My Sunday with Paulie Zink

You could feel it – Paulie Zink was in the house.

For anyone who doesn’t know who Paulie Zink is, he is the founder of Yin yoga, and he was conducting workshops and a training in Yin yoga at the Princeton Center for Yoga and Health this month. Cool, right?

Dressed all in black, he stood out in the airy amethyst room. He didn’t use a mat, preferring instead to slide around in his socks.  In fact, he prefers not to use any props, explaining that props were originally used only to make postures harder. The differences in the Yin I’m familiar with didn’t stop there, and yet the principles were pretty much the same: Soften your body, don’t force anything. But the postures were based on nature and animal movements, and not on meridians. For instance, we were encouraged to harness the energy and movement of a rabbit and it’s ability for stillness – or a bear, earthy and lumbering (Yin) or large and mighty (Yang). This exercise was fun and designed to get us totally out of our heads and to live in harmony with the environment. As a naturalist, I love that concept because it can't hurt to simplify the Yin experience once in a while and to understand that our roots will always be deeply planted in an organic world.  

Paulie’s knowledge and lack of pretention charmed everyone in the room. He’s returning to the Princeton Center for Yoga and Health some time next spring. And I can’t wait! I loved becoming a dragonfly.