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Sometimes you just need to give your whole body a little maintenance and TLC. To take a time out for a nice long and beautiful stretch. For those times, you can turn to these 7 yin yoga poses.
All you need is one block and your mat.
1. Foot Stretch – Come to kneeling with your toes untucked. Sit back on your heels. Bring your hands behind you, and start to lean your weight back. Lift the shins and knees off of the mat. Getting a stretch in to the tops of the feet. Lift up through the chest. This pose doesn’t need to be held for as long as the remaining yin yoga poses, just 10 breaths or so.
2. Malasana – From standing, take your feet a bit wider than hip width. Turn the toes out and heels in slightly. Start to sink the hips down. You may want to bring a block underneath your hips to sit on if your heels are lifted. Bring your hands together in prayer, use your elbows to push your knees open wider. Reach the crown of your head up towards the sky. Relax your shoulders down away from your ears.
3. Dangling – This is the only standing pose in Yin Yoga. Bring the feet parallel to the long edges of your mat. Keep your knees bent and fold the belly over the thighs. Stretching through the posterior chain (the muscles that go all the way up the back body). This pose can also be done against the wall, or you can place your hands on to some blocks to modify. Let the head and neck relax as you hold the pose for a couple of minutes.
4. Side Sphinx – Come down on to your right hip and straighten the legs out. Stack them one on top of the other. The further the right hand is away from you, the gentler the side body stretch. You can also come down on to your forearm. Or alternatively the closer you walk the hand, the deeper the side body stretch. The left hand can rest down in front of you for added support. You can soften in to the right shoulder and breathe in to the side body as you hold this pose for a couple of minutes. Then switch sides.
5. Swan – Come in to four legged table top, then bring your right knee behind your right wrist. Extend your left leg further back behind you. Level the pelvis over the front shin, you can place a block under your glute for added support. Start to fold down over the right shin. Placing the forehead on a block, on your fists, or the forearms. Repeat on the other side.
6. Child’s Pose – If you would prefer to make this pose more restorative you can bring the knees together. Or to work more on your flexibility, widen the knees further away and the toes together. Relax forward, extending the arms in front of you. Soften in to the pose, letting the belly relax and reaching the hips towards the heels.
7. Supported Bridge – Lay down on to your back. Slide a block at the desired height underneath the tailbone. For a more restorative version, you can leave the knees bent. Or deepen the back bend by extending the legs out straight. Take time to move the block to find the spot which is most comfortable for you. Rest the arms wherever is comfortable for you. Breathe in to the belly.
Prefer to be guided through your practice by visual and audio aids? Practice along with the full hour practice video below.
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