Updated: May 3
Most of the days, I can place my yoga practice in the range of mindful slow Vinyasa flow. Topping that with my teaching, it's quite a lot of movement as I truly and utterly adore practising and teaching yoga. And over the last couple of years, I grew to appreciate the importance of an antidote to all that Yang Energy. I found the oasis of Yin Yoga, a small paradise I try to visit once a week.
With this easy-to-follow and practise Yin Yoga sequence you can use it anytime you feel you need a power boost, deeply relaxing, and restoring. Let's get started.
Lay all the way down with your legs straight and gently turned outwardly, place your hands by your side with the palms facing upwards and shoulders relaxed. Start taking deep breaths and mentally relaxing the body. Give permission for everything else to be put aside for now and any worries to melt away and whenever they might come back during the practice bring the awareness back to your body and breath.
Bananasana with arms straight
From laying down stretched your arms above the head and clasp your hands or elbows. Press softly your buttocks down towards the mat, move your feet and upper body to the right. Arch like a banana by shifting the hips to the left.
Keep the hips on the floor. Find a comfortable edge. Stay mindful and aware of the sensations in the body. Allow yourself just to be. When you feel your body starts relaxing into the pose, move both feet and hands further to the right. Go only as deep as it feels good. Stay 3 mins and come back to the centre. Hug the knees in the chest and switch sides!
Stretches the whole body
Opens the ribs and chest area
Stretches stomach muscles and intercostal muscles
Works on the iliotibial band
Meridian lines of the Gall Bladder are addressed on our side, and the Heart, Lungs and Intestines are stimulated along the arms
From bananasana come on all force and sit on your heels and bring your head down towards the floor, on a pillow or on a block.
Arms can be either stretched out to the front, by your side, or hands underneath your forehead. Hold the pose for 3 to 5 minutes. Stay aware of the present moment and allow the thoughts to pass as the clouds on the sky. To come out, roll up vertebra by vertebra, the head comes up last.
Massages the organs of digestion through gentle compression.
Gently stretches the spine and the ankles.
Calms the mind.
Stimulates the Urinary Bladder meridian along the spine.
Can stimulate Spleen or Kidney meridians through compression
Cat and Cow
•From Child pose, come back to hands and knees position. Knees hips distance apart, hands shoulders distance apart.
•Shift the hips from side to side. Inhale bring the chest forward and arch the back. Lift the tailbone up towards the sky and press firmly the palms.
•Exhale draw the navel in and bring the chin down towards the chest and round the back. Tuck your tailbone under and forward towards the pubic bone. The head is heavy.
•Inhale open the chest forward and slide the shoulder blades back. Exhale round the back. Continue 5 to 10 rounds.
Downward Facing Dog
From Cat and Cow, start lifting the knees of the floor and pushing the hips up towards the sky, while pressing the palms actively down. Keep the knees bend if your back is rounding or the calves are too tight. Keep opening the armpits outwardly. Stay 10 breaths.
Melting Heart pose
On your hands and knees, walk your hands forward, allowing your chest to drop toward the floor. Keep your hips right above your knees. If possible, keep your hands shoulder-width apart. You can also place your head on a pillow or a block. Stay 2-3 minutes.
A nice backbend for the upper and middle back
Will also open shoulders
Softens the heart
The compression along the spine stimulates the Urinary Bladder lines.
By stretching the chest your Stomach and Spleen lines can also be stimulated.
From Melting Heart, come back to hands and knees and lie down on your belly. Stack your shoulders directly above the elbows. Measure your elbows are shoulder-distance apart. Press gently the forearms towards the floor and splash your fingers firmly on the ground in front of you like a sphinx.
Notice how this feels in your lower back. If the sensations are too strong, move your elbows further ahead, lowering your chest closer to the floor.
Relax your buttocks and spread the legs a few inches. Keep the neck long and breastbone slightly moving forward and up. Feel the opening at the heart centre and allow it to breathe in and out from the chest.
Stay 2 minutes. To come out, slowly lower your chest to the floor. Turn your head to one side and rest your cheek on your palms. You might also wiggle your hips side to side.
Sphinx pose can also help ease lower back pain and stiffness.
Works on the Urinary Bladder and Kidney lines as they run through the lower back and sacrum.
Affects the Stomach and Spleen meridians along the top of the legs.
Helps to stimulate the kidneys and adrenal glands through gentle compression.
The half butterfly is a wonderful yin yoga pose. Meridian lines stimulated is the gall bladder and urinary bladder. When the gall bladder is not in harmony emotions of anger, irritability, anger, could be more apparent. When the Urinary bladder is imbalanced this could manifest as a lack of energy and a negative attitude.
From sphinx come back to all force and practised few rounds of cat and cow poses( and lift in Downward facing dog if you have a bigger need to stretch out). On the exhale come to sitting with your right leg outstretched in front of you. Place your left foot at the inner thing of the right leg.
Bend sideways and place your right elbow on the top of the thigh or block( pillow). Bring your left palm to meet the right hand at the back of the head.
Be aware of the sensations on the side of the body and shoulders. Mentally relax in the stretch. Stay 3 minutes and slap sides.
Stretches the lower back without requiring loose hamstrings
Targets the ligaments along the back of the spine
Reach the opposite hand to the extended foot and/or lower that shoulder to emphasize the side of the spine
Urinary Bladder is affected
The Liver and Kidneys are stimulated
It helps to lengthen the ligaments that run along the spine, activates the hamstrings, and compresses the abdomen which helps for digestion. It also triggers the Urinary Bladder channel that runs along the backline of the legs and along either side of the spine.
From the previous position extend both legs straight out in front of you. Fold forward over the legs. You can place a pillow below your chest or head. Allow your body to gradually melt in the pose, by leaving the outside world behind. Stay 3-5 minutes.
If your hamstrings are really tight, bend your knees.
Thread the needle
•Come onto hands and knees. Knees are hips distance apart. Stretch the right hand in front and slide the left hand below the right. If not possible to lower the shoulder and ear on the mat, you can use a pillow or soft blanket.
• Inhale lengthen the spine, exhale twist to left, allowing to open the left side of the torso and left armpit towards the ceiling.
• Stay 2 mins on each side. Inhale return to the centre, on exhale repeat on the other side.
Lie on your back with your arms align with your shoulders.
On the exhale bring your knees over to the right.
Support your knees with a pillow or block if they are not touching the floor.
Hold the pose for 3 to 5 minutes.
To come out of the pose, bring your knees over your hips and repeat on the other side.
Imagine you are detoxifying away any unwanted feelings and thoughts.
And now is time for sweet Savasana. Lie all the way down, turn your feet out to the side, relax the shoulders and bring the palms facing upwards. Fully surrender and let the inhales and exhales just come and go, and you being just the observer. Stay 5-10 minutes.
Savasana activates the parasympatheric nervous system, and all the amazing benefits coming from this.
Watch the video and practise with me on Youtube.