You’re a busy yogi and you can’t always make it to class to get your daily dose of Yin in! You want a practice that you can take with you when you travel. Or you want to be able to practice at home but without needing to fill your tiny sacred home space with props.
I hear you loud and clear! And just for you, here are 5 Yin Yoga poses you can do wherever you are, without any props whatsoever. Just roll out a mat if you have one, but even that is optional.
Yin yoga poses are typically held between 3 and 5 minutes, if you are newer to the practice you may want to set yourself a timer on the lower end of this to know when you can ease out of each pose.
Remember this is a passive practice, you should not have any muscular engagement. Ideally the Yin practice will be done early in the day, when your muscles are cold.
Find your edge. Be still. Hold the pose.
Yin on yogis!
1. Butterfly Pose – Find a comfortable seat, bringing the soles of the feet together to touch and letting the knees fall apart. The feet can be closer or farther from the groin, depending on what feels good to you. If you feel any discomfort in the low back for example, take the feet further away. Sit tall, finding length through the torso. Hinge forward over the legs to take the forward fold. Walk the hands forward without pushing and pulling as you round the spine. As you don’t have any props, let yourself soften in to the shape and allow gravity to take you deeper. Soften the neck, so your head dangles. Once you have found the shape that works for you today, let the tension melt away and take deep breaths while you hold here. Notice if you are holding any tension in the upper body, release it along with any expectations you have for what the pose should look like. After your designated time has passed, start to push up inch by inch, vertebrae by vertebrae. Take the feet wide and windshield wiper the knees side to side before moving to the next pose.
2. Deer Pose – From a seat, bring the left shin parallel to the front of your mat. Then align the right shin with the right long side of your mat. Both knee bents at 90 degree angles. Flex both feet to protect your knees. A couple of options here. If you want to get a deeper stretch in to the left hip, fold forward over your left thigh. To put more focus in to the internal hip rotation, keep pushing the right hip down as you bring your hands back behind you. You can stay lifted here, or maybe lower down on to your forearms. This is a great pose for yogis to do on a regular basis, as there aren’t many poses in the practice which focus on inner hip rotation (we do a lot of external hip rotation). When the time has come to ease out of the pose, do so mindfully. Then carefully set up to take the pose on the other side.
3. Reclining Leg Stretch 3 – Lower down on to your back. Draw the right knee in to your belly. Extend the left leg straight out. Taking a twist from here. Bring your right knee across to the left. Reach your right arm straight out to the side. Use your left hand to guide the right leg down. Opt to keep the knee bent here, or straighten the leg to get deep in to the IT band. If taking the latter option, move the left hand down the leg to the shin, or maybe even your ankle. After a few minutes here, slowly roll flat on to your back and then switch legs.
4. Banana Pose – Time for a nice juicy lateral side body stretch. Stay reclined on your back, just bend your knees and bring the feet flat. Lift the hips up and shift them over to the right, then lower back down. Extend the legs and walk the heels over the left. Extend your arms up overhead, clasping hold of opposite elbows. If you notice your right hip lifting up off of the mat, try to push it down. Maybe even cross your right ankle over the left one to deepen the intensity. Keep your collarbone open, and shoulders square to the ceiling. Get nice and comfy here, finding your breath in its natural rhythm. Imagine you can breathe down in to the side waist. When the time has come, ease back to center and switch to the other side. Making sure to hold the same amount of time on both sides.
5. Happy Baby – Staying on your back, hug the knees in to the belly. Take them wide, towards the sides of the body. It may feel nice to stay here. Or you can lift the feet up, catching hold of the big toes or soles of the feet. Keep the elbows inside of the legs. Ground your tailbone down to the ground. Pull the feet down, drawing your thighs to the ground and keeping the hips grounded.
Don’t forget to finish your practice with Savasana! Held for at least 5 minutes, to integrate all the work that you have done in your practice.
More of an auditory practitioner? Follow along with the video below.
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