So far, I’m doing really good in meeting my New Year’s resolutions, which involve a healthy diet, regular yoga practice and regular workout. I already noticed some changes (my skin looks better, I have more energy and usually am in a good temper) which, of course, helps me being motivated and moving on.
However, this week I feel like I might have overdone it a little with my workout and yoga routine and it seems like my body needs a rest. On the other hand, I have the urge to move and stretch especially when I’m working long hours in office. So what to do with this dilemma?
The solution might be Yin Yoga. I remember doing a Yin Yoga class during the Anusara Retreat I joined in Bali last year. It was scheduled in the middle of the retreat, when everyone’s muscles felt a bit sore and we were all looking for a more regenerative class.
Yin Yoga can be described as a slow-paced style of yoga where the Asanas are held for longer periods of time, usually five minutes or longer.
Staying in the Yin Yoga Asanas for quite a while will apply moderate stress to the connective tissues (fascia, tendons and ligaments) with the goal to increase circulation in the joints, to improve flexibility and allow the Qi to flow smoothly.
The mostly sitting or lying postures in Yin Yoga mainly targeting the meridians that run through the connective tissue of the lower back and hips.
Although Yin might not be the most glamorous Yoga style and , it offers an opportunity to slow down and come back into an inner balance.
As always, poses may be modified or even abandoned if you feel any kind of pain, cannot breath smoothly or if it just does not feel right for you.
Yin Yoga Asanas
Here are some Asanas that are common in Yin Yoga:
This posture will lenghtens your inner groins and the muscles of your lower back and helps to increase the range of motion in your hips.
Sit down with the soles of your feet touching about a foot in front of your pelvis. The sacrum is tilted slightly forward. Now sliding your feet a little away from you and fold forward until you’ve reached an appropriate edge. Allow your back to round, rest your hands on your feet or on the floor. Relax your head and let it hand down toward your heels.
Swan or Pigeon Pose
This is one of the Asanas I love and hate at the same time. I feel the benefit of the pose but in the same time I want to get out of it. So for me the challenge is really to calm down and use my breath do relax in the Pigeon.
Gravity will do its work here and this pose is a great way to open your hips.
Coming from Downward Facing Dog, bring your right knee forward until it touches your right wrist, keeping your right thigh parallel to the sides of your mat. Move your right shin slowly toward the middleline of your body. Your foot should be directly below your left hip. Now bring your left leg straightened on the floor.
Release your pelvis and make sure your weight is centered and your hips don’t lean to one side. Instead, try to keep your hips as level as possible. Use a block under your hips to make it easier. Now lengthen the sides, keep your lower back long and slowly start walking your hands forward. Lower your elbows to the floor or – for an even more intense stretch – fold completely forward bringing your forehead on the floor.
To come out of this pose, slowly lift your torso, press your hands into your mat an come up to a Downward Facing Dog again.
This posture tones the spine and provides a very deep compression and stimulation oft he sacral lumber arch.
Begin by lying face-down on your belly, your legs extended behind you, hip-width apart. Press the top of your feet into the mat, do not tuck your toes.
Bring your arms forward, elbows under your shoulders with your forearms strechted out on the floor, parallel to each other. On inhalation, press your forearms into the floor lift your head and prop yourself up.
You can use a cushion under the elbows, helping you to elevate your chest.