Helen Watkins meets Cannelle and Kitiwaké
Lets have a moment of rest and deep relaxation with Helen…
Helen is a yoga teacher, especially from Yin, we met her in the Bloom studio (the first modern meditation studio in France) for Yin & soundbath sessions and it was a real favorite.
Cannelle: Hello Helen, we are delighted to exchange with you.
Helen: Hello, the feeling is mutual!
Cannelle: What brought you towards the practice of Yin and why?
Helen: I discovered Yin by accident while traveling to Australia. I was already a regular Yoga practitioner, but only for dynamic practices. This first experience left me rather perplexed, and it was only when I returned home to London that I really learned to appreciate the Yin. I actually hurt my shoulder making it impossible for me to consider making boards or chaturangas. I had to turn to gentle practices, and I fell in love with the Yin. It was also a time in my life when I had just finished my master’s degree, so I was on my way to working life, and it was quite stressful. Yin allowed me to refocus and clarify my emotions and desires.
Cannelle: At Yin, we hold poses for long periods so that the body can rest and relax tensions. Can you tell us more about this practice and its benefits?
Helen: Indeed, in Yin we can hold the postures up to 20 minutes, even if in group class we often hold the postures between 3 and 6 minutes. We hold these postures as relaxed as possible, to relax our muscles and thus work deep on the body: on the Fascia, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones. In Yin, we therefore consider that we “stress” the body and not “stretch”. Indeed, we do not want to stretch a joint, but we want to mobilize it, and apply a slight degree of stress to it to stimulate the area. Thanks to Yin, we gain flexibility, we release the tension buried deep in the body, but also, through the work of compression and stress, we direct fresh oxygenated blood to the areas chosen in our postures, and so we regenerate our cells to strengthen certain fragile areas of our body.
There are also other benefits for our mental state because this state of relaxation and introspection that we find in Yin allows us to let go of the mental load and giving ourselves a real moment of pause and well-being. So it’s magical for the body and the mind!
Cannelle: At the Bloom studio, you offer 1 hour sessions of Yin & soundbath , you accompany the students with your voice, the sound of bowls and koshis, does this allow you to go even further in relaxation?
Helen: The vibrations produced by the bowls, accompanied by the melodious sounds of the Koshis, create a state of deep relaxation. I really believe that the combination of Bowls and Yin amplifies the experience of relaxation. I think you really have to live it to believe it, but crystal bowls, like the ones we have at Bloom, give us the feeling of floating above our body. It’s really a timeless experience.
Cannelle: We are going through a special period of time, do you think this practice is particularly ideal right now?
Helen: I think this practice is ideal at any time in our lives, but it can be at a different frequency depending on how you live. The Yin, as its name suggests, aims to balance the Yang, so the dynamic, the fast, the intense. And this state can be in the body, but also in the head. That is, if we run everywhere, if we are very active physically, the yin can be welcome to bring relaxation to the body. But if at this moment you are very stressed, very concerned, if with at home work it is difficult to cut or to allow a moment 100% for yourself, then yes the Yin is welcome! I find that at home we are super comfortable for the Yin in addition, we can do it in pajamas, with our cushions and our blankets!
Cannelle: Is there a special outfit to wear to enjoy the benefits and let go?
Helen: We can dress in yoga clothes of course, the clothes adapted to a practice often make us feel good because they are totally designed for this activity! Next in Yin, we move little, so in truth any comfortable garment will do. Personally, I like to be very warm, and as in Yin we move little the body temperature goes down very fast, so I always practice with big socks & a blanket on the back!
Cannelle: Would you like Kitiwaké to develop a specific line for this practice?
Helen: That would be the dream!!! With anti-slip socks and hot tops! Really it would be perfect for me because it’s not yet acceptable for me to go to work in my pajamas haha! so I could be in my Yin cocooning outfit, and still look great! The Kitiwaké White Sweater for me is perfect for the practice. Another big favorite for me is also the Eka legging, in a really sweet material that combines perfectly with the practice of yin.
Cannelle: Do you have any advice to practice from home? Do you need specific accessories?
Helen: In Yin we use a lot of accessories. We use bricks, straps and cushions called Bolster. For me, the strap and cushions can easily be replaced by home accessories, but bricks are the investment to be made. Cork bricks, for stability, and in Yin we don’t hesitate to take a big size as they can never be big enough. The Yin accessories allow us to maintain a posture, like a frame, and to relax at the same time. Without props, we have to stand in place and so it’s much less relaxing.
Cannelle: How can one take your classes? (usually and in context)
Helen: Normally, when the studios are open, I work in 3 different places in Paris. At the Bloom studio (the Modern Meditation studio), my Yin classes are accompanied by crystal bowls. I also work at Episod, where I have a great team of students passionate about Yin, it’s a real pleasure. And finally, at the Babayogaclub studio, where I give a class of Astro Yin, so Yin Yoga designed for us aligned with the current astral movements. In this course I speak of the moon, of the planets, of astrology, and especially of the energies that pass through us. I mostly give Yin, it’s really my favorite practice, but I also teach guided meditation and Vinyasa Flow.
Cannelle: Thank you very much Helen, is has been a pleasure to discuss this magical practice together.
See you soon on the mat!
Discover through images : 3 Yin postures for a deep sleep with Helen Watkins at the Bloom studio