My Experience in Mike's Class
Mike Ninomiya delivered a melange of slooooow vinyasa, chi gung, and static yin poses last Friday (5.09.14) at Kindness Yoga Hilltop. As a presence, Mike was soft spoken, caring, and mild-mannered — a Kapha Love Experience all around, complete with live bhakti performers chanting top-10 Sanskrit Kirtans and mantras throughout the entire class.
Purpose / Theme / Results
This class had no stated purpose or theme, but the intent could be described as gentle movement to get a little energy flowing. After a brief introduction to the duo of Kirtan chanters/musicians Mike had lined up to provide the evening's entertainment, we began with a quite slow, breath-timed Vinysaya flow using the usual moves. The breath ratio of four counts inhale and six counts exhale and the relative ease of most of the postures made sure no heat was generated, and thus, for me at least, no tension-releasing heat. Mike is rather soft-spoken, and I struggled to hear his instruction over top of the kirtan. Fortunately, he demonstrated everything, but it was still something of an annoyance. Then we moved on to the Chi Gung portion of the class, which Mike referred to as "Chinese Yoga." The simple, flowing, repetitive moves Mike showed did in fact induce some flow of Chi in those of us with some dance or VyaVinyasa experience, but I'm not sure it did much for others, many of whom clearly had never been exposed to this sort of practice. We ended with some unusual Yin holds, which probably came from his Chi Gung experience rather than any Yin Yoga training.
The Instructor’s Presence That Day: High Kapha
Mike is a man of girth with a ready, sincere smile and a disarming manner. He exudes a child-like air of harmlessness that makes you want to give him a hug. In constrast to the teddy bear presence, Mike seems to be something of an expert in some form of Chi Gung, as he dropped quite a lot of useful tidbits regarding fascia and energy lines according to TCM (Traditional Chineses Medicine) theory during the Chi Gung portion of the class.
Compatible with 3Gems Principles?
Well, it is not INcompatible. Mike's class was entirely Yin in nature, and thus unbalanced from the 3Gems point of view, so unless you are already exhausted from other activities or somehow physically debilitated, I wouldn't recommend it as a yoga class. I did not get the impression that Mike understands Asana or Yogic theory particularly well. Mike is, however, a lovely person, and I'd be happy to take Chi Gung classes from him.
Yoga Studio: Kindness Yoga Hilltop
Date Reviewed: 5.09.14 (7:30p class)