Discover the more introspective side of yoga with these poses.
If you’re used to a more vigorous, sweaty yoga routine, you could be missing out on the softer side of the practice. Yin yoga is a quieter, more introverted style of yoga, but it is still just as challenging. It presents the kind of challenge that asks you to be completely still and let go of all tension, tightness and resistance. All of the poses are performed either seated or lying down, and all are held for several minutes at a time.
Follow the Yin sequence below and let your body and mind surrender to each pose.
By Kari-Ann Levine
Begin by sitting up tall on your sitting bones and bringing the soles of the feet together. Slide your heels about one to two feet away (based on your comfort level) from your pubic bone and allow your knees to fall out to either side. Take a deep inhale through the nose, and as you exhale, allow your spine to round and your head to drop closer to your feet as you walk your hands forward. Relax and observe the progression of this pose for about five minutes.
Heart Melting Pose
Enter into this pose by starting on all fours in tabletop position, and make sure your knees are directly beneath your frontal hipbones. Walk your hands forward and out, slightly wider than shoulder-width distance. Keep your arms outstretched and allow your chest to sink down towards the mat, while keeping your hips stacked over your knees. Rest your forehead on the ground and breathe slowly and softly here for three to five minutes.
From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot between your hands with toes facing forward. Drop your left knee to the floor and uncurl your left toes, resting the top of your left foot on the mat. While resting your hands on either side of your right foot, either on the floor or on a set of blocks, allow your right knee to flex deeply as your left hip melts towards the floor. You should feel deep sensation in the front of the left hip and thigh. Try to rest here for two to three minutes, eventually working your way up to hold for five to seven minutes.
To enter this twist, lay on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Then spread your arms to a “T” shape or bend the elbows into cactus arms and rest the backs of your hands on the floor with your palms facing up. Gently lower your bent knees all the way to the floor to the right of your yoga mat, and if it feels ok for your neck, gaze softly over the left shoulder. If your left shoulder lifts from the floor and is causing discomfort, bend your left elbow and rest your palm on your rib cage. With each breath, let go of any tension you may be holding on to and melt into this pose for five minutes on each side.
Lay flat on your stomach, resting your right cheekbone to the mat. Lift your left hand overhead and bend your left elbow. Allow your right arm to rest by your side, palm facing up. For some, softly bending the left knee and extending it off to the side will add additional comfort and ease. Spend about four minutes here and then switch sides, resting there for another four minutes.
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All images courtesy of Kari-Ann Levine / YogiApproved.com.