DT 084: You Are Anti-Fragile with Bernie Clark

Bernie Clark has been traveling the yogic path for over 40 years, starting with a daily meditation practice that he established in his mid-twenties, in order to deal with growing stress. In his early forties, he was introduced into the physical practices of Hatha yoga, which assisted him greatly in his meditation practice. Throughout his first career in high-tech business, he continued to feed an intense curiosity about psychology, mythology, anatomy and philosophy. Today, Bernie is a yoga teacher and published author offering classes, teacher trainings, and workshops in Vancouver, Canada.


  In this episode, you’ll hear from Bernie on: 


  • [14.03] The definition of Yin Yoga. Bernie explains that yin and yang are relative terms and that nothing is either completely yin or completely yang. However, more muscular and dynamic forms of yoga, such as Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow, are generally considered more yang-like and Yin Yoga is a slower-paced practice where postures are held for a longer period. 


  • [19.50] The concept of eustress – a beneficial form of stress which has a positive effect on health. Bernie aims for balance in his Yin Yoga practice and cautions against causing the body distress by pushing it too far or allowing it to weaken and the muscles to atrophy through lack of effective exercise.   


  • [22.25] Bernie elaborates on the hypothesis of anti-fragility; the idea that humans gain from chaos and grow stronger under a certain amount of stress. He emphasizes the importance of identifying the edge, the point at which we experience resistance but not pain, in developing a challenging but safe yoga practice. 


  • [32.56] Advice for teachers. Bernie recommends resisting commenting on medical conditions and favours a functional rather than an aesthetic approach to asanas, focussing on how students feel rather than how they look in a pose.


  • [48.35] Bernie challenges the commonly held belief that ligaments and tendons should not be stretched.  He explains that Yin Yoga works the deeper connective tissues of the body, including ligaments and tendons, and that long-held static stresses can help to strengthen the connective tissues and make them healthier.




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