Posts tagged yoga
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.


Pranayama Series - Coming Soon

We are often told during class how important the breath is in yoga, and will usually practice pranayama exercises during class especially at the beginning and end. But what is pranayama and why do we do it?

During this series of blog posts we will be exploring the most commonly practiced pranayama (breathing) exercises - the ones that are most likely to pop-up in your classes. We will discover how, what and why, contraindications and benefits of these practices.

Prana = Life force/Energy
Yama = Regulate/Lengthen

Prana translates into “life force energy” and Yama translates into “control or mastery of.” Thus, Pranayama is used to control, cultivate, and modify the Prana in the body.

Prana is taken in through the air we breathe, and since the pranayama exercises increase the amount of air we take in, they also increase our intake of Prana.

Look out for the series of blog posts coming soon. Let us know if there is a particular pranayama practice that you’d like us to cover.

Note: When learning new breathing techniques, it is common for people to feel light headed or dizzy. If this happens, stop for a few moments and then resume. After your body becomes accustomed to the change in flow of oxygen, the dizziness will no longer occur.

My Broga® Experience by Iir Prihatinawati
iir prihatinawati

iir prihatinawati

When I signed myself up for a free taster of Broga® at CAMYOGA, I didn’t even read which type of yoga I was about to take. I am new in Cambridge - I moved here from Indonesia in August. I have practiced yoga since I was a child - I am a registered vinyasa teacher, and mostly practice yoga at home - so I was excited to get to the studio and have a guided practice.

When I arrived, and a lady told me in the changing room what class I was about to take, I wasn’t sure what to expect...

You know, surprises always come to greet you in the most unexpected corners... I loved it!

Yes, it was mostly men in the class, yes we did heck of a load of high/low planks, either into or from chaturanga or downward facing dog, and yes I was sweating. A lot!

I know what you think, this yoga might be only suitable for the very athletic or experienced practitioners, but to be honest it is not! Let me explain why.

Firstly, the poses were dead simple. Having practiced yoga for over half of my life, I’ve had my time of working to get into the 'fancy poses' - undervaluing these simple poses. But more recently, I’ve started to take notice of the simple things, to find the grace in anything and everything. This was the beauty of the practice.

So, if the poses were dead simple, how did I get my kick from the practice?

These simple poses were repeated over and over again with controlled ujjayi breath throughout - once you’ve done 7 or 8 repetitions of a low and slow chaturanga you start feeling muscles you never knew you had.

The practice really prompted me to be mindful of my own body and muscles. For example: try to come to downward dog, then plank, slide slowly into your low chaturanga and press up to plank and downward dog again, repeat 8 times slowly. Now try it again with one legged dog, one legged plank and so on... Now you know what I mean!

I think I may have read your mind - it sounds scary right?! Don’t worry the teacher, Liz, is very nice and knowledgable and will offer options and modifications for you to work with at at your stage, wherever you are in your yoga journey.

I know you will feel that there are eyes watching what you are doing, pressuring you to do the full pose although deep down you feel that you are not ready yet. Hang on a minute. No one is watching you as each of us is sweating like crazy and trying to keep doing what we are doing with our own perfection, we don’t have time to watch other people! Moreover yoga is not about comparing yourself with other people! Yoga is your journey within. No judgement. Every body is different! Do what is best for you, enjoy the learning, focus within.

Happy practicing and Namaste!

- Iir Prihatinawati

About the Author  Iir Prihatinawati is a registered yoga teacher (RYT200) at Yoga Alliance UK and has just moved to Cambridge from Indonesia. She has been learning yoga since childhood but it became a regular practice for her after her first pregnancy, and has been hooked on vinyasa and ashtanga ever since. You can find out more about Iir on her  website .

About the Author

Iir Prihatinawati is a registered yoga teacher (RYT200) at Yoga Alliance UK and has just moved to Cambridge from Indonesia. She has been learning yoga since childhood but it became a regular practice for her after her first pregnancy, and has been hooked on vinyasa and ashtanga ever since. You can find out more about Iir on her website.

Broga® classes are held on Tuesday evenings, 17.00 at the CAMYOGA Cambridge Central Studio.

Check out our schedule to book.

Chanting - The Sound of Yoga

Contrary to belief, Yoga is not just about flexibility and postures. Chanting and mantra recitation have accompanied yoga practices for thousands of years. So, what benefits can chanting bring? silent om chanting

  • Your energy increases and your mind becomes sharper
  • A study by Dr Alan Watkins [senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London] showed that while chanting, our blood pressure and heart rate drop to its lowest in the day. Doctors say that even listening to chants normalises brain wave patterns, adrenalin levels and lowers cholesterol levels.
  • You feel vibrant and flowing with creative ideas
  • You gradually become more in tune with every thing in life
  • Neuro-scientist Marian Diamond from the University of California found that chanting helps block the release of stress hormones and increases immune function. It also keeps our muscles and joints flexible for a long time
  • Chanting can build your confidence and releases your inhibitions
  • Chanting is fun, easy and always available to you (and hey, it’s free!)
  • Using chants as part of our exercise regimen, helps facilitate movement and flow of the body during exercise
  • Chanting removes blocks and connects us directly to the heart, leading us to experience a natural harmony with the world around us

The overall experience is like a meditation with voice. You will leave feeling free, energized, uplifted and joyful for the day, week or weekend ahead.

If you're keen to give it a go, why not try one of our chanting workshops this June, there are three to choose from. Maybe you'll even become addicted and want to take them all :-)

Nada Yoga - the yoga of sound Kirtan! Chanting from the heart  Chant Your Life! with Nikki Slade


Airport Yoga Is Taking Off

Travelling can be extremely stressful at times, can’t it? By the time you’ve packed, sorted out all your documents, itinerary, accommodation, found someone to look after your pets and water your plants, and finally rushed to the airport (fingers crossed there’s no traffic!)… here you are, about to embark on your trip. Not exactly a stress-free way to start a day or holiday, let alone a business trip. And, by this time, you haven’t even had to deal with check-in queues, security, passport control and sitting in cramped seats for hours. Given how exhausting air travel can be, it seems obvious why more and more airports are taking to the idea of airport yoga with a dedicated space. After all, yoga is known to be relaxing. There are several good reasons why airport yoga is a great idea, here’s a list of a few:

  • The muscle stretching encouraged by yoga postures is a good way to cool down after walking, or other aerobic conditioning, while deep breathing and meditation also help;
  • It can help manage stress;
  • Space devoted to relaxation allows you to take time to unwind and stretch before and between flights and enjoy a calm, quiet space;
  • It gets your circulation going after remaining inactive during long flights;
  • Last, but not least, yoga not only benefits your body but also your mind.

If you are already into yoga or thinking of taking it up as a practice, you may be interested to know that recent studies published by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology also indicate that continuous yoga practice lowers heart disease risk as much as conventional exercise, which, in turn, lowers cholesterol. This way you can keep up your practice even when travelling, so what’s not to love?

Furthermore, Statistics Canada estimates that the number of global yoga practitioners is as high as 250 million, with 2.5 million in the UK alone. With such high numbers, many argue that if smokers have their own designated area, why shouldn’t yogis?

So, which airports offer these yoga rooms? This is a brief, and by no means comprehensive, list but it will give you a bit of an overview.

SFO International Airport San Francisco, California Terminal 2 This is the world's first airport yoga

DFW International Airport Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Hallway between Terminal B and D

BTV International Airport Burlington, Vermont Level Two

ABQ International Sunport Albuquerque, New Mexico Level One

RDU International Airport Morrisville, North Carolina Terminal 2

HEL International Airport Helsinki, Finland ORD Chicago O’Hare International Airport Chicago, Illinois Mezzanine Level of the Terminal 3 Rotunda; near the Urban Garden

LHR London Heathrow Airport London, UK (coming soon)

Tip: if your airport doesn’t offer a yoga room, you can still benefit from some mindfulness. Simply download the Head Space, Insight Timer or Happiness App (just to name a few; there are many more out there).

Safe travels!