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It can be hard to keep up your yoga practice when you are constantly on the go. It can be even harder to keep it up when you need a bunch of props in order to complete the online practices you find. But you and I both know that when you are constantly on the move, be it for travel or for work, is when you most need a nice juicy stretchy yin class.
In comes this much requested addition to my No Props Yin Yoga series!
All you need is yourself and your mat, and even the mat is optional.
Before the first pose, start with a seated meditation. Sitting however is comfortable for you, tet the eyes close. Melt the shoulders away from the ears. Rest your hands on the legs. Do a relaxing body scan. Beginning with the crown of your head, invite it to relax. Continue working your way down the body, relaxing each part as you go. Breathe in to the silence at the end. Take a moment to observe the state of relaxation you’ve created within yourself.
Remember the 3 principles of Yin Yoga and apply them to this practice.
1. Find Your Edge (where there is sensation but no pain)
2. Hold The Pose (for between 2 and 6 minutes)
3. Be Still (refrain from fidgeting, turning inward)
1. Half Butterfly – From your seated meditation, extend the right leg out long. Bring the sole of the left foot to rest on the inner right thigh. Take a slight twist, in order to frame the extended leg, with hands down on either side of the thigh. Begin to fold over the extended leg, letting gravity do the work rather than pushing and pulling in to the shape. You can dangle the head here, or if close enough to the ground you may be able to use your hands to prop the head up. Whatever feels right for your body today. Hold here for 2+ minutes. Then gently lift yourself up, taking your time to go inch by inch. Repeat on the other side.
2. Wide-Legged Child’s Pose – Come to kneeling on all fours. Bring the big toes together. Take the knees as wide as feels good today, the wider the knees the deeper the stretch. Reach your hips back towards your heels. Walk the hands forward, bringing your forehead down to rest on the mat (or to stacked fists if you need a bit of support). Take your time to settle in to the shape you will be able to hold. Then breathe into the pose for the desired length (2 or so minutes).
3. Thread the Needle – Come up in to table top. Slide the left arm underneath you, reaching the fingers toward the right. Coming down on to the left shoulder and left ear. Keep your right elbow bent or extend the arm out towards the front. Press in to the palm to open further in to the twist, stacking the right shoulder over the left. Check in that your hips have stayed in line over the knees. Send the breath in to the upper back. Hold here for a couple of minutes. Then mindfully ease your way back to table top. Take a few rounds of cat/cow, then repeat the pose on the other side.
4. Sphinx – Slide on the the belly. Bringing the forearms to the ground in front of you. Bringing the elbows in line with the shoulders and palms flat on to the ground. Point the toes back. Slide the forearms back to shine the heart forward. If you feel any pinching in the low back, walk the elbows forward, or if you want to intensify the back bend you can bring the elbows in further.
5. Laying Chest Opener – Lay flat on the front, and extend your right arm out to the side. Keeping it long, or bending the elbow at 90 degrees so the fingers point to the front. Using your left hand for support, begin to roll onto your right side body (right hip, right shoulder, right ear). You may want to bend the knees or leave the legs long. Leave the left hand down on the mat, or bring it to rest on your low back. You can play with the placement of the right arm to find a position in which you can fully relax. After holding here, ever so carefully return to your front, then set up on the left side.
6. Reclined Pigeon – Roll on to your back, with knees bent and soles of feet on the mat. Cross your right ankle over the left knee. You may choose to use your right hand to guide the knee open towards the right side. Stay here with the left foot grounded. Or lift the left foot up and hug the legs towards you. Keeping the head and shoulders relaxed down to the mat as you do so. Repeat on the other side.
7. Happy Baby – Hug both knees in the chest, taking them wide towards the side body. This might be enough for you. Or you may kick the heels up, clasping hold of the outer edges of the feet with the hands. Drawing the knees towards the floor, working to stack the ankles over the knees. Once again, the head and shoulders should stay on the mat here.
End your practice with a nice savasana. Going back to the body scan from the top of the class.
Prefer to not have to worry about time, and just surrender to the practice? Practice along with the video below.
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