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If flexibility is your goal, Yin Yoga is the answer! If flexibility in your lower body is the target, these 7 poses will help you reach it!
These will work the outer and inner thighs, the glutes, the hips, the pelvis, and the low back.
In any Yin practice, always keep in mind to find your edge and respect it. Take some time to find the right version of the pose for you, where you can feel sensation but not pain. Settle in, and then hold the pose for 3-5 minutes. Listen to your body, if you need to leave or ease off the pose do so.
1. Reclined Butterfly – Start laying down on your back. Bend the legs, draw the soles together to touch, and drop the knees to the sides. Close any gaps under the knees with props if you want. Perhaps, reach the hands up overhead. Stay with your breath, relaxing in to the pose. After 2-5 minutes, lift the knees up and drop them together to counter the pose for a few breaths.
2. Sleeping Pigeon – Cross the right ankle over the left thigh. Stay with your left foot grounded or use your arms to pull the knees in towards you. Keep your head and shoulders down. Using just a bit of engagement in the arms, relax all of the low body. Feeling a bit of sensation in the outer thigh and glute.
Repeat on the other side.
3. Shoelace – Stack your right knee over the left one. Close the gap with a block or cushion if you want, or prop the hips up with some props. Take the heels as close or as far from the body as you want. Stay lifted up, or fold forward letting gravity pull you deeper. You may also want to support the forehead here with a prop, or let it dangle.
4. Deer Pose – Bring the right shin parallel to the front of your mat, and knee straight out from the hip. Take the left shin parallel to the long edge of your mat, knee in line with the hip. So you have two roughly 90 degree angles in the legs. You may want to fold forward here. Or bring the hands back behind you as pictured. This will get a big stretch in the left hip and thigh, and work more on internal rotation. Breathe in to the area you are most feeling.
Repeat 3 and 4 on the other side.
5. Dragon Flying Low – From kneeling, step your right foot forward between the hands. Align your right knee over the ankle. You might want to pad the back knee here. Use blocks under the hands if the floor seems a bit too far. Let your belly rest over the thigh. This is one of the most intense Yin poses, honor how it’s making you feel and ease off if needed.
6. Swan – Inch the right foot to the left side of your mat, and bring the right knee down behind your right wrist. To keep your hips squared, you might want to prop the right glute up. Stay up, lower to the forearms, or all the way down to the floor.
Repeat 5 and 6 on the other leg.
7. Half Happy Baby – Lay down again. Bring the right knee in towards you, opening it up to the side. Clasp the sole of your foot. Trying to stack the ankle over the knee, with the sole facing up. Let your left knee flop out to the side to counter. Draw the right thigh down towards the floor. Use just a little arm strength, but relax everything else. Repeat on the other leg.
Want a full 1-hour Yin Yoga Hip Opening practice? Check out the video below.
Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
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