I could not think of a better class to start my Winter Solstice 90 days with than a kidney sequence with Sarah Powers. I consider Sarah Powers to be one of my teachers, even though I have only practiced with her in person TWICE! She came to Virginia and I followed her from Richmond to Yogaville. But this is the power of media and why we created iHanuman. I can bring her into my living room as if she is giving me a private lesson and I really needed to hear what she had to me tell last night. Winter time is Kidney time in the Chinese Medical Tradition. Kidneys govern the water element, which is interesting because we can get SO dried out in the winter time. By nourishing our Kidney Essence, we nourish our water element; our blood, joints and the "juiciness of our bones". We also address issues we have with fear. Fear is the emotion associated with the Kidneys. This is why backbends are very scary for some people most of the time and most people some of the time. We will continue to discuss the Kidneys throughout the Winter Season, but Cora Wen provides some details here.
Yin Poses are different than traditional Yoga Poses because you let go of your muscular effort to begin to effect the connective tissues in the body. By reaching the connective tissue, the idea is that you are accessing the deeper meridians in the body which follow these tissues. So we concentrated on the Kidney Meridian as well as the sister meridian to the Kidney, the Urinary Bladder Meridian. The pose sequence was
It was an hour of kidney bliss.
Here is a video of another yin yoga pioneer, Paul Grilley, describing how Yin Yoga Works
Here is a sample of Sarah Powers teaching Yin Yoga