I often get asked what are my personal at home routines, my favorite poses, and what my time on the mat looks like, well this is the sequence I’ve been turning to time and again.
The five poses outlined below will target the hips and the spine in particular, as well as the back of the legs and the shoulders. You will find an increased flexibility overall with this as a regular part of your routine.
A few things to keep in mind:
Yin is a passive practice. We are not trying to use any muscular effort or energy in these poses. Relax into them instead.
As you practice keep in mind the three principles of Yin. 1. Find Your Edge. 2. Be Still. 3. Hold the Pose.
Hold each one of these poses or each one of the sides of the poses for 3-5 minutes.
You might want to have a set of blocks available for this class. If you don’t have any some pillows or couch cushions will do as well.
- Butterfly Fold – From a seat, bring the soles of the feet together and drop the knees out to the sides. You decide, how close you want to bring your heels in towards you. Walk the arms out in front of you. Relax the head and shoulders, and let the spine round. If it feels right, you can prop the chest up on some blocks or cushions, or allow yourself to dangle.
2. Half Butterfly – Extend the right leg out to the side. Bringing the left foot to the inner thigh.Rotate slightly to face the right shin. Begin to fold down, letting gravity do the work. Again you may want to use blocks or pillows to prop up here. Getting an opening through the back of the right leg as well as the left side of the body. Avoid pushing and pulling your way into the pose. Find slow steady breaths as you hold the pose.
Repeat on the other side, keeping in mind that it is normal to feel different from side to side.
3. Reclined Hero/Saddle – If you have yoga blocks set them up on the second level with one lengthwise between the shoulder blades and the other horizontally supporting the head. You can also set your cushions up behind you as well. Start kneeling with the thigh bones parallel to the longer edges of the mat. Keep the knees hip width distance apart. Bring the shins outside of the thighs. With the tops of the feet on the floor, press all ten toes into the floor. If your knees are already feeling uncomfortable here, taking a supported fish pose instead, extending the legs out in front of you. Lift and tuck the tail slightly. Feeling the stretch in the front of the thighs. Lower down onto your props, or flat on your back. You might want to extend your arms up overhead or to rest them alongside the body. If you feel any pinching or pain it is a good indication you’ve gone too far, ease out.
4. Thread the Needle – Come to hands and knees. Reach the right arm underneath, lowering the shoulder and ear to the floor. Notice if your hips have shifted to the left, push into the right hip. Staying stacked over the knees. Keep the left hand in or reach it out in front of you. Push into the palm slightly. The further you get the right arm underneath you, the more you will feel this in the upper back and shoulder. Make sure you aren’t compressing the neck in any way.
5. Baby Dragon – Lifting back to hands and knees, step the right foot up to the top of the mat. Bring blocks under the hands or hold here. Relax the hips, soften the shoulders and the chest.
Repeat 4 and 5 on the other side.
Want a full hour long Yin Yoga practice without worrying about what’s next or if you’ve been in the pose long enough? Check out the video below.