Paulie Zink has been teaching yoga for over 35 years. He was born in the 1950's and grew up in an apartment in Hollywood, California. He began doing Hatha and Sivananda yoga when he was 14 by watching Lilias Folan and Richard Hittleman on PBS television. He also studied "The Complete Book of Yoga" by Swami Vishnudevananda. Back then Paulie was just a kid of average flexibility. A couple of years later he started taking kung fu lessons at a local martial arts school and combined this training with his yoga practice. Then, when he was in college, he met a fellow student who did Tai Chi. Paulie and his friend would practice kung fu together on the campus lawn.
Paulie noticed another classmate who would often watch them from a distance. One day this man approached Paulie and told him that his kung fu was lousy. Paulie later learned that this man was a kung fu and chi kung master from Hong Kong named Cho Chat Ling. Master Cho began teaching Paulie and eventually chose Paulie to become his sole protege.
For ten years Master Cho came to Paulie’s home and trained him privately. He taught Paulie the Chinese Taoist arts of chi kung and yoga as well as three distinct styles of Taoist kung fu: Monkey, Tei Tong (ground rolling), and Pek Kwar. Master Cho had been traditionally trained in secret as the protege of his uncle in Hong Kong. He wanted to introduce this unusual art of kung fu to the west. He recognized in Paulie the tenacity of spirit and athletic potential necessary to meet this aim.
At Master Cho’s insistence, Paulie competed in dozens of martial arts tournaments in the solo “empty hands” and “weapons” divisions. He won the grand championship in all of the them, often in both categories. His competition career culminated with him winning the Grand Championship at the Long Beach International Karate Championships for three consecutive years.
Paulie has greatly expanded upon the Taoist tradition of yoga that his master transmitted to him by incorporating what he learned from his own study, practice, and personal insights. Paulie explains his motivations for developing his unique
and comprehensive system that he now calls Yin yoga (or Yin and Yang yoga) by saying:
“Once I started Hatha yoga, I loved doing it but I was disappointed in that it was limited in the ability to flow and to actually open up to an art form. The same was true with the Taoist style I learned. I wanted something that was completely free and open and creative, rather than something that was limiting. And my master had limited thinking too. He taught in the traditional way that he had been taught. That’s the reason I decided to create my own art form. I didn’t want anyone telling me that I was doing it wrong if I was doing it my way because my way felt like the real art form to me. It was my own dance.
And if I was told that I had to do it someone else’s way then it didn’t feel right. I wanted something that was true to myself.”
Interview with Paulie Zink- Yoga International Magazine
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Yin Yoga Founder Paulie Zink