Confusion over Paulie Zink's Yin Yoga and Paul Grilley's Yin

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Confusion over Paulie Zink's Yin Yoga and Paul Grilley's Yin

Post by Bernie »

Recently I received the following email:
  • First, I very much enjoy your videos on Gaiam. However, I don't see a direct correlation between Paulie's teachings and Paul Grilley's and yourself. It seems like there is a disconnect with the Yin Yoga that is being taught from Grilley and yourself when compared to the founder. I have your book "The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga", and Grilley's "yin yoga' DVD set and have been watching Paulie's videos. When compared to Paulie's videos I see a lot of inconsistencies and differences.

The confusion is understandable. When Paul Grilley was first attending weekly classes with Paulie Zink, Paulie termed his practice Taoist Yoga or TaoYin or even sometimes Yin and Yang Yoga. Paul loved the quiet long held postures that Paulie included in the practices, but Paulie’s full offering included many yang movements as well. Paul started to share what Paulie showed him with his own students, but he culled from Paulie’s practice the postures on the floor which were held in stillness for long periods of time. Originally, Paul also called this Taoist Yoga, in deference to Paulie, because that is what Paulie had called the practice.

In time, Sarah Powers also came to love the quiet floor postures and she suggested that, since she and Paul were not offering the complete Taoist Yoga practice that Paulie offered, they should call the long-held, floor poses Yin Yoga. Paul named his book Yin Yoga after Sarah’s suggestion. So, originally the term Yin Yoga was applied only to the practice where we stay in the poses, in stillness for long periods of time. This name was deliberately chosen so as not to confuse students, to differentiate it from Paulie’s more complete offering. Yin Yoga was a subset of Paulie’s teachings.

Eventually Paulie retired from teaching and moved to Montana. Paul and Sarah taught their Yin Yoga practice to a growing number of students, and its popularity grew. Paulie decided to come out of retirement and began to share his knowledge again, and again what he offers is the full range of Taoist Yoga, which certainly includes the Yin Yoga style that Paul and Sarah was sharing. However, just as Paulie had developed his own flavour and wisdom based on what his teacher, Cho Chat Ling, taught him, so too Paul and Sarah added, modified and developed what Paulie taught Paul into a rather unique practice with very different emphasizes than what Paulie offered.

To be very clear: Paulie’s teachings are wonderful and very valuable but as you point out, what Paulie offers is not what Paul and Sarah offer. There is a difference, an evolution, if you will. I encourage everyone to study with Paulie if they ever get the chance, but do not expect Paulie to offer what Paul and Sarah teach. Paul and Sarah’s form of Yin Yoga is quite different than Paulie’s practice even though it is based on what he taught Paul.

Where the confusion lies is in the fact that Paulie has recently decided to call his teaching Yin Yoga as well. Originally he called it other names, and to avoid confusion Paul and Sarah chose Yin Yoga: they didn’t want students to think that what they were offering was the full breadth and depth of Paulie’s teachings, which is immense. When Paulie also started calling his teaching Yin Yoga, I believe opened he the door to this potential confusion. Today we have two different styles of yoga called Yin Yoga: Paulie’s original Taoist Yoga, and the form that Paul and Sarah evolved out of Paulie’s teaching. They are not the same but they are definitely related. And they are both wonderful!

I hope this clears things up for you!
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Post by rhoekman »

I also get this question a lot. It is very confusing for some. There is even a difference in the way Paul Grilley teaches which is more in the line of the Dao and Sarah Powers which has more a Buddhist like influences. For myself I teach a bit of both and depending on the group I go deeper into either the Dao or Buddhist direction. In the end it is all good :-) Thanks for clarifying Bernie!

Best regards,

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