Exploring Yin Yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine Concepts with Stefanie Arend

[The Intentional Clinician Episode 47]

Paul Krauss MA LPC interviews Stefanie Arend about her work teaching Yin Yoga throughout Europe and the world (via the internet). Before practicing yoga, Stefanie studied a variety of languages. After having children, she was prompted to learn yoga and realized that she wanted to be more involved in holistic living through yoga and nutrition. Her teachings, DVDs, and books have become renowned throughout the world, and she continues to teach electronically from her home in Germany.

Paul has noticed that in recent years yoga has become popular in the United States. Yoga studios are common in urban areas, but not many people are familiar with Yin Yoga. Stefanie reveals that Yin Yoga is different from other types of yoga in that it is more passive and balanced. This type of yoga helped Stefanie heal from chronic pain compared to other versions.

While many people have heard of the concepts of “yin and yang,” not many people are aware of how it relates to yoga. Muscles are more yang, on the surface, and fascia is more yin, deeper in the body. Unchecked yang yoga can cause physical problems, so Stefanie stresses the importance of being sensitive to your body and balancing your practice with Yin Yoga.

Yin Yoga also promotes patience, something not usually practiced in the United States. Our experiences are stored in our bodies, so it is important to heal from the inside out rather than “thinking” our way out of things which we tend to do. Instead of trying to quickly overcome, we need to learn patience to accept and heal ourselves.

This type of practice can be even more beneficial than mindfulness meditation alone as it affects the body and mind. Yin Yoga taps into some of the healing that our body naturally does. Similar to acupuncture, Yin Yoga balances our energy. Although it is not the best treatment for medical emergencies and certain diseases, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is helpful for healing the root cause or problems rather than treating symptoms. If we start to think about our health from a more holistic perspective, we will be more healthy over time. It may be a longer process than Western medicine, but TCM and Yin Yoga have no negative side effects–it is worth a try! If more people were intentionally getting involved in Yin Yoga and other TCM practices, we might have a more healthy society.

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