Yin yoga is without a doubt a great way to increase your overall flexibility. If you have been practicing for a while, it might be time to step your Yin practice up. These 6 poses offer variations on standard asanas to level up your flexibility.
As you make your way into each of these passive poses, take some time to find comfort. Somewhere you feel sensation but not pain. Where you will be able to find stillness. And then hold each pose for 3-5 minutes.
Have 2 blocks at the ready, or maybe some cushions/bolster.
1. Saddle Pose Variation – Prepare the blocks behind you, so the first is lengthwise between the shoulder blades and the second will be horizontal supporting the head. Extend the left leg in front of you. Bring the right foot back. Keep the thighs parallel to long edges of mat and hip width apart. Get the top of the right foot flat on the mat. Lift up and try to tuck the tailbone. Start to lower down. Maybe making it down to the blocks, staying on the forearms, or up on the hands. If it is too intense, tough to breathe, or experiencing pinching and tingling, then lift up higher. Relax fully into the pose. Breathing slow and steady. After desired length ease up out of the pose and then switch sides.
2. Frog Variation – Lay down on the belly. As if doing butterfly, bring the soles of the feet together and the knees wide. Feet may or may not lower down to the mat. Pad your forehead with the forearms, the palms, or turn onto one cheek. Relax the muscles in the legs, letting them gradually open up. Breathe into the pose. To ease out, straighten the legs and bring the feet closer together.
3. Sphinx – Prop up on the forearms, with elbows under the shoulders. Point the toes back. Roll the shoulders down and away from the ears. Lengthen out, reaching your tailbone to the heels. Push the pubic bone down into the mat. Broaden through the chest.
4. Swan Pose with Thread the Needle – Come up to hands and knees. Bring the left knee behind the left wrist. Extend the right leg out. If you are lifted up high, prop the hips with a block. Fold down from here to take a standard version of the pose. Or reach the right arm under you towards the left side. Lower down onto the right shoulder and right ear. Push into the left hand to twist deeper. Or bring the left hand behind you, maybe catching hold of the left foot. After the determined time, slowly exit the pose, coming to table top. Take some stretches that the body is asking for, before setting up on the second side.
5. Puppy Pose with Blocks – From table top, keep the hips over the knees. Bring the elbows down onto the blocks, pressing the palms together. Soften the forehead down to the mat. Bend the elbows and bring fingers to the back of the neck. Melt and relax your heart down to the floor. Release tension from the upper back. Take slow, steady breaths.
6. Happy Baby Variation – Lower down onto the back. Pull the knees in to the belly. Clasp hold of the feet. Take standard pose, by stacking the ankles over the knees and pressing the knees open with the elbows. Or extend the legs out straight. Keep the tailbone pressing into the floor.
If you would prefer to practice Yin without worrying about the clock, press play on the video below to let me guide you through these poses.
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