By Sue Eisenfeld
Vicki Christian says she calls yoga practice “play.” She wants the time on the mat to be playful and fun. And with bright eyes, a big smile, and the excitement and positive energy shown by a beloved teacher you might remember from childhood, that’s exactly what she brings to class.
In “Flow and Yin,” she focuses on a different meridian in the body during each class, such as the gallbladder meridian, which when imbalanced can cause insomnia and which when balanced leads to sound sleep. The first half of class is “fast movement,” as one long-time student described it—sequences of flow yoga, against a backdrop of 80s soft rock, that might have you break out into a sweat. That’s contrasted with the second half of class, which is yin, when students hold a variety of poses for three minutes at a time. As someone who really gets into working on alignment and doing yoga poses in a very specific way, Vicki says she finds yin an interesting and challenging contrast: “There are no rules in yin,” she says. Even yin’s familiar yogic poses have different names—shoelace, deer (I felt like an antler, myself), half dragonfly—so students can come to them with “a beginner mind.”
She coaxed the class to “find your edge.” And we did: The precipice of not-too-hard, not-too-easy, the familiar in the unfamiliar, the—dare I say, yin and yang. And then instead of a long savasana: a long alternate-nostril breathing practice, for a cross-brain experience, all setting the stage for—indeed—a good night’s sleep.