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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


Finding Your Yin

Dec 30, 2021 04:17PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer

Yin yoga has historically been the least celebrated form of yoga, yet it is one of the most necessary styles. In a yin practice we are seeking stillness of body, stillness of mind /thoughts and surrendering into the present moment. The lessons of yin are far more reaching than one may think at first glance.

Two of the first yogis to expand yin yoga into the mainstream were Bernie Clark and Paul Grilley in the 1990’s. They understood the importance of balancing the body with more gentle, deliberate asanas that are held for 3-5 minutes. By holding these postures, the practitioner is given the opportunity to witness bodily sensations, mind fluctuations and ultimately release held tension in the body. The theory behind yin yoga is we are going much deeper than surface muscles, bones and joints and instead reaching connective tissue. The connective tissue in the body is where, in yoga, we believe all the traumas that have occurred in life, our samskaras and difficulties manifest, and thereby store themselves. If the body holds onto these toxins, then disease will ensue. Therefore, it is important that we connect from a deeper level to encourage release of such energy. 

Much of our population resides in a more “yang world”; we are over achievers, have constant to-do lists, are rushing from one activity to another and so on. Additionally, when the yogi attends a typical vinyasa class they are exerting energy in a more powerful manner versus becoming softer in intention. While yang activities and yoga are extraordinarily beneficial, to properly balance a body yin is also required. I see clients each day who are suffering from stress, anxiety, weight issues, traumas and complete disconnection from self. One of the first practices we do together is connecting with the mind/body relationship and the most tangible form of therapy is via yin yoga. 

Yin yoga becomes the doorway to further understanding the mind and how thoughts, ego, stress and triggers can adversely affect the body. We invite students to embrace what are called the Three Tatvas:

Find your edge in the posture

Remain still

Spend time in the posture

Yin is a submissive practice where we acknowledge what is happening mentally and physically yet try to become the observer versus the “do-er”. When we truly find the stillness that is mentioned, we become one with ourselves and enter a more meditative state that further triggers a relaxation response and less reactive ambition. We become more accepting of our bodies, our past and our future. 

As we take this practice off the mat, we find ourselves more even tempered, kinder and able to be present with each moment, each breath. This has become a very important aspect for all people to begin to explore, the idea of becoming present. Our current society has placed quite a bit of attention on constantly seeking the next best thing that will make us feel “whole”; conversely, yin yoga teaches us to be content in our lives and softer with our judgments. 

As I get older and realize that my body cannot do what it once did at 23 years old—I have tried and only injured myself—I now can appreciate all that yin yoga provides to my life. It is my belief that if we all embraced a combination of yang and yin practices, we would become a healthier, more alive population. There is a time to move and there is very much a time to rest, restore and renew.

Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey; Upper Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey; Roseland, New Jersey; and Delray Beach in Florida.

Niyama Yoga  Wellness Studio - 1250 Sussex Turnpike 2nd Floor Randolph NJ

Niyama Yoga & Wellness Studio - 1250 Sussex Turnpike, 2nd Floor, Randolph, NJ

Niyama Yoga & Wellness Studio offers private yoga therapy sessions, group yoga classes (both heated and non-heated), barre fusion classes and many other modalities of yoga & welln... Read More » 



Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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