Hallelujah for the beautiful weather that has finally arrived! Sunshine, warm breezes, and sandals remind us of the impending hotter months ahead and perhaps push us to transition our personal practice or workouts to something more fiery. Finding balance, however, is necessary to remain grounded, particularly as we continue through the transitional season of Spring- enter the Yin to your Yang practice.
The goal of Yin Yoga is to move out of the muscle and targeting the connective tissue of the body, which is generally not worked on as much in your more dynamic asana practices. Additionally, Yin can support your efforts to feel more rooted and grounded and what we do on our mat can certainly translate to our life off of the mat. If you can’t get into the studio for one of our Yin classes, try the below 20 minute sequence at home (courtesy of Alexis) to detox and reset your body and mind. This sequence focuses on detoxing your body and nourishing your digestion - supporting your efforts to "spring clean" your physical being and cultivating a healthy and whole body.
What you'll need:
- A timer (you can use your phone but make sure it's on silent!)
- Two blocks (No blocks? No worries- substitute with pillows!)
- Two Blankets
As you prepare for your practice, think of fully supporting your body with your props to allow yourself to move naturally deeper into the posture, without bringing your muscles online. You will begin each asana where it's comfortable but you feel some sensation and then through the first 3 minutes, feel free to begin to remove a prop, allowing you to go deeper into the pose.
1. Begin with a 3 minute seated meditation.
Find yourself in any comfortable position, and cultivate an easy breath. Bring your awareness to your belly - simply notice how you feel. Feel free to set an intention during this time around nourishing your stomach. (Optional: place a block under your seat)
2. Bring yourself to a tabletop position.
Then gently lower into Child’s Pose for 3 minutes with your arms resting back by your side. This begins a light compression of your stomach. (Optional: support your head with a block or blanket, extra blanket under your knees, and/or blanket/pillow between your hips and heels to bring a connection to your seat).
3. Gently slide forward onto your belly to prepare for Sphinx/Seal for 3 minutes.
Grab opposite elbows and gently draw your elbows in toward your body to create a lift of your chest. Release elbows keeping your forearms parallel. This is your first variation. Allow your belly to soften and your glutes to relax. Sensation is focused on your low back targeting kidney stimulation. If you do not feel much, take Seal, extending your arms slightly forward and straightening. (Optional: placing a blanket under your knees, hips, or elbows)
4. Come back to your belly, invite your legs to windshield wiper side to side to release your low back. Make your way back up to your tabletop and sit your hips back to your heels, coming to seated. You will create a “saddle” to lie back on for the next 3 minutes.
I suggest starting with two blocks and one blanket resting on top of them. Set these approximately 6-8 inches behind your heels - you want to maintain space between the props and your body. Gently recline back on to the “saddle”. Here you create a deep opening of your low back. (Optional: support your knees with a blanket, use an extra block/blanket to support your head).
5. Move slowly out of saddle the same way you went in, taking a stop through Child’s Pose to bring length back to your spine. Next, move to a seated position for caterpillar for the next 3 minutes.
Extend your legs out straight, place a block on its tall side on your legs and fold forward resting your head on the back (round your back, tuck your chin). Relax your hamstrings and allow your torso and head to hang heavy. Again, you create compression of your stomach organs to aid in digestion. (Optional: place your blanket under hips for tighter hamstrings).
6. Slowly lift your body out of the fold and pause as you sit up tall. Feel free to windshield wiper your legs left and right and prepare for a 5 minute Savasana.
Gently recline onto your back, extending your arms long by your sides. Make yourself as comfortable as possible, using the props to support you if necessary!