Man, I love the silence and the inward-turning nature of a solid Yin pose. That feeling of sinking in, breathing through the release and going deeper physically and emotionally is really second to none.
In case y’all didn’t know, Yin is about moving past the muscles and instead focuses on releasing those deep nooks and crannies – the ligaments, tendons, joints and even realigning the bones. Yin poses are usually floor-based and held for three to five minutes (or more if you’re feeling able). Deep connective tissue needs time to lengthen and release. Even if you don’t physically fall much deeper into the pose, you’ll probably still notice that nice energetic feeling of release from holding the pose for some time.
Using blankets and pillows helps to support the body so that the pose really works for you. In a Yin pose, you always want to let go softly, over time and sans force. There’s no destination, so go slow and don’t push yourself. It’s all about breathing (please breathe!) and sinking in little by little.
This pose is fantastic for stretching the lower back, releasing the whole length of the spine, opening the groin and softening the hips. Sitting on the edge of a blanket or on a pillow will be really helpful if your hips are tight.
If you need a bolster to prop you up, blocks under your knees or something else to make it feel more accessible, explore it and add it.
With the soles of your feet together, let your knees fall to the side. If your feet are further away from your groin, the lower back will be stretched and if your feet are close to your groin, your groin will receive more of a stretch.
If you do add props to make the pose more accessible, make sure that you’re still experiencing those physical sensations of lengthening and release.
A very important pose indeed. It is a great stretch for the backs of the legs and the length of the spine all while balancing the flow of Prana.
Extend your legs out in front of you with your feet hip distance apart or closer, depending on what feels best. There can be a slight bend in your knees and if you need to sit on a blanket or have a bolster handy, go for it.
Let your chin drop into your chest before you roll forward.
Your leg muscles should be soft and easy, with little tension. Let your hands and arms relax unless you can reach your feet in which case you can add that little bit of oomph by drawing yourself a touch deeper.
This pose might feel really “stuck” especially if you don’t have much rotation in your pelvis. That’s okay. Sit on a pillow and if you need to, roll up some towels and place them behind your knees if they’re quite bent. Open your legs as far as feels good and allow your body to fall forward.
Whether you move an inch or a foot is all the same. Stick with it and breathe. If you need support, place a bolster under your chest.
As you can see, I like a bit of a face-plant but it’s important to make sure your nose isn’t crushed and you can still breathe.
Try practicing these poses everyday for a week. Notice how you feel and how, just in this short time, your body starts to change and unfold. The meditative qualities of this practice make it wonderful for releasing tension, stress and for finding greater emotional freedom and softness.Image credit: The Yoga Emporium