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Who Owns Yin Yoga?

 
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1021
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:38 am    Post subject: Who Owns Yin Yoga? Reply with quote

Who Owns Yin Yoga?

A question that I am often asked is "do I need to be authorized or certified in order to teach Yin Yoga?" Sometimes this question comes from someone who has not yet received her 200 hour basic Yoga Teacher Training Certification, and she is wondering if teaching Yin Yoga requires such a background. Other times the question comes from someone who noticed on Paulie Zink's website that he has not authorized anyone else to certify Yin Yoga teachers. And sometimes the question is raised by a student who has taken a Yin Yoga class, but the class was nothing like the Yin Yoga she was expecting. If we were to summarize the confusion, it revolves around 2 questions:

    1) What is Yin Yoga?
    2) Who is allowed to teach it?

The practice that today is commonly called Yin Yoga was developed by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers in the 1990's. [For more on the history of Yin Yoga, both ancient and modern, see the section of YinSights called Original Yin.] As Paul described in his 2002 book Yin Yoga, "The Yin aspect of Yoga (using postures that stretch connective tissues) is vital for a balanced approach to physical and mental health." He further explains, "Yin postures should be done with the muscles relaxed and be held for a long time." However, Paul also explains in his website, "Yin is an adjective, not a noun. If you believe the style you teach is best described as 'yin' you do not need my permission to call it that." Herein we find one source of some of the above confusion: the word 'yin' is an adjective and anybody can freely use this term to describe his or her practice. Yin and yang exist in complementary roles: a softer practice is yin compared to a hard practice, and even a hot room can be yin-like compared to a much hotter room. Indeed, the USA Trademark Office has decreed that a descriptive term (like Yin Yoga) cannot be trademarked --- no one can own the phrase 'Yin Yoga', thus anyone can use it.

While anyone could describe their yoga practice as Yin Yoga, it is also true to say that since the late 1990's the practice commonly known as Yin Yoga, as offered in thousands of yoga studios around the world, is the practice originally developed and popularized by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers, as described in their various writings, books, audio and video tapes, DVDs and online practices. To avoid confusion for the rest of this article, I will refer to the style of Yin Yoga developed by Paul Grilley as Yin Yoga[G]. This will be a useful distinction, because in 2009 Paulie Zink, with whom Paul Grilley had studied once a week for about a year in 1989, began to describe his practice as Yin Yoga. We will refer to Paulie's practice as Yin Yoga[Z].

What are the differences between Yin Yoga[G] and Yin Yoga[Z]? Yin Yoga[G] was the term Paul and Sarah used to differentiate their practice from the Taoist Yoga practice being offered by Paulie Zink. Paulie Zink, in his website, gave Sarah Powers credit for coining the term Yin Yoga. At this time, in 2003, Paulie described his practice as Taoist Yoga, which he defined as follows:

    "Taoist Yoga is a form of Chi Kung, an ancient Chinese system comprised of various techniques for cultivating and directing vital energy known as chi or prana. The style of yoga taught by Master Zink was originally developed by Taoist priests in Northern China for maintaining physical vigor and mental clarity."

Paulie said that "he ... has been the primary Taoist Yoga teacher for Paul Grilley." Remember, the reason that Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers began to call their practice Yin Yoga was to differentiate it from Paulie's teaching: they didn't want their students to think that by attending their classes they would be receiving Paulie's Taoist Yoga teaching. By having two separate names for these two different practices, students would not be confused as to what they were going to be taught. Paulie also, at that time, differentiated what Paul was offering from his own teachings. He said on his web site,

    "Master Zink was the Taoist yoga instructor for teacher Paul Grilley, who went on to develop a derivitive [sic] he calls Yin yoga."

Even as late as 2006, Paulie continued to acknowledge the difference between his Taoist Yoga practice and Yin Yoga. At that time his web site had a link to www.YinYoga.com that it said was

    "A great resource for Canadian and US Yin Yoga enthusiasts. You will find a directory of Yin Yoga instructors and information on upcoming events by popular masters of the art..."

By September of 2008, in an article on Taoist Yoga, Paulie again describe his practice: "Mine is more of a yin and yang combination of hard and soft movements and flow." But, by December of that year, Paulie began to change the name of his practice from Taoist Yoga, as it had been called since the time in 1989 when Paul studied with Paulie, to "Yin and Yang Yoga." In the following months his website gave a very clear definition of what Yin and Yang Yoga was. It included

    Yin Yoga
    Yang Yoga
    Taoist Flow Yoga
    Taoist Alchemy
    Chi Kung

In April of 2009 Paulie explained, "Yin Yoga is the first level of Paulie Zink's Taoist Yoga".He stated,

    "Paul Grilley studied Taoist Yoga with Master Zink for about a year in the late 1980s. Grilley taught the basics he learned about Taoist Yoga to Sarah Powers. Sarah began teaching what she learned from Grilley and changed the name to Yin Yoga. Grilley also incorporates his own philosophy and theories and those that he learned from his studies with Dr. Motoyama into his teachings. In order to avoid confusion Master Zink now refers to his Taoist art of yoga as Yin and Yang yoga."

Paulie's renaming of his practice was not over. By April of 2011, he began calling his practice simply 'Yin Yoga.' However, his definition of his practice remained exactly the same as it had always been. Paulie's practice of Yin Yoga[Z] still consists of

    Yin Yoga
    Yang Yoga
    Taoist Flow Yoga
    Taoist Alchemy
    Chi Kung

With his rebranding of Taoist Yoga as Yin Yoga[Z], Paulie then added this claim to his website, "I have not authorized any other person or school to offer Teacher Certification in Yin yoga." But clearly this is not Yin Yoga[G], but Yin Yoga[Z]. These two practices remain quite distinct, although they now share the same name.

So, now we come back to our original question: who is authorized to teach Yin Yoga? If we refer to Yin Yoga[Z] as defined and developed by Paulie Zink, clearly Paulie is the one to seek out for training in this particular style of Taoist Yoga. However, if you are seeking training in Yin Yoga[G], you would be best advised to seek out Paul Grilley, Sarah Powers, or a teacher taught by them or in this lineage.

Remember, no authorization is needed to teach Yin Yoga[G]. Paul has allowed Yin Yoga[G] to be an open source practice that anyone can contribute to and modify. However, it is prudent to have the requisite experience in Yin Yoga[G] before sharing it with others.

And this brings us back to another earlier question: can someone who has no yoga teacher training experience teach Yin Yoga? Highly unlikely! Think of it like this --- as a student, would you take piano lessons from someone who has never played piano before? How much experience as a player and a teacher would you want your piano teacher to have before you decided to study with her? 50 hours? 200 hours? 1,000 hours? Clearly, the more the better, but there is a prerequisite amount of knowledge anyone must have before they can teach others.

Today, in the yoga world, the basic level of prerequisite is at least a 200-hour teacher training program. Without that basic level of training, it would be very difficult to find an insurance company willing to insure you as a teacher. Yin Yoga[G] teacher training (YYTT) programs are becoming more common, popular and available, but all of them focus on teaching Yin Yoga[G], not the basic teachings of yoga. Said another way, these YYTT do not teach one how to teach yoga, but if you are already a yoga teacher they will teach you had to add Yin Yoga[G] to your repertoire. This does not mean that a non-yoga teacher cannot attend a YYTT: they can and many do, but a YYTT will not turn a non-yoga teacher into a yoga teacher. These courses are not designed to do that.

Let's return to our original question: who owns Yin Yoga? If you are referring to the Taoist Yoga style that Paulie Zink is today calling Yin Yoga[Z], Paulie Zink claims ownership. If you are asking who owns YinYoga[G] - you do!

Now, what are you going to do with it?
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1021
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:20 am    Post subject: Who Owns Yoga? Reply with quote

Leslie Kaminoff has an article addressing the broader question of Who owns yoga? In his view, ownership implies invention, but no one invented yoga - yoga was discovered.

Just as no one invented gravity or any other force of nature, "Yoga is an eternal, inherent attribute of nature that reveals itself as the tendency of living systems to seek equilibrium." How can anyone claim to have invented that? Certainly, many people have described yoga, just as Newton described the laws of gravity, but Newton did not invent gravity. Anyone can use gravity in whatever way works for them. And the same with yoga: it is available for everyone to use regardless of who first observed its nature.
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Sergie



Joined: 15 Dec 2015
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am very interested in this topic. Smile I live in Russia, where I teach yoga. My yoga training is in Iyengar style. Some time ago I discovered yin yoga for myself through Paul Grilleys DVDs, book and articles, and Bernie's book and videos. There are no yin yoga classes around, and no teachers training available. However, since I am enjoying yin yoga so much, I am considering to eventually include it into my teaching to make it available for others. As far as I understood this topic, I can just go ahead, am I right? Smile
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1021
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are essentially correct: there is no certifying body for Yin Yoga, so you can call what you teach Yin Yoga if you like. However, this does not mean that when someone calls themselves a Yin Yoga teacher, they automatically are trained and knowledgeable in the style of Yin Yoga developed by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Ultimately, the students will be the arbitrators of the teacher's quality.

I can sympathize that it is hard to get training in Yin Yoga in Russia. So, you will have to do the best you can with the resources that are available.

Good luck!
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Sergie



Joined: 15 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you!
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Siger



Joined: 19 Sep 2016
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bernie wrote:
You are essentially correct: there is no certifying body for Yin Yoga, so you can call what you teach Yin Yoga if you like. However, this does not mean that when someone calls themselves a Yin Yoga teacher, they should buy dianabol automatically are trained and knowledgeable in the style of Yin Yoga developed by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Ultimately, the students will be the arbitrators of the teacher's quality.

I can sympathize that it is hard to get training in Yin Yoga in Russia. So, you will have to do the best you can with the resources that are available.

Good luck!


This is why it would be great if there was a certification program set up. Then maybe you could license out Yin Yoga around the world.
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toaster



Joined: 02 Nov 2016
Posts: 16
Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that this thread is several years old, but it made me wonder - are there any online certifications in yin yoga? I love this style and have read many books about it, but I'm hesitant to teach in on a regular basis (I have subbed yin classes on occasion and work yin poses into my basics classes) without having further training. I know that in-person in best, but my full-time work schedule makes that very difficult, and I don't think that there are any programs in my area (Rochester NY; not close to NYC).
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1021
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:22 am    Post subject: Online Yin Yoga courses Reply with quote

I do offer an 8-hour online course via Yoga International. It is called Yin Yoga for Your Body. You do get a certificate for completing the course, but this is not a certification for teaching. I do not know of any 200 hour online Yin Yoga courses but there are a few other shorter online offerings such as Josh Summer's Yin Yoga 101. You can also find several other offerings via the Facebook Yin Yoga Network.
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toaster



Joined: 02 Nov 2016
Posts: 16
Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bernie. I have my 200 hour so was looking for something that might enhance that.
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