Yoga Exercises

Meet Your Next Teacher: Colleen Saidman Yee

“My least favorite thing in the world is having to make a decision,” says veteran yoga instructor Colleen Saidman Yee. “I’m afraid that I’ll make the wrong one, suffer regret, and have to pay unpleasant consequences.” Still, via asana, Saidman Yee has created a path towards freedom from that worry—a course of that includes tapping into her instinct by way of restorative yoga poses. “I realize that if I slow down and use these subtle practices to find a deep sense of relaxation, that a lot of what I’m searching for bubbles to the surface,” she says.

Here, study extra about Saidman Yee, develop a greater connection together with your instinct, and work via your personal indecision. Her unique mild sequence serves that will help you discover your personal approach. It additionally supplies a sneak peek into her new Yoga Journal Master Class workshop on restorative yoga, which launches on-line this month.

In 1984, my next-door neighbor—who was into all types of “weird” stuff like yoga, journaling, and meditation—made it her mission to get me to yoga class. She nagged me for months till I begrudgingly agreed. (I’m positive that there was some type of commerce or bribe concerned, however I can’t keep in mind precisely what it was.)

I assumed that I might be guffawing in any respect these foolish individuals who believed there was one thing mysterious and magical about “stretching.” I think about myself to be a pragmatist, and had all the time envisioned yoga as a cult and the bodily exercise a joke. OK, properly, I used to be mistaken. The class kicked my ass and humbled me. The feeling and expertise have been each magical and mysterious and—dare I say it?—religious. My senses have been clear, my thoughts was current, and I had an awesome sense of contentment that I hadn’t felt since I used to be an adolescent. I keep in mind strolling out onto Broadway in New York City, which I had walked down lots of of occasions, however the readability of the colour, sounds, and smells have been a lot extra crisp. It is from this readability and rest that selections develop into much less dramatic. Yoga ultimately turned my information again house to myself.

I’m one in every of seven youngsters, and rising up, the primary emphasis in our home was on schooling. My brothers and sister all went on to get masters levels and PhDs, and most are working in schooling. I used to be on the identical trajectory, an A+ scholar in highschool, however all of that modified on July four, 1974, with screeching tires: I used to be run over by a automotive and suffered extreme head trauma that left me unable to recollect or course of info the best way I had earlier than. I began utilizing medicine and exercise to beat up my physique, as a result of the distractions of a excessive or bodily ache have been a lot much less intense than my emotions of inadequacy have been.

By the time I began yoga, I had already given up medicine, however the angst that was the impetus to start out doing them was nonetheless there. As I stored returning to class, yoga began to deal with my deeper frustrations. It demanded that I sit with what I’d spent the earlier decade operating away from and masking up. Yoga has introduced me to a spot of loving my physique and embracing my capabilities, and I consider that the apply has actually rewired my mind.
I nonetheless have moments of feeling that I don’t add up, however I can discover the place that’s saved internally and dive into these locations with asana, meditation, and breath work, and watch them lose their maintain on me. This yoga stuff is sort of miraculous.

Teaching yoga was by no means a objective or perhaps a determination. But in 1997, once I was three-fourths of my approach via the teacher-training program at Jivamukti Yoga, I knowledgeable Sharon [Gannon] and David [Life]—who run the studio—that I had no intention of educating. I gave them an inventory of explanation why: I’m not a born instructor, I’m epileptic, I’m tone deaf (chanting is an enormous a part of their lineage), I’m afraid of public talking, and so forth. They nodded and listened, and as quickly as I’d walked out of the studio, Sharon referred to as me and stated I used to be going to sub for her in three hours, that the category was bought out, and that she can be one of many college students. Well, I did it, and now right here I’m nonetheless educating 20 years later.

I’ve all the time been an enormous fan of Savasana (Corpse Pose). I don’t assume that I had one specific aha second that made me determine to show restorative yoga, however my love affair with restorative poses has grown through the years. It began with educating a restorative pose on the finish of my courses at my studio, Yoga Shanti (in New York). Then, about 10 years in the past,
I began educating complete courses devoted to restorative poses. They are mind- and nervous-system altering. I feel my age has one thing to do with my love of propping the physique and dropping in deeper and deeper. These poses quiet the psychological chatter that’s nonstop—relaying all types of conflicting info, tales, and attainable outcomes. When we arrange rigorously in a restorative pose, the breath turns into straightforward and the physique relaxes in order that it doesn’t resist. The nervous system quiets down, and deep listening turns into attainable. Clarity rises and worry dissipates.

We have to befriend, and take heed to, the knowledge of the physique. With yoga, I’ve developed a ardour for exploring feelings and a way for liberating my physique of the bondage brought on by years of making an attempt to guard myself. A intestine response is a window into instinct, however many people have turn out to be deaf to what our intestine is telling us. Sometimes we need to deny the reality of a state of affairs as a result of we don’t belief ourselves, or we would like another person to make the choice, or we simply plain don’t need to cope with the upheaval that would ensue. Or perhaps we actually have damaging emotions about our bellies due to what society has informed us they need to appear to be, and that space of the physique has develop into onerous, ignored, and shut down. Viscerally understanding and feeling the consequences of restorative poses and breath work has been a recreation changer for me. You get in contact with what your intestine is telling you, and also you understand that you simply did the perfect you might; you cease beating your self up with would-haves, should-haves, and could-haves, as a result of that’s such a ineffective power drain.

There are so many various restorative setups and poses that may profit most circumstances. Some of them must be achieved progressively. For occasion, if somebody is gloomy, I wouldn’t need to put them in a restorative backbend proper off the bat as a result of energetically it might be like taking a glass out of the freezer and placing it into the oven. Instead, I’d ease them into three or 4 different poses constructing as much as that backbend.When my daughters have menstrual cramps, I set them up in Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose). A supported side-lying place is sweet for nausea. Roll onto your aspect, place blankets between your decrease legs, and one beneath your head. Place a candle, a photograph, or flowers close by to take a look at. You can turn out to be very nonetheless right here. Keeping your eyes open and taking a look at a stationary object helps ease the spinning high quality of nausea and offers orientation. A Savasana (Corpse Pose) with weights, like sandbags, positioned in your physique is useful when feeling ungrounded. There’s no finish to the advantages of restorative yoga. Each setup is designed for optimum rest and respiration that may deliver you consolation.

My hope is that yoga will sometime be on the bedside of each hospital affected person and that each health care skilled will use it for self-care. Ten years in the past, I began the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program with Donna Karan and my husband, Rodney. Our aim has been to place the “care” again in health care. It’s a program for self-care that additionally gives training for health care professionals and yoga academics who need to help affected person recoveries via yoga. Urban Zen Integrative Therapy teaches you easy methods to apply yogic methods when taking care of your self or your sufferers. It didn’t encourage fast buy-in, however we stored pounding the pavement, and now the doorways are springing open. Our hope is that quickly all establishments resembling faculties, firms, prisons, abuse facilities, and rehab facilities will supply yoga courses.

Yoga Journal’s new on-line Master Class program brings the knowledge of world-renowned academics to your home-practice area, providing entry to unique workshops with a unique grasp instructor each six weeks. This month, Colleen Saidman Yee teaches a mild and restorative asana class for overcoming roadblocks (like exhaustion, low vanity, and nervousness) to succeed in your true potential. If you’re able to get a recent perspective and perhaps even meet a lifelong yoga mentor, sign up for YJ’s yearlong membership.


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