Yin yoga became part of my life after suffering an illness. My burnout period was a result of always racing from one thing to the next which meant that my whole life was totally Yang. I needed to slow down. Frustrated by the fact I did not have the strength to do a flow class, I thought I would try this new offering at my local studio. Actually receiving the permission from the teacher to be still was such a nice change from constantly pushing myself. Softening and letting go while focusing on my breath is what I needed. It was meditation in a pose!
Before I discovered yoga, actually sitting in meditation was incredibly challenging for me. The body was just too restless and I was not disciplined! Put me in a yin pose for five minutes, and all of a sudden I could stay. The sensations you feel during Yin are not exactly pleasant all the time but you become comfortable with being uncomfortable and it gives the mind something to chew on. You find your edge. Your edge is where the healing happens. Subtle energy starts to move. Compression on the target area releases tension and calms your nervous system. All prerequisites to a mindful practice.
These 5 Yin Yoga Poses will help you meditate. You can stay in all these poses for two to five minutes, slowly transitioning to the next one while focusing on each inhalation and exhalation.
Bending your knees, bring the soles of the feet together with your hands on your ankles. Move your feet forward so your legs to form a diamond shape, as your knees drop out to the side like butterfly wings. Fold forward and let gravity take all your tension toward the earth. This is a beautiful hip opener.
Sitting on the floor, spread your legs apart. On an exhalation, shift the weight in your hips forward and begin to allow gravity to bring you down to the ground. Your hands can walk forward on the floor in front of you. You can support your head on a cushion and surrender. A great stretch for the inner thighs.
Twisted Childs Pose
Spread your knees apart keeping your big toes together. Sit with your hips back near to your feet. Twisting to the left, take your right shoulder toward your left knee resting it on the floor with the arms outstretched. Right ear and forehead can rest on floor. Repeat on the other side. Your shoulders should be relaxed and tension free.
Lying Supine Twist
Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and your arms out to the side for support. On an exhalation, allow your knees to drop to the left while keeping the right side of your upper back and shoulder weighted towards the floor. Turn your head in the opposite direction to your legs. Stay for 2 minutes and repeat on the other side. An awesome twist for the spine
Sounds like Bananarama. Lying on your back with your legs together and straight on the floor, reach the arms overhead and clasp your hands or elbows. With your buttocks firmly glued to the earth, move your feet and upper body to the right. Arch like a nice, ripe banana. Be careful not to twist or roll your hips off the floor. Find your first edge. When your body opens more, move both feet further to the right and pull your upper body further to the right as well. Keep playing with this edge and you should feel an amazing sensation down the whole side of your torso. Stay for 2 minutes and repeat on the other side.
You can practice these poses in the comfort of your own home using these Mindful Colouring Yin cards as a reminder.
Hopefully by encouraging women to slow down they will discover yin as a great way to re-fill their energy tank and begin a mindfulness practice. Far more helpful to life off the mat.