Meditation within Yin, with Esther Ekhart

Meditation and mindfulness techniques to meet and manage overwhelming thoughts and emotions




12-hour online course


Unlimited access for flexible study

Eligible for 12 CEUs with Yoga Alliance

Yin yoga as a gateway to meditation

Learn about the powerful synergy between Yin Yoga and meditation. Understand how Yin yoga can facilitate access to, and deepen the experience of, meditation.

Meet and manage difficult thoughts & emotions

Yin yoga may bring up unresolved issues. Explore a range of meditative and mindfulness techniques to
navigate these issues in a skilful way.

The efficacy of nervous system regulation

Take a deep dive into polyvagal theory and explore some simple practices to regulate the nervous system and create optimal conditions for meditation and Yin practices.


 You'll learn:

  • How Yin yoga can make meditation more accessible

  • The essential role of polyvagal theory in practice and teaching

  • Exercises to clear energy and settle the nervous system

  • Meditation and mindfulness techniques to manage and meet overwhelming thoughts and emotions

  • How to incorporate these potent practices within your teaching

    *Includes 7 full-length Yin yoga practices*

Are you a yoga practitioner who struggles to meditate? Or do you find it difficult to meet or manage thoughts or emotions that come up during Yin yoga? Are you a teacher who’d like to learn a range of techniques to help enrich your students’ practice? If so, this course with Esther Ekhart, is for you. 

The combination of Yin yoga and meditation is a potent one. Yin yoga facilitates the flow of chi, making meditation more accessible – but the practice can bring up unresolved issues. This is where meditation comes in. Meditation can help us to navigate these emotions with compassion, which in turn, can release long-held patterns and create more space for healing and joy.

During this comprehensive course, Esther will teach you a range of exercises and inquiries, themed meditations, and breathing practices. You’ll learn how to incorporate these approaches into your practice or classes. You’ll discover how essential it is to regulate the nervous system and you’ll come away with a range of practical techniques to help you and your students meet and manage overwhelming thoughts and difficult emotions.

You’ll discover the essence of mindfulness, its formal and informal practices, and the ultimate gift it offers – the ability to be fully present and deeply connected with yourself, your students and your fellow human beings.

This course is for you if are a:

  • Student interested in Yin and/or meditation, mindfulness.
  • Yin yoga teacher looking to learn more about the power of meditation and mindfulness.
  • Yoga teacher interested in learning a range of meditative focus techniques.

Course outline

Esther warmly welcomes you to the course and encourages you to find a peaceful space to listen to the material. By minimising distractions, you can fully immerse yourself and concentrate on the content.

Esther highlights the powerful synergy between Yin yoga and meditation. By combining these practices, Yin yoga facilitates the harmonious flow of chi, making meditation more accessible. As we relax in Yin yoga, unresolved issues stored in our bodies may surface. Through meditation, we learn to navigate these emotions with skillful compassion, creating space for healing. This integrated approach can release long-held patterns, fostering freedom and energy release,and  ultimately leading to a greater sense of joy and wellbeing.

Esther discusses the essential ‘2 wings’ in our meditation and Yin practice, crucial for a balanced approach, akin to a bird needing both wings to fly. These wings symbolise wisdom, clear seeing, and presence, along with compassion and friendliness. Combining these qualities cultivates a healing presence, where mindful awareness is harmoniously balanced with kindness.

Esther explores the significance of honouring native land, paying respects to Asian lineages, and acknowledging the wisdom of our ancestors.

In this talk, we explore the transformative power of mindfulness for teachers and humanity. Discover the essence of mindfulness, its formal and informal practices, and the ultimate gift it offers - the profound ability to be fully present and deeply connected with students and fellow human beings.

Here's a simple mindfulness meditation for regular practice. We focus on an anchor, then widen our attention to acknowledge distractions by gently naming them, and then return to our anchor or rest in awareness.

Esther offers guidance on practicing and cultivating mindful listening and speaking.

Esther emphasises the significance of reconnecting with our physical bodies and being fully present in the moment. By coming home to our living, breathing bodies, we shift away from the realm of concepts and mental images and immerse ourselves in the reality of the present. During the session, you’ll be guided through an exercise to experience direct sensations within the body, helping you move beyond mere thoughts about it.


Additionally, Esther will lead a short inquiry that enables us to transition from being trapped in a mental narrative to recognising and feeling our bodily sensations. She also delves into the reasons why we tend to escape into the world of the mind in the first place.

In this talk we delve into the fascinating world of Polyvagal theory. This theory sheds light on our autonomic nervous system's intricate workings and its role in shaping our behaviours and emotional responses. We discuss neuroception, one of the organising principles of this theory. Neuroception is the process by which our autonomic nervous system detects safety or threat in our environment, even before we consciously perceive it. It acts like an internal safety scanner, continually assessing our surroundings to determine how we should respond. Also explained in this talk is why it is helpful and important to understand the different states of your nervous system and that of your students, and how to work with these states.

In this talk we dive into the organising principle, Hierarchy. Hierarchy explains the different physiological states that the vagus nerve can lead us to, depending on cues of safety or danger in our environment.

During this talk we dive into the organising principle, Co-Regulation. As social creatures, our nervous system is inherently wired to seek connections with others. Engaging in positive social interactions and establishing secure attachments have a profound impact on regulating our autonomic nervous system.

This practice only takes 20 minutes and becomes quicker with experience. By embodying stillness like a mountain, emptying ourselves, and staying alert, we allow energy to flow freely. Shaking to help release stagnant energy, allowing chi to harmonise. Clearing our energy field leads us to a peaceful, loving stillness - the true healer.

We practice Stanley Rosenberg's ‘Basic exercise’ which stimulates the vagus nerve and can shift you from a state of fight-flight-freeze to social engagement.

In this session we practice Stanley Rosenberg's ‘Salamander' exercise, which shifts you from fight-flight-freeze to social engagement.

In this talk Esther talks about the diverse meditative focuses that can enrich your Yin yoga practice. Discover the specific ones we will explore throughout this course and gain insights into why they hold significance in enhancing your yoga experience.

In Yin yoga and meditation, the focus on sensations is an essential aspect of the practice. In this talk Esther explains what the benefits are of using sensations as the meditative focal point during Yin yoga and she'll introduce two different Yin yoga classes with sensations as their theme.

In this Yin yoga class, sensations serve as our meditative anchor, allowing us to recognise the healthy type of feelings we seek in Yin yoga. These include diffused, mild sensations like gentle pressure and light tugging. Staying attentive to these sensations enhances concentration and fosters a sense of contentment. Physically, the practice focuses on the shoulders, arms, upper spine, and hips.

You’ll need the following props: cushion, bolster, rolled-up blanket, bricks.

In this Yin yoga class, we will explore the mindfulness technique of naming sensations. By consciously acknowledging and labelling the various sensations that may arise during our practice, we can effectively reduce reactivity and cultivate a sense of inner calm. As the saying goes, ‘naming is taming,’ – in other words, we can observe these sensations without being overwhelmed by them.


This practice serves as a powerful tool for enhancing our awareness of bodily sensations. As we become more attuned to the subtle shifts and feelings within our bodies, we deepen our connection with ourselves and promote a greater sense of mindfulness throughout the session.

You’ll need a couple of cushions or a bolster for this practice.

In this session you'll discover how focusing on the breath anchors you to the present moment, and helps you to foster a state of clarity and calmness. You’ll learn how mindful breathing can improve attention, reduce distractions, and strengthen your ability to work, study, and heal. 


We look at various breath focus techniques, from simple awareness to calming inhales and exhales, counting breaths, and deepening mindfulness while focusing on the natural pauses in the breath cycle. Embrace the power of the breath to create space for skillful responses, cultivating presence, kindness, curiosity, and openness in your life.

In this class, we start by silently repeating the words ‘calm’ and ‘ease’ as we breathe in and out, anchoring the attention to each breath. Midway through, we transition to rest in the stillness during the brief pause between breaths. Hopefully you’ll experience the transformative benefits of increased calmness, focus, presence, and stillness in this mindful practice.

You'll need a cushion, blanket, bricks and a bolster for this practice.

In this insightful talk, Esther will delve into the concept of equanimity, shedding light on its profound significance and why it merits our dedicated attention. Whether on or off the mat, cultivating equanimity becomes a valuable pursuit for personal growth and well-being.

In this class, we focus on cultivating the quality of equanimity. We observe the space between the feeling tone and the mind's usual reactions of craving or aversion. Instead, we learn to allow space for simply being with what is, without the urge to fix or change anything. Through this practice, we discover the relief of non-reactivity and the joy of settling into the present moment, just as it is, without interference. Embrace this transformative experience and savour the freedom of letting go.
You'll need a bolster for this class.

By mindfully leaning into your emotions, we can unlock the path to a more fulfilling, embodied and joyful life. In this talk, Esther delves into the profound world of emotions, with the aim of inspiring and motivating you to embrace them fully. The poem Esther reads is called 'Allow' by Danna Faulds.

In this class, we explore emotions and embracing life to the fullest. It's about living a fully embodied life, not holding back but facing emotions head-on. Avoiding, numbing or suppressing feelings, turning away from them, or longing for what isn't there is more painful than anything else. Recognising that rejecting one emotion affects a whole range of emotions is crucial, as it may lead to losing our ability to feel deeply.

By learning to fully embrace life, we begin by being open to our feelings, whether they are pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Cultivating an evenness of mind, or equanimity, and accepting these emotions with love brings profound happiness and a sense of being fully present and alive, regardless of the circumstances.
You'll need a bolster, bricks and a cushion for this practice.

In this talk, you'll discover that you are not the thinker and need not believe your thoughts. By dis-identifying with your thoughts, you'll realise your true essence as awareness – a loving, open space in which thoughts arise and pass away.

In this class, we work with the inquiry: ‘Who am I beyond my thoughts?’ Through this exploration, we aim to rest in the space that exists between our thoughts, providing us with a glimpse of our true selves as conscious presence rather than mere, mind-made identities. Alongside this introspective journey, we focus on releasing tension from the spine, nurturing a harmonious union of body and mind.

You'll need a bolster and perhaps some bricks for this class.

In this talk, you’ll be introduced  to the RAIN technique – an acronym for Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture. This powerful method empowers us to approach difficult emotions with mindfulness and compassion.

During this meditation, we'll delve into a moment of reactivity from our lives and employ the RAIN method for mindful inquiry and possible transformation. By practicing this technique, you'll gain a valuable tool to navigate difficult emotions, sticky thoughts and strong sensations whenever they arise in the future.

In this talk, we'll explore another meditative focus for your Yin practice: love itself. Love, the greatest healer, can be chosen even amidst triggers and life's challenges. Embracing love doesn't bypass emotions; it allows us to feel everything fully while consciously responding with love. We conclude this talk with a meditation on self-love, which begins at 05:12.

In this class, our meditative focus revolves around love and open awareness. By embracing spacious awareness and allowing everything that arises to be, we find harmony. If you notice your mind wandering, inquire within and ask yourself what emotions you may be avoiding. The invitation is to respond to these feelings with loving kindness.
You’ll need a bolster and a couple of bricks for this practice.

A big thank you for trusting me and joining me on this course and a few reminders to guide you as a practitioner and teacher.

Meet your teacher:

Esther Ekhart

Esther Ekhart, founder of, has been teaching for over 25 years. Her wisdom, warmth and practical, down-to-earth teaching has inspired thousands of yogis all over the world.
Esther is also a lifelong student (most latterly studying with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield) and continually integrates new knowledge and insights into her teachings, including her online classes, live workshops, festivals, retreats and trainings.