Ever heard of Insight Yoga? It’s the latest boom in the yoga world! A style of yoga founded by yoga teacher Sarah and Ty Powers, Insight yoga creates a synthesis of traditional yoga practices, Buddhist mindfulness meditations, Chinese medicine and knowledge in the field of transpersonal psychology. All of these practices are woven into the instruction with the goal to give context to each method.
Students of an Insight Yoga class can expect a merge of many practices of traditional and non-traditional forms while visiting a class. When Sarah Powers created her unique style of yoga, she did not drew only on her 25 years of yoga teaching experience but also on her background in transpersonal spiritual psychology and her in-depth training of different Buddhist meditation techniques such as Vipassana. She recognized a lot of connections between the different principles, which inspired her to create Insight Yoga.
What are the benefits of Insight Yoga?
As this form of yoga blends various practices, Insight Yoga can lead to a deep level of self-awareness, of insight into oneself. This can lead to greater peace, harmony and experienced tranquility with oneself and the universe. In its core, the teachings aim at developing our physical and subtle body (our ability to perceive the divine), the mind and the heart and are also directed towards a better understanding of our relationships.
To understand better what Insight Yoga is all about, lets have a look at the different parts that make up a class, to see how they interact and play out in practice.
One of the foundational principles of Insight Yoga is Buddhist meditation, rooted in the practice of Vipassana. The word Vipassana literally means „insight“ in Sanskrit. Vipassana meditation focuses on „seeing things as they really are“. This meditation technique enables the student to experience peace and harmony by purifying the mind, freeing it from suffering and the deep-seated causes of suffering. Step by step, the practice leads to the highest spiritual goal of full liberation from all mental defilements.
Meditation aims at bringing us into the present moment, unifying body and mind. Mindfulness also means paying conscious attention without judgment and non-resistance to the flow of life. This is what we try to master during an Insight Yoga class.
Active and passive yoga postures
Sarah Powers’ system does not draw on one specific style of yoga but incorporates various techniques. Passive yin postures invite for deep self-reflection and trigger the fascia to release any tension and pain held in the body. These passive postures are complemented with more active yang postures that derive from the principles of Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga, feeling into the physicality of the practice. Balancing the yin and yang energies through yoga postures enhance the flow of pranic (life) energy in our body.
Qi Gong and Eastern healing techniques
Another pillar of Sarah and Ty Powers’ approach is the incorporation of Qi Gong and the meridian system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into the practice. In TCM Meridians are channels in the body through which the ‚qi‘ our life force (similar to the yogic prana) can flow. The meridians function as a network, much like a highway system, that can be mapped out throughout the entire body. They are similar to the circulatory system in western medicine, however meridians are non-physical. If you ever had an acupuncture session, you might have heard of the meridians before. In this traditional healing technique, needles are injected in the body along the meridian lines to remove blocked energy and let the qi flow again.
Qi Gong works in a similar way. The qi, the life force, is already in its name. This ancient Chinese healing system focuses on slow-flowing movement, deep rhythmic breathing, and a calm meditative state of mind. Within Insight Yoga, Qi Gong is incorporated like a movement meditation to enhance the flow of energy, balancing the organs and reconnecting to our bodies.
Transpersonal psychology or spiritual psychology extends psychological studies into the realm of consciousness, spiritual inquiry and the body-mind-connection. This form of psychology aims at seeing the bigger picture and a connection to the divine source and therefore doesn’t stop with the human ego-state. In Insight yoga, instructions of transpersonal psychology invite to create self-awareness through questions like „Who is perceiving this movement?“. Through the combination of all techniques, Powers’ approach teaches to accept and control our psychological reactivity in order to realize our true nature and self.
Visiting an Insight Yoga class
While all of the different elements can of course be practiced apart from each other, Insight Yoga offers a beautiful and special way to combine them all. The result: a healthier body, a more clear and focused mind, more energy, happiness and a better connection to oneself and your surroundings.
If you are interested in finding out more what Insight yoga is, we highly recommend you to visit our weekly Insight yoga class and experience the bliss yourself. The class is taking place every Sunday from 19:30-20:45 and our lovely teacher Ciska Matthews will take you on a journey to find some peace of mind through meditation, some chi qong exercises, simple yoga asanas as well as yin poses.
Time to book your ticket and join us for the next session at The Conscious Club: http://theconsciousclub.com/book-now!
Written by Clara Malzer