Coleen Clement first became a fixture in the Flow Community in March of 2009, and we’ve felt eternally blessed by her presence ever since. Her calming energy and gently positive personality are simply perfect for teaching yoga.
She sat down with the Flow Blog to tell us a little more about herself, and remind all you fellow Flowgi’s out there that her fantastic Yin Yang workshop is just around the corner, happening Saturday, November 8th.
FB: Tell us a little more about your background and initial experiences with yoga.
I initially started practicing yoga about 8 years ago, as a way to stretch and balance out my precious running schedule. The balance that yoga offered is what kept me coming back. Like most folks, I began to realize that yoga was so much more than just stretching my tight running body. It offered me the chance to find peace of mind, and the tools needed to move through my life with greater ease. As far as the teaching part, I would have to say that I always knew I wanted to help others in some way. And teaching yoga was THE way I could do it – a way to serve the greater good.
FB: Over the years that you’ve been at Flow, how has your practice as both a teacher and student evolved?
Through the years, I have had the humbling opportunity of learning from really amazing teachers. All of who have had some impact on me as a student and a teacher. My practice probably made the biggest shift once I became a mother, and what served me before is somewhat different than what serves me now. I am a firm believer that yoga gives us what we need…if we allow ourselves to open up to the possibility! I LOVE a challenging vinyasa class as much as I LOVE a Yin class. Both are essential in keeping me balanced. Some days call for a challenging vinyasa practice that includes arm balances and handstands, and some days call for a more grounding Yin (or Restorative/Yoga Nidra) practice. The very thing that brought me to yoga (balance) in the first place is the very thing I keep coming back to in my own practice and teaching. The shift in my teaching has led me to offer classes that challenge students to learn and grow while creating sequences that are well balanced.
FB: Speaking on workshops, you’ve participated in many of Flow’s special ones, which ones have been most memorable and inspiring for you?
There is always something to be learned from any workshop, training, and class. I have to say that the teachers who have inspired me more recently, are Mara Healy, Andrey Lappa (founder of Universal yoga), and Kellie Adkins (founder of the Wisdom Method School of yoga). When Mara and Andrey visited Flow to share Universal Yoga, my thinking was challenged (which I LOVE!)through the learning of dynamic sequencing and other yogic tools that encouraged me to grow in my practice. I had a big “aha” moment when I began studying with Kellie Adkins in her Yin Therapy program. Kellie’s approach is incredibly thoughtful and intentional. Through Kellie I learned more about therapeutic applications for Yin yoga and complimentary Yang flows. My heart is full of gratitude! I am inspired to combine what I have learned from my teachers (and peers!) with own my experiences to guide what it is I offer as a teacher.
FB: How do you plan to incorporate some of these aspects in this upcoming Yin Yang workshop you’re offering?
In my workshop, I will be teaching a seasonal based Yin practice that is inspired by my studies with Sarah Powers and Kellie Adkins. Following with a complimentary Yang flow that draws inspiration of the dynamic sequencing I learned from both Andrey L. and Kellie A.. The practice will be a powerful blend of Yin and Yang to help students cultivate mindfulness and greater ease in movement.
FB: Please tell us a little bit more about Yin Yang’s history, its practitioners and overall flow of this particular style.
Paulie Zink, who has an extensive background in the martial arts discipline, is the founder of Yin yoga and Yin Yang yoga as we know it today. It was Paul Grilley (a student of Paulie Zink) that continued teaching and sharing Yin yoga while offering a strong focus on anatomy. Sarah Powers (my first Yin teacher) is a student of Paul Grilley’s, and incorporates mindfulness techniques into her teaching. It was through my studies with Kellie Adkins where I was able to put all of the pieces together for a deeper understanding of the practice. Sequences are created with awareness on how to keep energy moving throughout the body – similar to Acupuncture. In the Yin practice, postures are held from 3-6 minutes. The Yang flow generally follows the Yin, and structurally integrates what was opened during the Yin through an invigorating flow. The result? Restored balance and harmony. Lets be honest, who doesn’t need a little of that in their lives?!
FB: How did you start practicing it, and what unique benefits does it offers students?
There was a tipping point, or mental shift, that brought me to the practice of Yin Yang yoga. You mean, I could practice Yin and a Flow based class together?! Sign. Me. Up. After the birth of my children, I needed a practice that could keep me grounded and relaxed, but also left me feeling invigorated.
The benefits of a Yin Yang practice include:
– encourage mindfulness
– allows for greater ease of movement
– supports balance on a physical, emotional, and energetic level
– together, the Yin and Yang flow work harmoniously to restore and invigorate.
FB: You’ve taught extensively at both Flow studios. What are the big differences between The ‘burn and The ‘burg, from a teaching perspective?
Both locations offer their own unique charm. Once you walk through the doors of both locations you feel that warm embrace and sense of community!
FB: Lastly, your husband and our good friend Jay, has embarked on the inspiring journey of practicing yoga for 365 straight days. A yearlong yoga challenge! How is he making out right now, and just as importantly, how has this been for you?
It has been quite the journey! I am so inspired by my husbands’ dedication and hard work that comes with such a challenge. It has made an impact on our family in such positive ways. Our kids are noticing more that both Mama and Dada are doing yoga, and if we can instill and convey the benefits of yoga in them, then we are grateful!
We appreciate your time and look forward to attending your Yin Yang workshop. Namaste!
Thank you! J