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Episode 154: Bernie Clark on the Benefits of Yin

Bernie Clark quote - Episode 154
The thoughtful and articulate Bernie Clark joins us on the show this week! Bernie is perhaps best known for his influential Yin yoga teachings as well as his books, The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga, and Your Body, Your Yoga.

When Jason and I shared our thoughts about Yin Yoga at the end of season 1 (episode 147), we hadn’t expected it to be so polarizing. After seeing Bernie’s response to the episode in one of his forums and after listening to you, our listeners, we asked him on the show.

We covered a lot of ground in this episode: Bernie clarified Yin’s origin story, he shared how Yin benefits him personally (and how he complements it with strength-training), as well as how he guides (even flexible students like Andrea) to discern their edge in poses. The big takeaway from the conversation? We landed on more points of agreement than points of difference. The one point of difference that remains is whether or not lengthening ligaments is a good idea. And if you’d like to research that further, check out the show notes.


The following links are intended to help you take personal responsibility for your body and your practice. Our hope is that they can help you determine what resonates with you and feels right in your body.

Blog posts and citations from Bernie
In Defense of Yin Yoga
A Scientific Basis for Yin Yoga
Helen Langevin: The Science of Stretch
The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark

Citations from Jason:
“When a tendon/ligament is stretched beyond physiological limits, some fibrils be‐ gin to fail. Micro failure accumulates, stiffness is reduced and the ligament/tendon begins to fail. This occurs when intramolecular cross-links between collagen fibers fail. The tendon therefore undergoes irreversible plastic deformation. When the tendon/ligament is stretched to more than 8-10% of its original length, macroscopic failure follows.”
Injury and Repair of Ligaments and Tendons

“Dynamic or static muscle action creates internal resistance in the loaded structures (stress) that counteracts deformation (strain) of the tissue. All tissue has a characteristic ability to tolerate deformation and stress, and injuries occur when the tolerance level is exceeded. An acute injury occurs when loading is sufficient to cause irreversible deformation of the tissue, whereas an overuse injury occurs as a result of repeated overloading either in the loading itself or through inadequate recovery time between loadings. Each incidence, alone, is not enough to cause irreversible deformation, but the repeated actions can result in an injury over time.” Olympic Committee Manual of Sports Injuries: An a Guide to the Management of Injuries in Physical Activities

The Science and Physiology of Flexibility and Stretching: Implications and Applications in Sport Performance and Health, Professor David G. Behm, November 2018

Episode 147: Jason’s Take on Yin Yoga


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Episode 147: Jason’s Take on Yin Yoga

Jason Crandell quote

Since Jason so often emphasizes the importance of building strength — especially along the posterior chain (back side) of the body, I get asked all the time, “What does Jason think about Yin yoga?” For the Season 1 Finale, we decided to take on this topic. Yin is a popular style of yoga that emphasizes long, passive holds of various (mostly floor-based) poses.

In that light, Jason and I talk about:

* What happens to muscles when you stretch them passively for more than 60 seconds

* Why it’s never a good idea to stretch ligaments

* Who might be a good fit for a regular Yin practice and who should be more cautious

* Why it’s important to include strength building practices, especially for the posterior chain, if you’re going to regularly practice passive stretching

* The most important type of strength for injury prevention, and some examples of how to do it


Episode 144: Ouch! How to Handle Your Sore Sacrum

Episode 76: Jason Crandell on Yoga Injuries – “Yoga is Good for You. Most Extreme Things are Not.”

Episode 74: Jill Miller Talks Honestly About Hip Replacement Surgery & How Yoga is in Need of a Tune Up

Episode 101: Learning, Growing, & Thriving After Injury with Laura Burkhart


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