Who are you? What do you teach? Emphasis on a specific type of yoga?

My name is Charlotte. I am a lover and practitioner of many forms of yoga and have been practicing for almost 20 years. I’m so happy to have recently started teaching yin yoga at the vibrant Planet Granite- SF right underneath the iconic Golden Gate Bridge!

What benefits can Yin lead to if done routinely?

Yin Yoga offers many benefits on many different levels. Physically, by targeting our connective tissues, the practice supports joint mobility and overall flexibility, agility and sense of ease in the body that can become limited through under-use, injury, aging or over-emphasis on yang-type practices (any physical activity that focuses on targeting muscles). Through slowing down, breath-awareness and releasing into passive postures, we also activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which allows the body’s innate intelligence to heal what is out of balance.

Mentally, through holding postures for a minimum of 3-5 minutes, we find ourselves in meditation, compassionately watching sensations, thoughts and emotions come and go, often leading to states of mental clarity, calm and deeper insights into our lives.

Energetically, Yin Yoga works along the energetic pathways of the body called meridians, so we’re basically giving our own selves an acupuncture session without the needles- revitalizing and replenishing the body, mind and spirit.

Finally, and perhaps even most importantly, we work towards balance in our yang-oriented lives by practicing the art of simply being, taking a much needed break from the demands of modern life.

How do you keep your yogis motivated during class?

One nice thing about the Yin Yoga practice is that whatever arises is okay, so there’s no need to be any different than exactly how we are in each moment—and it is a relief and a gift to be in a space where we can simply be ourselves without trying to be any different! In addition, good music, speaking to the various levels that the practice is working on, and offering space for inquiry are helpful.

What experience should a yogi have before coming to your class for the first time?

Anyone is welcome and can benefit from the practice– from beginners to advanced practitioners, the young to the old, and the physically active to people with more sedentary lifestyles.

What is your favorite pose or stretch? Why?

I love Butterfly and often start class with this pose because it targets the tissues in the outer hips, inner groins and along the spine. These are the areas that are most taxed by our daily routines such as sitting at a desk or driving. It also works on many different meridians, so energetically it’s a great bang for the buck. I also love Quarter-Dog pose because it opens the chest and front of the shoulders. Again, it is a great counter-pose to driving, being at the computer, texting and even rock-climbing. It also works along the heart and lung meridians and is a heart-softening pose — who doesn’t want that?!