wherever we go we reflect our happiness onto people and things. When we see a smiling face and feel happy, it is because the smiling face reflects our happiness. Just as a pure, clean mirror reflects our face beautifully, certain pure, clean faces reflect our happiness …can only reflect or distort our own inner happiness." - Book 1

Sometimes we might blame others for the way we feel and allow terrible experiences of the past to taint us. Sometimes we need to talk through what happened in an appropriate way in order to process it properly in our minds. But once all has been done that can be, there comes a time when we need to let go, realising that the pain we carry inside is merely allowing that injustice to continue harming our own self. If we want to be happy, there comes a day when we have to let bitterness and anger go and without forgetting, move on to find something better with which to fill our hearts.

Chitta vritti nirodhah

"Modifications of the mindstuff is yoga." - Book 1, Sutra 2

In other words, yoga can bring you back to that calm state of mind. Use your time on your mat to re-boot your physical, nervous and emotional systems. Breathe to aerate your mind, ridding that chitta (mind chatter) and drawing into a one-pointed state of mind. Connect with your physicality, enjoy making shapes and breathing into them. Then rise from relaxation renewed, re-charged and ready to contribute to this world in a more effective and decisive way. Camilla Leyland


Camilla Leyland teaches Yoga Flow, Beginner's Yoga and our monthly Family Yoga class at Camyoga.

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