A Yin Sequence for Home Practice
Although I love going to class to practice Yin, being around the energy of the group, teacher and community vibes, sometimes life gets busy and I don’t have time to make it to the studio. Yin teacher training with Sarah Owen really inspired me to implement a short practice into my morning upon waking up, and/or evening before bed, especially for those days I don’t get to class. I really notice the difference in how I feel and it’s super simple, especially for those of you who are pressed for time!
One of my students said to me the other day… “I wish I could do Yin everyday, but I can’t always come to class or there aren’t classes at the studio to attend everyday.”
My answer: “You can practice Yin everyday! You can take what you know from coming to class and do your own sequence at home, even if it’s only a few poses.”
Here’s how you can implement it easily into your day without needing a lot of time, with a basic sequence. A meditation, 3 poses and Savasana. All you need is about 20 minutes or so. You can do this on a mat or in bed. Your choice.
Remember to notice if you wander off in thought, and use your breath as an anchor to bring you back into presence, either by fully focusing on it, noticing the in breath and/or out breath. Or by feeling it move and flow through you as your body expands, contracts, softens. It can help to use visualisation here, imagining the breath/energy flowing throughout your entire being. You can play gentle music or simply practice in silence. You can also use the Insight Timer app to time your practice or you can estimate the time held in each pose. I usually intuitively estimate. Feel free to adjust the timing to suit your needs.
Also note that you don’t need to push past your edge when you practice Yin. Make sure you are only going to about 50% and that you are comfortable. If you find there is discomfort, adjust and back off as needed.
- Grounding/Meditation (5 minutes) – Start with a short meditation, either sitting comfortably or laying down in Savasana (3-5 minutes) – Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. You are not trying to change anything about your breath or yourself here. Just simply noticing and allowing your breath to be as it is. Allow your breath to be your anchor into presence. If you find yourself thinking random thoughts about the next thing you need to do, or somewhere you need to go, try using the simple mantra I mentioned above, either saying it out loud or internally to yourself… “There’s nothing to do. There’s nowhere to be.” This always brings me back.
- Pose 1 (5 minutes) – Reclining Butterfly – Using a bolster or pillow (if you have), place it long ways behind you, starting at the base of your spine. Recline back onto your prop, opening up at your chest and heart-space, with your arms by your sides and palms facing up, open to receiving. You can use blankets or blocks (if you have) underneath your knees if you find they sit quite high and your hips are tight. Allow your whole body to relax, and melt into your bolster/mat/bed. Close your eyes. If you start to feel like this pose becomes too strong in your thighs and hips, feel free to straighten your legs.
- Counter pose to release tension – Bend knees and sway hips from side to side for 3-5 breaths. Straighten legs for a few breaths.
- Pose 2 (3 minutes) – Wide-knee Child’s Pose – Send your knees out wide, mat distance apart and big toes to touch (if you can). You can come into regular child’s pose and rest your forehead on the ground/mat/bed, allowing your belly to drop towards the ground. Or place a bolster long ways in front of you, between your legs and allow your chest and whole body to relax into the bolster. Turn your head to one side if you are using a bolster or pillow. If you find that your hips are quite tight, you have to keep your bum up high and can’t get down to low, you can experiment by place a folded blanket between your bum and the back off your legs for support. Close your eyes.
- Counter pose to release – Press back onto your heels and then move forward into a tabletop. Have your hands stacked underneath your shoulders and your knees stacked underneath your hips. Start with a neutral spine and soften your neck. You can straighten one leg at a time back behind you for a few breaths. Then move through Cat-Cow poses for about 6 breaths, keeping your eyes closed or gaze soft, if you can.
- Pose 3 (5 minutes) – Sphinx Pose – Come down to lay on your belly. There are some options here with this pose. Have your feet about hip distance apart. You can bring your forearms out in front of you, and place your elbows underneath your shoulders. Or you can place a bolster underneath your chest and make a resting place for your chin with your hands in a “lotus flower” type position. Whichever option you choose, you can relax the whole lower half of your body and keep some engagement in your shoulders so that you’re not collapsing forward and putting strain on your neck and lower back. Close your eyes.
- Counter pose to release – Make a pillow with your hands, one on top of the other. Rest your forehead on your heads for a few breaths, continuing to lay on your belly. Then bend your knees and sway your hips from side to side for a few breaths, to release in your lower back.
- Closing (3 minutes) – Savasana – The final surrender. Come to laying on your back with your arms by your sides, opening in the chest, rolling your shoulders down your back and keeping your palms facing upwards, open to receiving. Have your legs so that your feet are wider than your hips. You can place a bolster underneath your knees for extra support as an option. Allow your whole body to relax into the ground/mat/bed. Allow the thinking mind to fall away and bathe in the stillness.
Once you’ve finished your practice, notice how you feel. And then see if you can keep this up consistently. Even on days where you may only have a spare 10 minutes. 2 poses is better than none 🙂
YIN WITH ME
🌀 Sutherland Yoga Women’s Circle – Last Sunday of each month @ 4:00pm (every second month) – Next circle is September 30th.
🌀 Connect The Dots Oatley – All other Sundays @ 4:00pm and from September 15th, every Saturday @ 9:00am
🌀 The Loft, Pilates and Barre – In September – Mondays and Thursday @ 7:30pm
🌀 Covers here and there at HYA YOGA
DISCLAIMER: The content in the post is written from my own personal experience and training as a yoga teacher. It is not intended to replace medical or lifestyle advice from any other practising health professional. Any individual who chooses to follow this information, does so at their accord and responsibility.