“I was such an awkward weirdo at 11, but I was really really flexible.”
What is yin yoga?
Yin is a really simple vocabulary. There are only 12 archetypal poses. It’s a slower-paced type of yoga inspired by traditional Chinese medicine beliefs. Everyone is believed to possess Qi (energy pathways); holding longer poses allows these pathways to open up and flow more freely. In Reesie’s yoga class, “[she] sets the timer for 5 minutes at a time and you sit there as relaxed as you can be. The goal is to target your fascia, allowing it to slowly release and open up.”
In this episode, SWA head yoga teacher, Reesie Richards, describes her background and introduction to body movement, which centers around dance and yoga. Since age 16 she practiced yoga and learned with Paul Greeley, the “creator” of Yin yoga. She chats about the differences between Yin and restorative yoga and how she caters her yoga practice specifically to surfers at SWA retreats. Reesie’s yoga offers a space for all to experience freedom of expression. It is a hilarious and entertaining blend of relaxation and education about bodily functions. She emphasizes functional vs. aesthetic yoga, and the idea that different bodies are bound to move in varying ways.
A PREVIEW OF THIS EPISODE:
“Being a yoga teacher isn’t so much of how I identify myself. I would go more towards, I’m a surfer or a dancer or a goofball. Again that’s part of the beauty of how yoga has been this awesome vehicle in the backdrop my whole life. It’s sort of sexy indifference on my part. It’s not the thing I care about the most, as much as that feels wrong to admit.”
Reesie’s yoga practice initially came from dance. One of her favorite forms of dance growing up was capoeira,
“A hodgepodge of African influences brought to Brazil by africans during the slave trade. They weren’t allowed to have any sort of self defense, so they disguised martial arts through ritual and dance and it’s an art and so many things, it’s like a chess game.”
Dance, capoeira and surf have always been the things I’ve been obsessed with. But those things have always come in and out, yoga has been the silent rock in the background of my physical life that has been keeping me safe, sane and healthy.
My dance teacher’s husband was Paul Greeley, the “creator” of Yin Yoga. He kind of invented how it is in today’s world. He got the form of the long yin poses from this super out-there guy Paulie Zinc, who’s a martial artist who Paul used to practice with. I started taking his classes when I was 16.
After an hour of Yin Yoga with Reesie,
You feel really grounded because you’ve had an hour with yourself. Mentally you get really calm, your breath slows down. At the end of class you’ll find you’re breathing super shallow and slow. I don’t exactly know how to describe how sparkly the feeling is.