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Reverend Kim Copeland: Yin Yoga As Self-Care

BY SANCTUAIRE Team

"Within each of us exists a stillness, a place of clarity, neutrality and peace." Most of us live very busy and over-extended lives. Because of this busyness, it often becomes difficult to just be still. In search of learning the art of stillness, we connected with yogi and minister, Kim Copeland, to discuss Yin Yoga (and Stillness) As Self-Care. We hope that you find some information within this interview that you can apply to your own life.

S:

How long have you been practicing yoga and what inspired you to begin?

KC:

I have been practicing yoga for more than 20 years, and I have been teaching for eight years. One of the reasons that I was inspired to become a yoga teacher is because I knew that I could contribute to the spread of yoga in communities of color.

S:

How has yoga impacted your life?

KC:

The practice of yoga continually helps me to organize my thoughts and quiet my mind. Yoga helps me center and come home to myself time and again.

S:

Did you face any challenges as a woman of color entering the industry?

KC:

The major challenges that I faced were in my mind. Imposter syndrome came up for me at times as I was beginning to teach; a general feeling of “I don’t belong here.” The truth is that I started out in a very welcoming yoga community and I simply needed to get out of my own way. Yoga studios are often criticized for being unwelcoming to people of color, sometimes they are, but practitioners also need to be mindful of the beliefs and insecurities that they may be walking into a studio with. Yoga is for everybody.

S:

Many people are familiar with the term Yoga but what is Yin Yoga?

KC:

There are many different styles of yoga. Yin Yoga is one style. In this style poses are held for longer periods of time (3-5 minutes) to deeply stretch the connective tissue.

S:

What are the benefits of Yin Yoga?

KC:

The Yin Yoga practice brings the practitioner into stillness. In Yin Yoga you get into a pose and then you are still in that pose as you hold it. There isn't a lot of movement in Yin. Many things come up for us when we get still. We are a culture that is so used to being busy and active, we are used to doing. Yin provides an opportunity for deep introspection.

S:

Do you feel that Yin Yoga is particularly important for women of color?

KC:

I do. Practicing yoga in general is an act of self-care and I believe that women of color should prioritize self-care now.
‘‘
Many things come up for us when we get still. We are a culture that is so used to being busy and active, we are used to doing. Yin provides an opportunity for deep introspection.
’’

S:

In your blog Thankyouverysweet.com, you speak about leaning into stillness. What does that mean?

KC:

Each of us have masculine and feminine energy inside of us. Our masculine energy initiates, drives, and directs. This is the energy that propels us to accomplish goals. Feminine energy receives, it waits, it nurtures as it waits, and it allows. This is the energy of stillness, it is an energy of surrender. In Western Cultures we tend to be more comfortable with “doing” than “allowing”. We’d rather control than surrender. When we lean into stillness we are practicing “being.” It is the practice of doing nothing.

S:

How does sitting in stillness differentiate from meditation?

KC:

It’s all meditation. The physical yoga practice is a moving meditation.

S:

What are the benefits of stillness?

KC:

They are countless. One main benefit is that a steady practice will help you eventually slow the conversation down in your mind. When you slow your own voice down it creates room to hear from God.

S:

What advice can you give to those who want to heal, but have a negative idea of sitting with their feelings?

KC:

Healing looks different for everyone. Diving into stillness may not be the best initial modality for someone with a very active mind. This person might be better served in a power yoga class, in a spin class, boxing or running. These can also be forms of meditation if we open our hearts to that. Any practice that brings you back to your truth, back to your center can be a healing practice. My advice to everyone would be to pay attention to what makes you feel good, alive, and free. What will make you show up as the best possible community member? If it’s healthy, practice that!

S:

Beyond Yin Yoga and stillness, what are some other ways that you practice self-care?

KC:

I have great boundaries, I am good at saying no. I also take my time. I am not a machine and I don’t treat others this way. I don’t respond immediately to every email and text message.

S:

What are you looking to manifest or realize in 2021?

KC:

In 2021 I look to realize the fullness of who I am, Pure Love. I wish this for everyone.

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