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YJ Interview: The Delight of Insight

Having studied many forms of yoga—Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Viniyoga—and popularized Yin Yoga, Sarah Powers has created a custom practice that she calls Insight Yoga.

By Michael Sexton

sarah powers

Sarah Powers is the creator of Insight Yoga, which weaves together yoga, Buddhism, Chinese medicine, and transpersonal psychology. Her classes combine active, flowing postures with long, receptive holds of Yin postures. She emphasizes the importance of silence and the benefits of interpersonal dialogue.

Why have you started to include interpersonal dialogue in your workshops? I have a background in transpersonal psychology. Meditation helps us see what is truly going on in our hearts and minds, and the interpersonal dialogue work creates a bridge for sharing our inner life in our outer relationships. When we share with others in a safe practice space, we heal the wounds of isolation.

What would you like people to know about Yin Yoga? Yin is a wonderful way to become more still and relate to silence. You tap creative features within yourself that you can't through constant activity. Silence is an amazing teacher. Regions of our nature are unlived in until we investigate what it's like to drop the habits of the conceptual mind that comments on life. In that quiet we find the universal quality where we can connect with each other even though we're not connecting through language. Sustained silence is extremely nourishing.

How do you view the relationship between asana and meditation? Meditation training helps us find ease in discomfort. If asana practice is always about movement, it's helpful to have a practice that teaches you how to be still and less reactive to internal discomfort. Suffering comes up in our reactivity, not so much in our experience of pain. And yoga and meditation are important vehicles for self-exploration. You climb into your experience in your body, in your emotional realm, so that you actually get to know your mind and body.

How do you balance traveling, teaching, and family? My practice life feeds a mentality of feeling grateful for the privileges I have. And I travel with [my husband] Ty, so there's a lot of time to feel at home because he is my home. If he hadn't made himself available to come with me all these years, I would have just stopped it. When we homeschooled our daughter, Imani, she was always with us, and we chose to travel to places that would give Imani a global perspective. We're extremely close, the three of us.

What is the essence of what you hope to convey to students? They are more magnificent than they know, and this path to self-discovery will help them love themselves and life more.

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