7 Yin Yoga Poses for Backbends and Spinal Flexibility

/ 09:23:00
Are you working towards some deep backbends in your practice on the mat? These 7 poses will help you to improve your spinal mobility, along with getting in to the shoulders and chest.

😍 ONLINE YIN YOGA TEACHER TRAINING 😍 Get certified to teach! ❤️ http://bit.ly/yinytt

Are you working towards some deep backbends in your practice on the mat? These 7 poses will help you to improve your spinal mobility, along with getting in to the shoulders and chest.

Note that this is a pretty intense practice. I will offer some modifications, but if you have any sort of spinal injury this may not be the best class for you.

Please have 2 blocks ready (or a bolster for a gentler heart opener).


1. Melting Heart - Starting on your hands and knees, leave the hips stacked over the knees as you walk your hands out in front of you. Lower the forehead down towards the mat, or on to a block. Press the palms down in to the mat. Work on softening the heart down towards the mat. Focus on relaxing the area in between the shoulder blades. Draw the low belly in to protect the low back.

2. Sphinx - Ease forward on to your belly. Ground down through the forearms, with elbows underneath the shoulders. Spread the fingers and press in to the palms. Pull your heart forward, as you drag the forearms back energetically. Squeeze together the shoulder blades. Soften your belly in to the mat, as you ground down through the pubic bone. Reach the tailbone down towards your heels, and keep the pelvis neutral. Don't compress the neck here, use a subtle tuck of the chin to keep the neck long.

3. Laying Chest Opener - This pose will focus more on your shoulder flexibility, and get in to opening the chest. Extend your right arm out to the side, and bend the elbow at 90 degrees. Begin to roll on to your right side (right hip, shoulder, and ear). You may choose to bend your knees here. Push in to the left hand, or bring it on to the low back to take the stretch deeper. After a few moments here, slowly ease to the other side.

4. Advanced Melting Heart - If the first melting heart pose was a deep enough stretch for you, repeat the same version over again. You are also welcome to bring the elbows straight down to the floor or to the set of blocks. Keep your hips stacked over the knees. Lower the forehead down towards the ground (it may not touch, that's okay). Soften the chest towards the floor. Bring the hands together in prayer, bend your elbows and reach your thumbs towards the back of the neck. Feel this stretch in to your shoulders, chest, triceps and back of neck. This positioning of the arms is great if you are working towards poses that involve flipping your grip (i.e. king pigeon). When you are ready to come out of this pose, straighten your elbows and use the leverage of your forearms to lift back up.

5. Seal (with optional quad stretch) - Slide back on to your belly. You are welcome to repeat sphinx here, listen to what is right for your body. Or you can extend the arms in front of you, lifting the elbows off of the mat. Hold here for a few moments, or add in a quad stretch. Bring your left hand towards the center. Bend your right knee and catch hold of your foot, flipping it in. If this feels intense in your low back you can adjust your hand, lower the elbow, or release the foot. After about a minute and a half, switch sides.

6. Supported Fish - Prepare your two blocks, setting one up under the upper back (between the shoulder blades) and the other underneath your head. Blocks can be at whichever height works for you. You may either keep your soles on the mat, extend the legs straight in front of you, or drop the knees out to the side to add on some hip opening. Let the arms relax out to your sides, or if you are feeling really open you may bring the hands up overhead. If you start to experience any tingling or numbness in the arms, you may want to open the arms to cactus or bring down beside you.

7. Laying Spinal Twist - Finishing your practice with a twist after the deep back bends is a great way to release any pinching or tension in your low back. Lower all the way down to your back, feeling your spine flat on the ground. Open the arms out to your sides, or in to cactus. Shift your hips over to the right. Wrap the right thigh over the left, then drop both of your knees to the left. Soften in to the pose. Then repeat on other side.

Prefer to be guided along by visual and audio cues? Practice along with me in the video below.


Namaste,
Kassandra

 Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel



☮ Website: http://www.yogawithkassandra.com ☮ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kryoga ☮ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoga_with_k... Yoga with Kassandra - Disclaimer Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.
Are you working towards some deep backbends in your practice on the mat? These 7 poses will help you to improve your spinal mobility, along with getting in to the shoulders and chest.

😍 ONLINE YIN YOGA TEACHER TRAINING 😍 Get certified to teach! ❤️ http://bit.ly/yinytt

Are you working towards some deep backbends in your practice on the mat? These 7 poses will help you to improve your spinal mobility, along with getting in to the shoulders and chest.

Note that this is a pretty intense practice. I will offer some modifications, but if you have any sort of spinal injury this may not be the best class for you.

Please have 2 blocks ready (or a bolster for a gentler heart opener).


1. Melting Heart - Starting on your hands and knees, leave the hips stacked over the knees as you walk your hands out in front of you. Lower the forehead down towards the mat, or on to a block. Press the palms down in to the mat. Work on softening the heart down towards the mat. Focus on relaxing the area in between the shoulder blades. Draw the low belly in to protect the low back.

2. Sphinx - Ease forward on to your belly. Ground down through the forearms, with elbows underneath the shoulders. Spread the fingers and press in to the palms. Pull your heart forward, as you drag the forearms back energetically. Squeeze together the shoulder blades. Soften your belly in to the mat, as you ground down through the pubic bone. Reach the tailbone down towards your heels, and keep the pelvis neutral. Don't compress the neck here, use a subtle tuck of the chin to keep the neck long.

3. Laying Chest Opener - This pose will focus more on your shoulder flexibility, and get in to opening the chest. Extend your right arm out to the side, and bend the elbow at 90 degrees. Begin to roll on to your right side (right hip, shoulder, and ear). You may choose to bend your knees here. Push in to the left hand, or bring it on to the low back to take the stretch deeper. After a few moments here, slowly ease to the other side.

4. Advanced Melting Heart - If the first melting heart pose was a deep enough stretch for you, repeat the same version over again. You are also welcome to bring the elbows straight down to the floor or to the set of blocks. Keep your hips stacked over the knees. Lower the forehead down towards the ground (it may not touch, that's okay). Soften the chest towards the floor. Bring the hands together in prayer, bend your elbows and reach your thumbs towards the back of the neck. Feel this stretch in to your shoulders, chest, triceps and back of neck. This positioning of the arms is great if you are working towards poses that involve flipping your grip (i.e. king pigeon). When you are ready to come out of this pose, straighten your elbows and use the leverage of your forearms to lift back up.

5. Seal (with optional quad stretch) - Slide back on to your belly. You are welcome to repeat sphinx here, listen to what is right for your body. Or you can extend the arms in front of you, lifting the elbows off of the mat. Hold here for a few moments, or add in a quad stretch. Bring your left hand towards the center. Bend your right knee and catch hold of your foot, flipping it in. If this feels intense in your low back you can adjust your hand, lower the elbow, or release the foot. After about a minute and a half, switch sides.

6. Supported Fish - Prepare your two blocks, setting one up under the upper back (between the shoulder blades) and the other underneath your head. Blocks can be at whichever height works for you. You may either keep your soles on the mat, extend the legs straight in front of you, or drop the knees out to the side to add on some hip opening. Let the arms relax out to your sides, or if you are feeling really open you may bring the hands up overhead. If you start to experience any tingling or numbness in the arms, you may want to open the arms to cactus or bring down beside you.

7. Laying Spinal Twist - Finishing your practice with a twist after the deep back bends is a great way to release any pinching or tension in your low back. Lower all the way down to your back, feeling your spine flat on the ground. Open the arms out to your sides, or in to cactus. Shift your hips over to the right. Wrap the right thigh over the left, then drop both of your knees to the left. Soften in to the pose. Then repeat on other side.

Prefer to be guided along by visual and audio cues? Practice along with me in the video below.


Namaste,
Kassandra

 Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel



☮ Website: http://www.yogawithkassandra.com ☮ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kryoga ☮ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoga_with_k... Yoga with Kassandra - Disclaimer Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.
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This is a quick little yoga flow that you can do to increase your hip mobility, and overall flexibility. There is quite a bit of movement in these 7 poses and sequences, and they will work your hip joints in all ways.

😍 ONLINE YIN YOGA TEACHER TRAINING 😍 Get certified to teach! ❤️ http://bit.ly/yinytt

This is a quick little yoga flow that you can do to increase your hip mobility, and overall flexibility. There is quite a bit of movement in these 7 poses and sequences, and they will work your hip joints in all ways.

Without further ado, roll out your mat and have 2 blocks handy.

1. Reclined Butterfly Pose - Come to laying on your back. Bring the soles together to touch, then drop the knees out to the sides. If the knees are lifted, or you feel any discomfort in your low back or hips, you may opt to place blocks underneath the thighs. Place your hands where they are comfortable. Find some stillness here as you begin, connecting to the breath and bringing awareness to the body. Do a little body scan to notice any areas where you are experiencing tightness, stiffness, tension etc.

2. Half Happy Baby - Pull the right knee in towards the belly. You can stay here, or alternatively take it in to half happy baby. Grabbing the outer edge of the foot, or the big toe, flex the foot as you draw the knee towards the ground. Have the right elbow inside of the knee, pushing the knee out wider. You may opt to drop the opposite knee slightly towards the side. After a few breaths here, you can take it in to reclined pigeon, by crossing the right ankle over top of the left knee and flexing your foot. Then reach through with the hands to draw the legs in towards the belly.

Repeat 1 and 2 through on the other leg.

3. Table Top - Set up with the wrists under the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips. Start to trace big circles with the hips. Switching direction after a few rounds. Return to a neutral table top, then lift the right knee up. Open the knee out to the side, drop it down, then bring up through the midline - tracing circles. Keep the arms extended straight here, isolating the movement in to the right hip. Starting to work on your strength and stability in this pose.

4. Low Lunge - Step your right foot through between the hands at the top of your mat. Bring the blocks underneath your hands for extra lift. As you inhale, drop the pelvis down and lift your heart up in a little bit of a back bend. As you exhale, straighten your front leg. Flex the foot as you fold forward over the extended leg. Move fluidly back and forth between the two.

5. High Lunge - Tuck the back toes under, sweep the right leg up and back to three-legged dog. Bend your right knee and open up the hip. Trace big circles with the knee here. Taking note of any differences between the circles in table top versus downward dog. Then step your right foot through between the palms once more. This time keep the back knee lifted in high lunge. As you inhale, bend the knee and drop the pelvis. As you exhale, straighten the front leg and fold over coming in to a wider variation of pyramid pose. Repeat through a few times.

Take a vinyasa and then work through poses 3-5 on the other leg.

6. Rag-doll Forward Fold - Take your feet a bit wider than hip width. Bend your knees deeply, then clasp hold of opposite elbows. Sway gently side to side. Shake out the head, releasing the tension from the neck and upper back. Release the fingertips down to the ground, turn the toes out and heels in. Drop the hips down coming in to yogi squat. Bring the hands together at the heart as you open the knees wide and lift the crown of your head. As you inhale come in to the squat, as you exhale straighten the legs and fold over. Repeat a few times through.

7. Butterfly Forward Fold - Come down to a seat. Bring the soles of your feet together, and drop the knees out to the sides. You can hold on to the soles of the feet if that feels good. As you inhale, lift and lengthen the spine. Begin to tilt forward while keeping your back straight. When you come to a sticking point, release your arms, flip the palms up, and let your spine round. Surrender to gravity as you would in a yin pose. Relax your head, neck, shoulders and upper back.

Want to practice along with me for the quick 15 minute practice? Check out the YouTube video below.


Namaste,
Kassandra

 Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel


☮ Website: http://www.yogawithkassandra.com ☮ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kryoga ☮ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoga_with_k... Yoga with Kassandra - Disclaimer Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.

7 Poses for Hip Mobilitity

by on 08:26:00
😍 ONLINE YIN YOGA TEACHER TRAINING 😍 Get certified to teach! ❤️ http://bit.ly/yinytt This is a quick little yoga flow that you can do...
Guys.. I can't believe it!!
Tomorrow will be my 5 year anniversary on YouTube... Time fliieeesss
I'll be going LIVE on YouTube tomorrow to celebrate the 5 year milestone and I'll be doing a pretty cool giveaway as well (think app memberships, yin yoga teacher training scholarships, copies of my book... the good stuff!)
Don't worry if you can't make it live, you'll have a few days to enter the giveaway and I'll send an email with the replay and all the important info.
I should be live at around 1pm EST.
It's crazy how much things have changed since I uploaded my very first yoga class on April 5th, 2014. The video below is the first one I uploaded and it makes me cringe to watch but at the same time it's so nice to see how far I've come.
I still remember getting my first few subscribers, my first views, my first comments... I honestly had no idea my channel would eventually get as big as it is now! It's pretty mind blowing!
My production quality has certainly improved which you can see in this week's new YouTube yoga class! This is a 20 minute all levels sequence you can do in bed to help you fall asleep at night.
Of course, you can find all of these classes in my Yoga with Kassandra mobile app :) This week we launched a Meditation for Beginners series in the app and we also have a brand new "Spring Into Yoga" 30 day challenge!
Meditation for Beginners is a 6 class program designed to introduce you to various meditation techniques with Tesia Bryski as your guide!
Tesia is a psychotherapist and meditation teacher here in Ottawa, Canada. Her program includes six meditation videos which are 5-30 minutes long.
The series includes:
  • Focused Breathing Meditation (8 min)
  • Body Scan Meditation (20 min)
  • Awareness of Thought Meditation (12 min)
  • B-E-S-T Meditation (28 min)
  • IAA Method Meditation (25 min)
  • METTA Meditation (25 min)
The app also has a scheduling calendar, a journal and tons of other goodies.
Start your free 7 day trial by CLICKING HERE or heading to the app store on your phone or tablet.
PS - Just a gentle reminder that my Online Yin Yoga Teacher Training is closing down registration at the end of the month!
​Ok, that's it for now! Hope you'll watch me live tomorrow on YouTube at 1pm EST :) 
Let's Stay In Touch!
I have put together a list of 10 things I regularly make time for to better my mental, physical and emotional health.

😍 ONLINE YIN YOGA TEACHER TRAINING 😍 Get certified to teach! ❤️ http://bit.ly/yinytt

We all need to hit pause every now and then - to get out of our head and back to our body.

Self care isn't always something that comes naturally to us, even to me as a yoga teacher. However, I do make setting aside time in my day for self care a priority.

I have had to make it a conscious decision, and I have had to prioritize it. Doing so has made a huge difference in my life, and I want you all to benefit in this same way. Thus, I have put together a list of 10 things I regularly make time for to better my mental, physical and emotional health.

Note: This doesn't mean that I am amazing at doing all of these. I share them with you humbly, as over time I have gotten better at making each of these a priority.

1. Luxurious Bath - I set aside time for a nice long soak in the tub (I'm talking one and a half hours) at least once a week. When I'm setting up for my bath, I prepare something to indulge all five senses - candles, oils, a good book, a nice cup of tea etc. This is a time for myself, where I can recharge my batteries and feel my spirits lifted. Water itself is healing in many ways, you may find it therapeutic to think of the water washing over you, washing out all that you need to release internally (i.e. something that is stressing you out, or any nagging negativity).

2. Go Outside - Every single day! Open your door and go for a walk, get some fresh air and some Vitamin D. Even if you (like me) live in an area with long cold Winters. The fresh air and vitamin D has so many benefits. An action as simple as walking will get your heart rate up. It is also a great time for you to turn everything off, and quiet the mind. A nice added perk for me is these long quiet walks often result in a spark of creativity. Try taking a walk when you are stumped on something, see if the answer comes to you naturally when you stop thinking so hard about it.

3. Routine - Do you alternate your sleep schedule throughout the week, staying up late one night, getting up super early one morning? I find that when I don't have a set schedule for going to bed and waking up, it leads to feelings of anxiety, overwhelmed and stressed. That goes for work hours as well. More and more of us are working non-traditional jobs or side hustles and we never stop. I can't recommend enough that you set yourself a schedule (even if you aren't a 9-5'er). Figure out what works for you, and stick with it.

4. Going to Yoga or Dance - It may surprise you that this is the hardest one for me to be consistent at. While at home flows are great, it is so nice to get out of the house and in to a group setting. For me as a yoga teacher, it's inspiring and a change of pace to be guided by another teacher. To disconnect, relax the mind, and tune in to the body.

5. Massage or Athletic Therapy - I make it mandatory to have one session per month. Booking the session in advance, so that it is scheduled in just like any other important appointment, and you have no choice but to go. Schedule these in when you're feeling great, not waiting until you are in dire need. You may find in those times where your mental health isn't great, that you feel too busy for self care, so get ahead of yourself!

6. Art - This can look like so many different things to different people. Draw, paint, sculpt - whatever it is, creating something is so therapeutic. Again, getting you out of your head and in touch with the creative process. If you're intimidated by art, start with an adult coloring book to get the creative juices flowing.

7. Reduced Social Media Use - You, like the old me, might feel you need to be on it all the time. To be connected to everyone. Stop suffering from the FOMO. Do a social media purge, rid your timelines of the noise, the people that make you feel unworthy. Instead, follow only those that make you feel good when you see what they share. Post less often, enjoy the moment as you're in it. I can almost guarantee you will feel less stressed as a result.

8. Say No - Don't be a yes man! You don't need to justify or provide a reason for it either. And if they push back, maybe it's time to reflect and consider that relationship. Your mental health is more important. You are allowed to set your own personal boundaries.

9. Beauty - This one might sound vain, but there is something about making a bit of effort towards your appearance. It can be as simple as getting dressed every day, thinking consciously about putting an outfit together and getting out of pajamas. And/or setting up a skin care routine for morning and night. It boosts your self esteem, makes you feel more professional. As someone that works from home, it was an easy trap to fall in to to never get ready in the morning. But I've found that when I look good, I feel good.

10. Therapy - If you take any one point from this, I hope that it's this one! Try out regular talk therapy. It has enriched my life in so many ways and I wish that it didn't have so much stigma around it. I think of it like an oil change, going in for regular maintenance of the mind. Find a therapist that understands you, the fit is so important. I also understand that therapy can be pricey, but don't feel like you need to commit to weekly sessions - start by saving up for one hour. You will continue processing what comes up well after you walk out of their office.

Want to hear more from me on each of these, watch the full chatty candid video below.



Think I missed something? Please feel free to share with me your top tips for self care!

Namaste,
Kassandra

 Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel

☮ Website: http://www.yogawithkassandra.com ☮ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kryoga ☮ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoga_with_k... Yoga with Kassandra - Disclaimer Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.


Top 10 Self Care Practices

by on 10:53:00
😍 ONLINE YIN YOGA TEACHER TRAINING 😍 Get certified to teach! ❤️ http://bit.ly/yinytt We all need to hit pause every now and then - to...
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