We all do it. We seem to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Always hiking them up towards our ears. And then add to that that we all end up rounding forward typing at our keyboards and phones (oops, caught myself doing it there too).
Try these 7 yin poses out to find some relief today.
Hold each one for about 3 minutes or so.
You will want to have a set of two blocks, a bolster or some sturdy cushions/pillows/rolled up blankets.
1. Breathing – Lay down on your back. Bring feet flat to the floor, with the knees bent. Reach the arms up overhead. Press the low back into the floor. Ground the entire length of your spine. Inhale and exhale through the nose. As you inhale, balloon up the belly, puffing it out. As you exhale, try and press the chest and ribs down while keeping the belly lifted up like balloon. Imagine someone pressing on the chest, while you’re still keeping the belly lifted. Do about 10 rounds or so.
2. Twist – Move hips over to the right. Drop both knees to the left. Open the right arm to the side in a cactus shape. Press the right shoulder to the mat. Emphasize reaching the right hip and right shoulder away from one another. Use the left hand to guide the thigh down. Closing eyes, breathing deeply. After holding for a few minutes. Lift up and ease over to the other side.
3. Straight Legged Forward Fold – Come to sit. Extending the legs out in front of you. Use blocks or props. Feet hip width apart. Let the spine round and head be heavy, tucking the chin in. Stretching entire posterior chain. Use a prop to support your forehead if you like. Soften the shoulders away from the ears. As you hold the pose, you may be able to get a little deeper naturally, but don’t force it.
4. Child’s Pose Variation – Lift up to hands and knees. Keeping the knees a bit closer than normal. Press the hips back to the heels. Reach arms out about shoulder width apart with palms flat to the floor. Emphasize melting the heart to the mat, releasing the tension between the shoulder blades. Bring the chin to the mat, rather than forehead, if it feels okay in your neck to do so. If the floor is too far away, place a block underneath the forehead.
5. Sphinx – Come to lay on the belly, with legs extended back behind you. Bring the forearms to the mat, or to intensify, bring the elbows up onto blocks placed at the top of your mat. Let the chest melt down as you lightly squeeze the shoulder blades back, to focus this more in the mid to upper back. Roll the shoulders down and back. Lightly press the pubic bone into the floor, lengthening tailbone to the heels.
6. Melting Heart – Return to table top, keeping hips over heels. Walk the hands out in front of you. Grip hold of the top corners of the mat if you like. Melt the forehead down to the mat. Emphasize pressing the chest and armpits down towards the mat. Pull the naval in, so as to not be bending into the low back.
7. Supported Fish – Set up one block horizontally on its lowest level. This will be directly under the upper back as you lower down to lay. Extend the legs out. Relax the head down to the mat. Extend arms over head if appropriate. Wiggle as needed to find appropriate position for block. If you can’t take deep breaths it is an indication that the pose is too deep and you need to ease out slightly.
These poses come from a 45 minute yin yoga practice to target mid, upper back and chest. Check it out below.