IMG_2287

Pose Breakdown | Caterpillar

Hungry-caterpillar

In yin, there are all of these fun other names for the poses. Don’t ask me why, because I honestly don’t know. In the case of a seated forward fold pose – rather than Paschimottanasana which means “intense stretch pose”, we call it caterpillar. So let’s learn how to bend like the caterpillars do, shall we?

 

Directions

  1. Find a comfortable seat with the legs extended out in front of you. Engage the feet and flex the toes toward the ceiling. On an exhale, begin to slowly move forward toward the legs. As you lower, think about reaching the chest toward the feet to elongate the lumbar (low) spine.

DandasanaIMG_2292

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Once you find a good amount of sensation, pause and breathe. Stop at the first surge of sensation rather than diving into a destination (ie. the toes, forehead to legs, etc.). When you do feel ready to settle in, allow your head to hang heavy. I used a block for a few minutes before lowering down further. Your feet can relax and your upper back can round.

The point of the posture is to find resistance and breathe through it. Rushing beyond your sensations is not only physically unsafe but it’s robbing you from the true experience of release.

IMG_2293Caterpillar Pose - Forward FoldCaterpillar Pose - Forward Fold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variations

  1. Rolled blanket under the knees | If you have knee sensitivity or extra tight hamstrings (like me!), you can support your body by bringing a rolled blanket or small bolster under the knees. This will allow the knees to bend a bit so that you don’t stress the muscles as you fold forward.

Caterpillar Pose - Forward Fold

 

 

 

 

2. Folded blanket under the hips | If your low back is injured or pained in any way by this pose, sitting onto the very edge of a blanket will help to properly tilt the pelvis so that you can find a little more forward motion. You can elevate yourself as high as you need to.

BENEFITS

  • Releases commonly tight areas of the body: hamstrings, knees, back
  • Enhances mobility of the spine (when done properly)
  • Gentle compression of stomach which helps strengthen the digestive organs
  • Betters kidney function

ENERGETICS

  • Stimulates the urinary bladder meridian (spine)
  • Calms: forward bends are known to create a sense of calm, helping practitioners to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which levels the heart rate and creates a sense of peacefulness in both the body and the mind.

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Vertebral issues in the cervical spine (neck). Be sure to support yourself using props so you are careful not to strain these already sensitive joints.
  • Numbness. If you start to feel tingly, please be sure to back out of the pose until this numbing sensation ceases. You do not want to put pressure on your nerves in this way as it will damage functionality over time.

HOLD: 3-5 minutes, depending on your own personal needs. Come up very slowly from this posture (as in any yin pose). Allow your spine to lengthen back up as slowly as it descended downward.

COUNTER POSTURES 

Sukhasana/Easy Seated pose 

Sukhasana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat/Cow Stretches

Take a few moments in table top pose to move through several rounds of cat and cow. Inhales bring your belly toward the earth, gaze to the sky and exhales help you to round your back like an angry cat and drop the head. Add on any other movements that feel organic in your body.

Anahatasana - Melted Heart Pose

Pose Breakdown | Anahatasana – Melted Heart

Good morning, friends!

As a part of my grand comeback, I’ve decided to post a yin pose breakdown every Monday morning. My hope is that you can utilize these specifics of the postures to find more freedom and release in your practice.


Anahatasana – Melted Heart Pose

Anahatasana - Melted Heart Pose

Getting into the pose…

Starting from table top, begin to walk the hands forward.

Starting from table top, begin to walk the hands forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping the hips above the knees, begin to drop the chest down toward the earth, resting your forehead on the mat.

Keeping the hips above the knees, begin to drop the chest down toward the earth, resting your forehead on the mat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variations

If you have a healthy neck and are craving more sensation, begin to reach your gaze forward and place your chin to the mat instead (top image). This should cause NO PAIN. If it does, back out of it. If dropping your chest this low is uncomfortable on the shoulders, neck, back - bring a block under the chest for support (bottom photo).

If you have a healthy neck and are craving more sensation, begin to reach your gaze forward and place your chin to the mat instead (top image). This should cause NO PAIN. If it does, back out of it. If dropping your chest this low is uncomfortable on the shoulders, neck, back – bring a block under the chest for support (bottom photo).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you find the need for more release in the shoulders, elevate the pose to intensify the stretch. Placing your triceps onto two blocks and bringing the hands to prayer above the head. Once you're set up, let the head hang low.

If you find the need for more release in the shoulders, elevate the pose to intensify the stretch. Placing your triceps onto two blocks and bringing the hands to prayer above the head. Once you’re set up, let the head hang low.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this pose is too much for your body all together, you can find a similar stretch in childs pose.

Anahatasana - Melted Heart Pose - Childs Pose variation

 

 

 

 

BENEFITS

  • Releases commonly tight areas of the body: shoulders, neck, upper back
  • Enhances mobility of the shoulder girdle
  • Energizes: backbends are known to create a natural surge of physical and mental energy

ENERGETICS

  • Stimulates the urinary bladder meridian (spine), heart/lung lines (arms), and the spleen/stomach (chest release). Tapping into these energetic lines in the body can help to improve overall function in these associated organs.
  • Practicing this pose can lead to a sense of openness and joy. Two emotions we express from the heart region. In the same respect, it has the tendency to also guide us into an awareness of the fear and worry present in our lives. These two emotions are a major root of the physical stress we see in Anahatasana. If you experience any of these emotions while in the pose, practice a complete (3-part) breath and trust that you are releasing what you need to let go of here. You can always back out if it becomes too much.

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Vertebral issues in the cervical spine (neck). Be sure to support yourself using props so you are careful not to strain these already sensitive joints.
  • Numbness. If you start to feel tingly, please be sure to back out of the pose until this numbing sensation ceases. You do not want to put pressure on your nerves in this way as it will damage functionality over time.

HOLD: 3-5 minutes, depending on your own personal needs.

COUNTER POSTURES

Childs pose (arms back)

Full Body Release Yin Sequence - Childs pose

 

 

 

 

 

Hero/Saddle pose (seated) + add neck release if it might feel supportive in your body

Back of Neck Stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to follow up!

Namaste

Summer Stretch Yin - Half Childs Pose

Yin Yoga | Summer Stretch

Hello yogis!

First of all, I want to say that I have felt a huge void in not posting over the last couple of months. Sharing my sequences and thoughts with all of you fills up my heart with so much love! We recently moved into our first home and were in the midst of the renovation so my brain had little time to devote to the creativity and heart that I put into these posts. But I’m happy to announce that we are finally moved in and I have plenty of space to BREATHE! Also, I’m excited to take some photos of my sequences in our new home in the future. So be on the lookout for our pretty pine floors!

Today I thought I’d share a nice sequence that feels good from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. Nothing like a full body stretch to release some of the heat and heaviness that the summer tends to bring (especially in the crazy Texas weather!) My hope is that you will feel renewed and ready for whatever lies ahead for you this week as you follow this yummy yin sequence. Feel free to leave comments or questions below. I’m always happy to answer questions and follow up on requests!

This class is intended for about 75 minutes but can be modified to 60 if needed.

My playlist

Childs pose (5 min) – From a table top pose, begin to drop your hips back to your heels. Depending on what feels best for you, choose to draw your knees together or apart and utilize props where you feel resistance in the body.

Full Body Release Yin Sequence - Childs pose

 

 

 

 

 

Toe squat (2 min) – Walk the hands forward to table top and begin to tuck all 10 toes underneath you. Walk your hands back in toward you until you feel a good amount of sensation, perhaps resting them in the lap or keeping them in front for support. If there still isn’t enough sensation, you can walk the knees forward an inch or too to increase sensation creating more of an angle in the foot (bottom right photo). Make sure that stubborn pinky toe doesn’t escape!

Full Body Release Yin - Toe Stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Counter this pose by walking the hands forward and moving through a few rounds of Cat/Cow maybe tapping the tops of the feet gently on the floor to release the toes.

Threaded Needle (3 min) – Press back into table top and send the left leg out to the side. Begin to lift the left arm to the sky. Take an inhale and use the exhale to guide the left hand across the mat and through to the right side, landing your shoulder and the corner of the head. Right arm can reach overhead or wrap around the back depending on what feels right in your body. If it’s too much, you are welcome to draw the extended leg back in to simplify.

Summer Stretch Yin - Threaded Needle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/2 Childs pose (2 min) – Gently rise up, stretching the left arm back up to observe the difference then set the arm down next to the right. Begin to drop the hips back sitting toward the right heel, keeping the left leg extended or take a traditional childs pose if more suitable for your needs.

Summer Stretch Yin - Half Childs Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lizard pose (5 min) – Come back up to table top and bring the left leg forward to the outside of the right hand. Adjust through the back knee until you can drop the hips comfortably in a downward and forward motion. You want to find a nice release in the right hip flexor (front of your hip) and back of your left hip (around the glute area). As you rest here, if you find it might help you release deeper, you are welcome to draw the foot out to a small angle and roll to the pinky edge of the foot, while still engaging the toes a bit. You can drop the knee so it stays angled above the ankle (2nd photo).

Summer Stretch Yin - Lizard pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cowface pose (3 min) – Rise back up onto the hands if you lowered to the forearms in your lizard pose. Heel toe the foot back in between the hands and rise off of the back knee by tucking the back toes. Very gently, begin to draw the right knee forward so that it crosses behind the left leg and toward the outer angle. Come down to a seat. From here you can choose to extend the right leg forward and keep the left leg crossed on top, or gently draw the knees down to where they line up somewhat on top of one another. The closer the heels are in toward the hips, the less intense this becomes.

Stay upright if this is plenty of sensation or you can begin to fold forward. You can include eagle arms (as pictured) if you’d like.

Summer Stretch Yin - Cowface pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4 variations (3 min stretch, 2 min twist) – Rise up if folded in your cowface pose. Begin to slide the left knee over so that just the ankle is crossed over the thigh. You can stay upright (top photo) placing the hands behind you or recline onto your back (bottom two photos on the left).

After three minutes, make your way to your back with the ankle still crossed if you are sitting up still. On an exhale, begin to drop the left foot across and over to the right, stamping it onto the earth. Keep the knee pointed up and slightly forward until you feel a nice release in the outer hip, possibly the low back as well.

Summer Stretch Yin - Figure 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/2 Frog (2 min) – Turn your gaze to the right (side of the crossed foot) and begin to come all the way onto the belly with the left knee drawing up and in toward the left elbow. Open the arms out to the sides like cactus arms. Your head can rest to whichever side is most comfortable.

Summer Stretch Yin - 1/2 Frog

 

 

 

 

 

Sphinx Seal (5 min) – Slide the left leg back to meet the right. Prop yourself up on the forearms. Elbows below shoulders and arms shoulder distance from each other. You can choose to elevate yourself higher onto a blanket (top right photo) or other similar prop if you are searching for more sensation. Lifting the elbows and straightening the arms to seal pose is an additional option if it doesn’t compromise the yin mindset of this posture. Head can stay lifted and lengthened or can drop forward as long as there’s no pain.

Summer Stretch Yin - Sphinx/Seal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Repeat Threaded Needle pose to 1/2 Frog on the other side*

Full Frog pose (5 min) – Instead of sphinx pose on the second side, begin to make your way back into childs pose for a moment after 1/2 frog. From there, rise up into a table top and begin to gently guid the knees and feet away from one another, using any needed props to support this posture.

Summer Stretch Yin - Frog pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternatively, you can take a wide legged childs pose to stay more on the gentle side for the joints. 

[Counter this pose in a childs pose or a seated hero pose]

Caterpillar/Forward Fold (5 min) – Make your way to a  a seated position with legs straight out in front of you, locate a firm seat (using a blanket under the hips if your low back is strained in any way). Breathe a few breaths into the spine from an upright position and then take a few breaths to lower you forward. I like to use a rolled blanked under my knees and sometimes a block for my forehead to rest on, so get creative with props and find a place to land here.

Summer Stretch Yin - Forward Fold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll to your back gently from your caterpillar pose. Pay attention to each vertebrae as it lands.

Savasana (10 min) – Give yourself time to simply rest on your mat once you feel settled from the postures. Any reclined position that suits your body’s needs will do. Enjoy the feeling of full body release and total relaxation – you deserve it!

Summer Stretch Yin - Roll Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Namaste!

-Nancy

Make sure to do on both sides here.

Yin Yoga Sequence | Feel Vibrant – Kidney & Urinary Meridians

Spring daffodils in Texas

Hello friends!

Today I want to share with you a sequence that is very helpful for getting out of a dull state. The energetic focus of this sequence is on the kidney and urinary meridian channels, which are physically stimulated by the opening of the hips, incorporation of passive backbends as well as forward bending. When these channels are blocked or stagnant, we tend to slip into a protective, lazy and unproductive state. In contrast, when these energetic channels are given some attention through the longer holds of the yin practice, yogis will feel a sense of physical, mental and emotional balance. You might also experience a deeper connection to your sense of love, devotion, creativity and passions. One thing I really adore about the spring season is how green everything is. One day it’s winter, then a few warm days and spring showers later – BAM! It’s spring. It’s amazing how quickly the earth comes back to life after the cooler months. Our bodies and minds work similarly to this – we need some rain and some sunshine to nourish us. Then, we start to feel renewed and vibrant.

-Nancy

Printable PDF Version

My Playlist

Dangling Forward Fold (at the wall) – 5 min

Begin your practice by turning toward the wall and walking into a forward fold with your hips facing the center of the room. You are welcome to bend the knees and fold the chest over the thighs as to not overstretch the lumbar spine.  I placed a block between my feet for an addition grounding effect. Take your time and lean into where you feel this most – trusting that wall to support and uphold you even when it gets intense.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Dangling Forward Fold at the wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butterfly Pose – 5 min

Draw the soles of the feet together and drop the knees wide. Use an exhale to guide your chest forward and release your head to a block, allowing gravity to pull you in. Over time, you may adjust the height of the block or remove it completely as long as your breath can stay vibrant and full.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Butterfly Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sphinx/Seal Pose – 5 min

Come to your belly and prop yourself up on your forearms. Take a few breaths here observing the physical and energetic shift from the previous stretch. You can stay as is or gradually transition deeper as sensations settle. Options include straightening the arms into seal pose and/or propping the forearms onto blocks (pictured) or blankets.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Sphinx/Seal Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+ Neck Releases (30 seconds each side) – to enhance the release through the neck, you can drop each ear down to the corresponding shoulder. Relax your jaw and breathe steadily as you do this.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Neck Stretch Sphinx Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Counter pose – Half Frog – 2 min each side

Open the arms out to the sides like cactus arms. Begin to slide the left knee up toward the left elbow. Rest for 2 minutes then move to the other side.

Make sure to do on both sides here.

Puppy Pose – 5 min

From a neutral table top position, take a deep inhale and as you exhale begin to walk the hands forward until you reach a stopping point and melt the heart toward the earth. You can support your chest or forehead with a block if it helps you. If you want to increase sensation, you can bend your elbows 90 degrees bringing the palms together above your head and then reach the thumbs toward the base of the neck. You can also do this with two blocks under the triceps (bottom photo) for additional release.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Puppy Pose on blocksYin Yoga - Meridians - Puppy Pose on blocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Childs Pose – 3 min

Rest the hips back to the heels for a moment to allow the spine to settle.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Childs Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pigeon Pose – 5 min

Begin to draw the right leg out in front of you pulling the heel as close in to the hip as you need, while extending the left leg to the side (twisted deer variation) or back of the mat (pictured). Take some breaths to lengthen the spine and then eventually settle into the fold. Use as many props as you need to make this pose accessible and pain-free.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Pigeon Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wide Leg Lateral Stretch – 5 min

From pigeon, rock onto the right hip and come into a wide leg stance at the long edge of the mat. Take the right foot into the left inner thigh. Take a block to the inside of the left leg (you can play around with placement that feels best for you). Place your left elbow on the block and rest your head into the palm of the hand. Opposite arm can stay at your side, or to intensify the stretch in the side body, take it overhead and rest it on the opposite side of the head. You can also increase intensity by lowering the block a level or removing it completely.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Lateral Stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spinal Twist – 5 min

Reach the right arm forward and roll onto the right side body, resting the head on the arm (first picture). Take your left leg forward, 90 degrees from the body (second picture). You can pause here and begin to rotate the spine back toward the floor behind you. OR you can bend the right knee and reach for the ankle/foot with your top hand (third picture). If you can bind with the foot, relax the head back down and begin to rotate the top shoulder back, moving into the twist.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Spinal Twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Counter pose – Childs Pose – 1 min

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Childs Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Repeat pigeon pose through spinal twist on the other side.

Forward Fold (seated) – 3 min

Starting in a seated position with legs straight out in front of you, locate a firm seat (using a blanket under the hips if your low back is strained in any way). Breathe a few breaths into the spine from an upright position and then take a few breaths to lower you forward. I like to use a bolster under my chest or block under my head (sometimes both!), so get creative with props and find a place to land here.

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Forward Fold (seated)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reclined Heart Opener (block down the spine) – 3 min each

This is just one of those things that makes me feel taller after doing it. Every part of your spine matters – from cervical, to thoracic, to lumbar, it houses your spinal cord as well as helps bring blood and nutrients to the brain. Breathe deeply and consistently while in these variations to create space between the vertebrae.

  • 3 min – Upper back w/block vertically placed between shoulder blades
  • 3 min – Middle back with block horizontally placed at tips of shoulder blades
  • 3 min – Low back (sacrum)/Supported Bridge Pose

Yin Yoga - Meridians - Block down the spine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savasana – 7-10 min

Choose whichever savasana position will help you to rest more completely. Enjoy some time to soak up all the goodness that you were able to create with your practice.

Savasana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Namaste!

Version 2

Yin Yoga – Full Body Release

After a long day, we tend to pour a hefty glass of wine and veg out in one way or another. I’m all about my evening wine, but sometimes what my body and mind really need is a little TLC. Yin is a great practice to add into your evening routine. You will sleep better and release tension before moving onto another day of expectations and busyness.  I believe that if you take some time to let go of physical tension, mental and emotional tension will also find space to release. This full-body sequence is a great way to create this space to decompress a bit after a long day at work, school, or whatever it is that is weighing you down. Try to implement it into your schedule this week. If you need to – write it down so you’ll make it happen. You’ll thank yourself for doing it!

My Playlist

Upper Back Release | 5 min – Place the block (or a blanket works too) in the upper back region, nestled between the shoulder blades. Come into a comfortable lying position. Your legs can be straight (pictured) or bent. Make sure you find a place in which you can fully rely on the pull of gravity. The more stillness you create physically, the more space you’ll be able to create.

Upper Back Release

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butterfly Pose | 3 min – From your back, gently begin to roll off the block and come up to a seated position. Bring the soles of the feet together and cushion the knees if you need to support them. Take several breaths to lower down into sensation. Once you discover tension, pause and breathe through it. As the sensation settles, you can continue to deepen. Just be as physically still as possible and utilize the power of your breath to create space.

Butterfly/Bound Angle Pose

If you would like to go even deeper, you can elevate the feet on the block for an intense release!

If you would like to go even deeper, you can elevate the feet on the block for an intense release!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twisted Deer | 3 min – From butterfly, gently rise up. Keeping the hips open, begin to slide the right shin parallel to the side of the mat and the left shin more parallel with the top of the mat (though, it can be slightly angled if needed). Your right hip will bump up a bit here, and that’s okay! As in our last pose, lower down slowly – pausing at each burst of intensity as you settle into the posture.

Twisted Deer Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front View

Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pigeon Pose | 5 min – You can remain in twisted deer or begin to take the right leg all the way behind you. The left shin will stay close to where it already is. Take some breaths to lengthen the spine and eventually settle into the fold. Use as many props as feels appropriate to make this pose accessible and pain-free.

Pigeon Pose

OPTIONAL: Thread the right arm under the left for a shoulder stretch. Grab the back foot for a deep quad release. Make sure to do with other leg fwd as well.

OPTIONAL: Thread the right arm under the left for a shoulder stretch. Grab the back foot for a deep quad release. Make sure to do with other leg fwd as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lizard Pose | 4 min – From pigeon, peel your torso up and gently place the foot to the ground. Heel toe it all the way over so you can place both hands to the inside of the foot. You can stay here, lift the hands up higher (on blocks or similar) or perhaps move deeper. To add a lateral stretch for the upper body, you can walk the hands toward the side of the mat away from the feet (bottom middle picture).

Lizard Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Threaded Needle | 3 min – This is a nice twist in the spine and releaser for tension held in the upper back, neck and shoulder regions. Begin by coming into a Table Top position, maybe moving with your breath for a few rotations of Cat/Cow to loosen the spine. Come back to a neutral spine, inhale and lift the left arm up to the sky, as you exhale draw that left hand all the way across the mat and over to the left side of the mat until your shoulder is grounded and you can lie your head on the floor or a block. You can take the right arm and reach it overhead or wrap it around your back. To lift out of it, place the right hand at eye-level and then press yourself back up. 

Threaded Needle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Childs Pose | 2 min – Take a moment in childs pose before moving to the other side. In this posture, observe the rhythm of your breath and the space you’ve already created within the body and mind. Do this after the second side as well to notice a balanced effect through the legs and hips especially.

Childs Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Repeat Twisted Deer – Childs Pose on the other side**

Toe Stretch | 2 min – From childs begin to tuck all ten toes. Slowly begin to walk your hands in toward the knees. If you can come all the way back onto the heels without pain, do so. Otherwise, keep the hands in front of you for support. Stay where you are or if you need more sensation, inch the knees forward a bit more so the tops of the feet are at an angle. Breathe consistently and fully while here. Ensure that the pinky toes stay tucked under the whole time. They tend to attempt an escape in this pose.

Toe Stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tricep Shoulder Release | 1 min each side – I learned this stretch during a training intensive with the awesome Dice and Briohny when they were at my studio late in 2013. To get into the pose, bend your right arm and bring the back of the hand into the low back (sacrum area). Take the left arm, reach across your chest and grab the tricep of the right arm. Begin to pull the tricep toward the front of the room and at the same time, press the right elbow toward the back of the room. Finding a nice balance between the two. Once you have a good amount of sensation, begin to drop the left ear down toward the left shoulder until you feel a good stretch through the side of the neck.

Tricep Shoulder Release

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back of Neck Release | 1 min – Bring the head and neck back into neutral and lightly interlace the hands behind the head. Begin to drop the chin toward the chest and let your arms hang heavy as an additional weight to release. You can roll the head gently side to side to explore tension and make sure your facial muscles are completely relaxed. Note: Do not PUSH into the head, just let the arms serve as an additional weight.

Back of Neck Stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legs up the Wall w/Strap (or at the wall) | 3 min – Move to a wall or use a strap to support the soles of the feet as they are extended up toward the ceiling. You can also elevate onto a block for more of an inversion (pictured).

Strap Supported Legs up the Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supported Bridge Pose | 4 min – From legs up the wall lower back down and let the legs settle for a moment. Then begin to lift the hips and place the block (at your desired height) under the sacrum. You can move your legs to wherever is comfortable. Pay special attention to the knees and low back and make sure they are happy in these variations.

Bridge Pose (Supported)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Pose | 3 min each side – Make your way onto your back.Keeping your hips grounded, begin to scoot your shoulder blades to the right. Begin to take the right heel over to the upper right hand corner of your mat. Then, move the left ankle over to meet it or cross it over the right so you create the shape of a banana with your body. You can reach the arms overhead here if it feels nice.

Banana Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savasana | 7-10 min – Soak up all the effort and space you were able to put into your practice. Allow your body and mind to completely rest into the weight of gravity as your breath reverts back to its natural rhythm.

Savasana

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Yin Yoga at the Wall

Hello yinsters!

I hope you are all doing well. Today I have a very special class in store for you – yin yoga at the wall! This 60 minute class is created with love and has the primary goal of giving you a nice release as you flip your perspective a bit. Practicing at the wall is one of my favorite things to do whenever going through a change….weather, seasons, life circumstances etc. I feel that changing things up in this way will help you to access parts of the body and mind that need deep release. My prayer is that this class blesses you with rest and renewal.

NEW! If you would prefer to practice this sequence with a video instead, I have included a youtube version of this class as well. I would love any feedback you all have to offer on that front – it’s a new one for me.

My Playlist

Sukhasana (4 min)

Easy Seated Pose

Spine lengthened and resting against the wall. Slow your breath here and find an intention you’d like to keep with you. Potentially on the topic of what you lean on in your life – as you utilize the wall as a physical support today. Perhaps locating one particular foundation in your life that is dependable to lean on and find your hope in so you can truly take rest – mind, body, spirit.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Sukhasana

Tricep Pull Neck Release (1 min each side)

Take the right hand behind the back and place the back of the hand on the sacrum. Grab ahold of the tricep with your left arm and begin to pull forward but at the same time resist the pull in the right arm as you gently draw back. Breathe in and then on your exhale, drop your left ear to your left shoulder until you find a good surge of sensation. Breathe there for about a minute.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Tricep Pull Neck Stretch

**Repeat on the other side**

Butterfly (4 min)

Draw the soles of the feet together and drop the knees wide. Use an exhale to guide your chest forward and release your head to a block, allowing gravity to pull you in. Over time, you may adjust the height of the block or remove it completely as long as your breath can stay vibrant and full.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Butterfly

Extended Arm Stretch (3 min each side)

Facing the wall in a standing position, extend the right arm to the side at about 90 degrees from the body. Left hand will be to your side like a kickstand. Use an exhale to rotate your body so the right side is resting on the wall. Find more sensation the more you rotate. Eventually you can relax the left arm and drop the head to the wall if you’d like.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Extended Arm Stretch

**Repeat extended arm stretch on other side**

Downdog (3 min)

Turn toward the wall and begin to walk your hands down and your feet back. Melt your heart toward the earth beneath you and find a good amount of intensity in the shoulder joint. Relax through the facial muscles and focus on your breath while you’re here.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Downdog at Wall PrepYin Yoga at the Wall - Downdog at Wall

Give yourself a moment to roll the shoulders and release this stretch

Dolphin (3 min)

Similar to downdog at the wall, begin to bend your elbows and place the forearms at the wall. Adjust your feet and chest until you find a nice amount of release to work with. Once you land in the height of sensation, focus on the quality of the breath crating space where you feel the most tension.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Dolphin prep at wallYin Yoga at the Wall

Again, give yourself a moment to counter this stretch with a few shoulder rolls or similar

Forward Fold – HIPS at wall (3 min)

Turn around so your hips are to the wall and your head faces the center of the room. You can use a block out in front of you for your hands or head as you melt into a forward fold position. Bend the knees bringing the chest to the thighs as much as you need to. Give yourself grace when and where you can!

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Forward fold hips at wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a moment to stand up and lean against the wall for several moments before moving to the next pose

Forward Fold – BACK at wall (3 min)

Now, begin to turn toward the wall and walk into a forward fold with your hips facing the center of the room. Same options with the block and bending the knees. Take your time and lean into where you feel this most – trusting that wall to support and uphold you even when it gets intense.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Forward Fold Back at wall

Childs Pose (1 min)

Drop to your knees and sit back to a childs pose, resting your head to a block for a few breaths. Observe the physical and mental space created from the poses you’ve already put into your practice today.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Childs Pose

Reclined Pigeon (4 min each side)

Come to your back and place your feet on the wall, knees bent. Cross your right ankle over the left thigh finding your reclined pigeon at the wall. The closer your hips are to the wall, the more intense this becomes. Find a good balance between drawing the left knee toward you and right knee away from you, then just breathe.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Reclined Pigeon

Yogi Squat + arms rest on inner thighs (1 min)

From reclined pigeon, open the knees wide into the shape of a yogi squat. You can rest the weight of the arms on the inner legs to intensify the release.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Yogi Squat

**Repeat reclined pigeon on other side**

Butterfly (2 min) + Wide Leg Gravity Pull (4 min)

Scoot your hips all the way to the wall and draw your feet in, knees out. Rest here for several moments. You can also place a blanket around your ankles and feet to support the legs if you’d like.

From here, straighten the legs up and then allow them to open out wide falling into the pull of gravity into a wide V shape, then let any activation in the feet and legs relax.

Yin Yoga at the Wall - Butterfly/Wide Leg Fold

Savasana – legs up the wall (7 min)

Straighten the legs straight up the wall and support them with a blanket or strap. Take rest and enjoy the release of your practice!

Yin Yoga at the Wall

Find a comfortable seat in hero pose. You can sit onto the heels, or onto a block/the floor in between the heels. You can stop here if this is plenty of sensation. If you are okay with moving into a reclined pose, begin to walk the hands back behind you. You can rest on the forearms or perhaps lower all the way to a blanket. Make sure the knees don't lift up as you lower down.

Yin Yoga | Blanket Sequence

I’m forever grateful for the influential role B.K.S. Iyengar played in introducing the incorporation of yoga props into the practice. I love that there are no rules with props, no “right” or “wrong” way to use them. They are just there for your individual, day-by-day needs. When it comes to yin, props are a huge part of keeping the body stable, comfortable and safe.

Today, I am focusing on the use of blankets in a  yin sequence. You can use any kind of blankets really, so grab what you have and set aside an hour or so for yourself to practice.Recline on Blanket

MY PLAYLIST

Reclined | Sukhasana or Butterfly legs (5 min)

  1. Roll a blanket up and set it behind your hips. Gently lie back onto the blanket. If you need additional support for your head, feel free to use another prop.

    Roll a blanket up and set it behind your hips. Gently lie back onto the blanket. If you need additional support for your head, feel free to use another prop.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butterfly Pose (5 min)

Now, place the blanket under the hips so that your pelvis tips slightly forward. Take several breaths upright and then lower forward when it feels appropriate.

Now, place the blanket under the hips so that your pelvis tips slightly forward. Take several breaths upright and then lower forward when it feels appropriate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wiper Twist (5 breaths) – Belly Twist (4 min)

Rising up from butterfly, bring the knees in together and walk the feet wider than the hips. Begin to windshield wiper side to side and then land on the left side. Take the left ankle onto the right outer leg. Place the left hand behind you and the right hand on the knee. Lengthen the spine as you inhale. Rotate as you exhale.

Rising up from butterfly, bring the knees in together and walk the feet wider than the hips. Begin to windshield wiper side to side and then land on the left side. Take the left ankle onto the right outer leg. Place the left hand behind you and the right hand on the knee. Lengthen the spine as you inhale. Rotate as you exhale. If you’d like more release in the neck, drop the left ear toward the left shoulder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come out of the twist but continue to face the left side. Stack the knees and square the chest off to one or two blankets placed out in front of you. Let an exhale guide you forward. Gaze can be to the right/left.

Come out of the twist but continue to face the left side. Stack the knees and square the chest off to one or two blankets placed out in front of you. Let an exhale guide you forward. Gaze can be to the right/left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Repeat Wiper Twist and Belly Twist on the other side before moving on – 

Head to Knee Pose (3 min) – Lizard (5 min) – Half/Full Split (5 min)

Extend the right leg out in front of you and the left foot to the right inner thigh. You can sit onto a blanket here (as we did in butterfly) and/or bring a blanket on top of the right thigh to rest onto. Fold forward until you find sensation, then pause and breathe.

Extend the right leg out in front of you and the left foot to the right inner thigh. You can sit onto a blanket here (as we did in butterfly) and/or bring a blanket on top of the right thigh to rest onto. Fold forward until you find sensation, then pause and breathe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rise up slowly. Draw the left knee up and in. Begin to walk forward into a lunge in the right leg, bringing both hands to the inside of the right foot.

Rise up slowly. Draw the left knee up and in. Begin to walk forward into a lunge in the right leg, bringing both hands to the inside of the right foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use your blanket to support the back knee and/or the hands at the top of the mat. You can lower down to the forearms and even walk your torso over to the left as it feels space is created to do so in your body.

Use your blanket to support the back knee and/or the hands at the top of the mat. You can lower down to the forearms and even walk your torso over to the left as it feels space is created to do so in your body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inhale to lift out of the lunge and gently find your version of "straight" in the front leg. Fold forward as it feels right for you. You are welcome to come lower in toward full splits. You can use your blanket to support the front thigh/back knee if you find it helps.

Inhale to lift out of the lunge and gently find your version of “straight” in the front leg. Fold forward as it feels right for you. You are welcome to come lower in toward full splits. You can use your blanket to support the front thigh/back knee if you find it helps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Repeat Head to Knee to Splits on the other side before moving on – 

Childs Pose (3 min)

Make your way to childs pose, resting your head to a blanket if you'd like. Roll the head side to side massaging across from temple to temple.

Make your way to childs pose, resting your head to a blanket if you’d like. Roll the head side to side massaging across from temple to temple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reclined Hero Pose ( 5 min)

Find a comfortable seat in hero pose. You can sit onto the heels, or onto a block/the floor in between the heels. You can stop here if this is plenty of sensation. If you are okay with moving into a reclined pose, begin to walk the hands back behind you. You can rest on the forearms or perhaps lower all the way to a blanket. Make sure the knees don't lift up as you lower down.

Find a comfortable seat in hero pose. You can sit onto the heels, or onto a block/the floor in between the heels. You can stop here if this is plenty of sensation. If you are okay with moving into a reclined pose, begin to walk the hands back behind you. You can rest on the forearms or perhaps lower all the way to a blanket. Make sure the knees don’t lift up as you lower down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savasana (7 min)

Make your way upright. Stretch the feet and legs for a moment and when you are ready find a comfortable savasana position to rest into. I chose reclined butterfly supported by a strap and with the blanket resting on my torso. Get creative and enjoy a few moments of stillness! You deserve it :)

Make your way upright. Stretch the feet and legs for a moment and when you are ready find a comfortable savasana position to rest into. I chose reclined butterfly supported by a strap and with the blanket resting on my torso. Get creative and enjoy a few moments of stillness! You deserve it🙂