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Yin Sequence: Relief for Shoulders, Neck, & Back

Good afternoon, yin friends!

I’m excited to share this sequence with you. As we near the last bit of winter – our bodies are really starting to feel the impact of being curled up under a blanket for the last few months. I hope that this sequence brings a sense of awakening and renewal to your shoulders, neck and back.

My Playlist

 

Supported Bridge Pose (5 min) – First, let’s work to release the lower/lumbar spine. Starting with knees bent on your back, begin to lift the hips and place a block under the sacrum (flat space at the base of your back. Stay with the knees bent or allow the legs to stretch toward straight. Allow the full weight of your body to release into this shape and begin to pay attention to the steadiness of your breath and the consistency of your heartbeat.

Press into the feet to remove the block. Allow your self to rest for a moment on a flat back as you settle into the new space in your lower back.

Supported Bridge Pose

Block to Middle Back (5 min) –  Moving into the middle/thoracic spine – begin to rise up to seated for a moment as you place the block just beneath your shoulder blades. The higher the block, the more intense the backbend. Feel free to bring an additional prop under the back of your head if it causes any pain to allow your head to drop back as pictured. Take care of that neck!

Block to Middle Back

Childs Pose @ Couch/Chair etc (3 min) – Situate yourself now in a childs pose position with your hands elevated to something a little higher than the shoulders. I used a couch here, but a chair would work nicely too. Allow your head to hang heavy here.

Childs Pose @ Couch

Wrist/Neck Stretch (2 min each) – Sitting back to the heels (or any comfortable seated position) begin to stretch the arms a little forward and turn the palms up, so the backs of the hands are on the floor. Spend a couple of minutes stretching out the top of the wrist. If needed, gently pulse in and out of the depth of this pose. After your time is up, flip the hands and stretch the opposite side of the wrists, with the palms facing down on the ground.

On an inhale, take the arms overhead and interlace the fingers. Place the palms to the back of the head and gently release the chin to the chest on an exhale. Breathe here and slowly turn the head side to side exploring tension in the back/sides of the neck.

Wrist/Neck Stretch

Cow Face Legs + Neck/Side Body Release – Come to seated and situate your left leg on top of the right. You can take the right leg to straight if that enables you to sit evenly on the floor. Sitting up tall, begin to take the left hand to the low back and the other hand on the top knee. Take an inhale to lengthen the neck, then on your exhale drop the right ear to the right shoulder. Hold 1 minute and then switch the arms and drop the opposite ear down for another 1 minute.

Fold forward with the left leg on top.

Neck Stretch

Switch the legs and place a block on the highest level to the right side. Drop your elbow to the block and rest your head into the right hand. Left hand can stay in your lap or stretch and rest overhead. Hold 1 minute. Switch block to the other side and stretch for 1 minute.

Fold forward with the right leg on top.

Side Body Stretch

Threaded Arm/Half Cow Face Stretch (4 min) – Come to your belly and begin to thread the left arm across the chest. You can thread the right arm in front of the left or rest the right arm at your side to add on in a moment. After the first minute, if you’d like to add on, begin to take the right hand to the low back. You can stay here or walk the hand toward the middle back and then reach your left hand over the right shoulder to connect the fingers (or use a strap). Release into the tissues that line your deltoid and outer arm in this pose.

Half Cow Face Arms Stretch

Cat Pulling Its Tail/Supine Twist (4 min) – If your right arm is bound with the left release it to the right side once more. Keeping your left arm threaded, slowly begin to roll onto your left side body and take the right arm out to the right side letting the shoulder release toward the floor. You can add on by binding the left hand with the right calf/foot and the right with the left ankle (bending the left knee). If your neck is okay with stretching further, consider taking the gaze over to the right to intensity the depth.*

Cat Pulling its Tail / Spinal Twist

*Repeat threaded arm and spinal twist on the other side.

Savasana (5-7 min) – Allow yourself to settle into a final resting pose. Wherever you land, allow every muscle and bone to hang heavy and release any last bit of tension as you take rest.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

Namaste!

THRIVE: Spring 2017

Good afternoon my friends!

It’s that time again – spring cleaning is right around the corner. If you are like many of us, this feeling of renewal is needed way beyond the nooks and crannies of your home…your body, mind & spirit need a little refresher as well! I am excited to announce that I will be offering my four-week series on self-love called “Thrive” again in March! This series will include yoga classes, a cleanse, journaling, accountability…and so much more.

For those of you who have been contacting me about an online version of the program, I’m excited to announce – I will be offering an online session this summer! More details to come.

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DATES

FRI MAR 10 | 7:15PM – 9:15PM | Kickoff Meeting

SUN MAR 12 | 2:00PM – 3:00PM | Weekly Meeting

SUN MAR 19 | 2:00PM – 3:00PM | Weekly Meeting

SUN MAR 26 | 2:00PM – 3:00PM | Weekly Meeting

SUN APR 2 | 2:00PM – 3:00PM | Weekly Meeting

FRI APR 7 | 7:15PM – 9:15PM | Celebration & Yoga Class 

Are you an Inspire Yoga member? Save $50 on registration!

Not a member? I am thrilled to be able to include 4 complimentary yin yoga sessions in your tuition pricing. These classes are held each Monday evening during Thrive at Inspire Yoga in Denton at 7:30PM.

Interested in learning some of the specifics? Join me for a free info session held at Inspire Yoga Denton Thursday February 16th at 5:15PM or email me at nancynelsonyoga@gmail.com

SPACE IS LIMITED. Sign up today!

Inspire Yoga Members | $150

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Non-members | $200

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TERMS & CONDITIONS: BY CLICKING “BUY NOW” AND PURCHASING THE THRIVE FOUR-WEEK SERIES YOU ARE RESERVING YOUR SPACE IN THE WORKSHOP. NO REFUNDS AFTER 2/28/2016. 

If you follow my blog and are not local to the DFW area, I’m working on formatting this program into an online version. For those of you who have already expressed interest – I have your name and email saved and will contact you as soon as it’s ready!

Alternatively if you would like to offer this workshop at your home studio, condensed into a weekend, contact me about details and scheduling.

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Yin Sequence | Back Body

Good afternoon, yin friends!

Today, I wanted to share a sequence I recently taught that focuses on stimulating the meridian lines on the back body. I hope you find it refreshing and helpful. As always, do not hesitate to comment your questions and thoughts.

My Playlist

CHILDS POSE (5 min) – Begin your practice by dropping the hips back to the heels and allowing the chest to rest onto the thighs. You can stretch the arms overhead or just keep them at the sides toward the feet. Take a few moments here to let go of the thoughts of your day and focus in on the moment at hand. Allow your breath and attention to expand in to the back body – creating physical and mental space for the practice.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

CAT/COW (2 min) – Come into a table top position and begin to move through a few rounds of cat and cow. Inhales bringing your gaze forward, tailbone high and exhales allowing you to round the spine toward the ceiling and relax the weight of the head. Continue to wiggle through these and any other shapes that are calling out to you.

Utilize these stretches to observe where you feel resistance in the back body.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

STRETCH LEG BACK (2 min) – Come back to a neutral spine and take your right foot to the back of the mat. Tuck the toes under and begin to press into the heel of the foot as you find a nice stretch through the back of the ankle, calf and knee. Allow your head to relax to add on a stretch through the back of the neck. Try not to make this too active, allow yourself to be heavy in this shape.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

LIZARD (5 min) – Step the right foot between the hands at the top of the mat. You can stay here with the hands on either side of the foot or begin to heel toe the foot over further to the right and bring both hands to the inside of the foot. Pause in the first surge of sensation and then over time, if your body finds more release here – begin to move to your forearms on the blocks or the floor. You can also slightly angle the foot to the right and roll to the pinky edge of the foot if that feels nice. Be gentle on your ankle and knee – there should be no pain here!

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

PIGEON (5 min) – From lizard, walk your right foot across and over to the left side of the mat, setting your shin down at the top. You can tuck the heel of the foot in closer to the hips to alleviate the intensity here. Utilize your props as necessary (perhaps a blanket under the right hip if there’s space there). Allow your body to begin to melt forward, but take your time. Pause in the intensity and breathe. When the sensations quiet down a bit, then go deeper. You have time here – so utilize it and do not rush.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

WIPERS side to side (3 to 4 times) – From pigeon, roll up and remove any props from underneath you. Begin to roll onto the right hip and open out to the long edge of the mat. Drop both knees over the left and the right a few times.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

WIPER TWIST (2 min) – Drop the knees over to the left side and pause. On an exhale, begin to walk your hands and torso over to the left until you feel a good rotation in the spine. Use your breath to create more release here. Inhales will lengthen the spine taller and exhales will allow you to twist slightly deeper. Make this more subtle than dramatic as for how deeply you rotate. Pay attention to every sensation and pause when you find your sweet spot. You can also rotate the gaze toward the left shoulder and even drop your chin into the chest if that feels nice for the cervical spine.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

HEAD TO KNEE (3 min) – From your twist, rotate around to the back of your mat and extend the left leg straight and keeping the right knee bent, just plug the foot to the left inner thigh. Take a few breaths upright and eventually allow yourself to fold forward toward the extended left leg. Bend your knee and use your props here as needed.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

SUPINE TWIST (4 min) – Roll up from your head to knee pose and begin to roll onto your back, hugging the right knee into the chest. Holding onto the shin with your left hand, extend your right arm out to the side and draw the knee across and over to the left. You can prop your knee onto a block and just let the foot hang if it’s elevated. Allow your gaze to drop to the right if it feels okay in the neck. As before, focus on the length in the spine on your inhales and the depth of rotation on the exhales. Nothing should be forced here, gravity will do most of the work.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

SPHINX/SEAL (3 min each time) – From your twist, roll onto your belly and face the front of the mat once more. Take a moment on the belly to observe and relax and then begin to make your way to the forearms coming into sphinx pose. The elbows will be underneath or just beyond the shoulders as for alignment. You shouldn’t feel like you’re going to face plant, so allow yourself to find a place where you can lengthen the spine. Your head can stay lifted and active or relax it down to a block or to hang mid-air. Relax the glutes and breathe here.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

*repeat poses on the other side – starting with stretching your leg back in table top*

(second side) – After completing the poses on the other side, come back to your sphinx pose and then pursue a deeper variation. You can elevate the forearms to a blanket or a couple blocks or find your way to seal pose by widening the hands and lifting the elbows. The closer your hands are to you the more intense the stretch becomes. If a deeper variation is too much for your lumbar (low) back, come back to the above sphinx pose.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

HALF COWFACE ARM STRETCH (3 min) – Thread the left arm across the chest and relax the right arm at the side body. Stay here for your first few breaths, relaxing the weight of the body into the floor and pay attention to the stretch in the back of the left arm. Stay here or begin to walk the right arm to the low back and perhaps inch it up in between the shoulder blades. If you want to connect the hands, begin to bend the left elbow and reach for the right hand over the right shoulder. Repeat on other side when done.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

CHILDS POSE (2 min) – Allow the spine to settle for a moment in childs pose. Observe the space you’ve created in the back body and how this posture feels now compared to the beginning of class. Breathing deeply into the spaces you earlier noticed resistance and tension.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

BLOCK in MID BACK (3 min) – Come onto your back and begin to nestle a block or a blanket under the middle back (top of prop should be around the base of the shoulder blades). Your hips will land onto the floor and your chest will splay open a bit. Take up some space here and breathe.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

SAVASANA (7 min) – Remove the block and allow your body to settle into our final resting pose – Savasana. Let your breath return to its natural pace and your eyes to hang heavy. Use these moments to absorb the space and openness you’ve created with your practice today.

BACK BODY - YIN YOGA

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Pose Breakdown: Toe Squat

Hello yin friends!

I hope you are having a beautiful week so far. I wanted to share one of my favorite (and FIERY!) yin postures with you today. Toe Squat is a pretty simple pose as far as mechanics go, but boy is it intense. The reason for the intensity? These little joints in the body are easy ones to neglect. We tend to focus more on the larger parts of our lower halves because they tend to be the cranky ones. Your knees ache and your hips are tight – crying out for attention! But it’s important that we pay attention to the ten little toes that so greatly help us balance and walk. Practice this stretch consistently and over time you will find greater mobility and more ease when your trying to balance in that pesky Warrior 3 pose.

Directions

Start in table top. Begin to tuck all 10 toes under and then gently walk your hands back toward the knees. If you can comfortably sit all the way up, you can simply rest the hands in the lap. After you’ve landed in a good place within the pose, be sure to tuck those pesky pinkies back under as they tend to attempt an escape.

Yin Yoga - Toe Squat

Notes

  • DON’T RUN AWAY! – The point of the posture is to find resistance and breathe through it. When the intensity starts to build, breathe through the chaos. Find something calming and encouraging to focus on and practice incorporating this intention into the breath.
  • DETAILS
    • Do your best to relax the areas that do not need to be tense here. When this pose starts to really hit, I notice my face starts to tighten (specifically my jaw) as well as my shoulders tense up. Remind yourself to relax areas such as this in your own body. Focus on where the sensation resides and mentally send the breath into that space.
    • Try to keep the heels pointed straight up rather than letting the ankles turn from one side to the other. That could tweak this sensitive joint and cause pain nearby joints (knees/toes).

Yin Yoga - Toe squat

 

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Variations

  1. Cushion yourself | If you have sensitive knees, you can always bring a blanket under them for support. You can also use a blanket under the hips if it helps to alleviate any discomfort with sitting all the way back to the heels.
  2. Add-on stretches | Once settled into this pose, feel free to take some kind of variation with the neck/shoulders. I like to do the stretches shown below.
  3. Walk the knees forward for more | If you want to add some additional intensity to this posture, feel free to create more of an angle in the top of the feet so that the bend in the toes becomes deeper. You’ll need to do a double check of the pinky toes if you add this adjustment in.
Angle in feet

Angle in feet

BENEFITS

  • Deeply releases tension around the toes

ENERGETICS

  • Stimulates lower body  meridians which all originate in the toes.
  • Applies pressure to reflexology points on the toes and to the base of the ball of the foot (see chart below)
footreflexology

Image: Footy Rooty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Knee/Ankle Issues. There should be no sharp, shooting pains here in this posture. Be mindful if you have a current or past injury in either of these areas and find a way to support yourself with props as needed.
  • Lack of toe mobility . If you have had any kind of surgery in the toes please consult your doctor if this posture is safe for you. If you have any kind of metal object implanted in the toes, it is probably best leave this posture out on that foot or altogether.

HOLD: 1-3 minutes. Come off of the heels very slowly.

COUNTER POSTURES 

Pat the toes on the floor behind you. Come back to table top and pat the toes gently on the mat behind you to release the front of the foot. You can also spread the toes out and wiggle them around if that helps.

 

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Rainbow Juice | New Years Eve

Hello friends!

Happy New Years Eve! There is much to celebrate today as we close out another year of life and look ahead to 2017. Truth be told, I planned to juice today because I bought a whole bunch of pretty produce at Whole Foods earlier this week that I didn’t want to go to waste. After getting it all out – beautiful colors of green, red, yellow, and orange were before me.  I thought to myself “this will be an excellent recipe to share on my blog!”. Then I quickly realized that this would also be a perfect recipe for “brown juice” seeing as green messes with the pretty shades of red, yellow and orange. In a moment of brilliance (aka Divine intervention), I stumbled on the idea of making “rainbow juice”. I carefully created each color and then slowly folded them together. It ended up turning into a bit of a meditative experience as (thanks to Noah’s story) rainbows remind me that God keeps his promises. He kept promises in 2016 and he will do the same in 2017. I spent some time thinking on His promises and how he is unchanging – he will not change his mind or go back on His word. It is certain. I hope that if you embark on making this, He will whisper you His promises and that they will nourish your spirit.

Cheers to whatever is ahead in the new year!

 

Rainbow Juice

Here’s what you’ll need: Amounts will totally depend on how much juice you’d like to make. What I have pictured is what I used and it made about 4 12 oz servings.

  • Rainbow chard
  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Golden beets
  • Apples
  • Blood (or regular) oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon & lime
  • Optional: ginger & turmeric (I didn’t have fresh so I used my powdered versions)
  • You’ll need some kind of juicer to make this happen. OR you can mix it all in the blender and then drain the juice.

Directions:

First, prep your citrus fruits by taking off the skin.

Peel Citrus

Next, prep your vegetables by rinsing them thoroughly and then chop off the ends of larger stems.

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Now, take your beets and rinse them. I scrubbed mine as well. Then peel the outer skin off and discard or (save for a salad!) the leafy stems.

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Once you have all of your items prepped it’s time to start juicing! To make the rainbow effect, juice according to colors. Place each colored juice in a separate cup.

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I added ginger to the yellow juice and turmeric to a separate, more orangey yellow juice. Stir and then bask in the beauty for a moment!

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Then layer juices in one by one eventually making that beautiful brown colored juice (oi!). But don’t worry  – it tastes delish and will be a great way to renew your body and mind for the new year! Cheers!

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Pose Breakdown: Needle

Happy day after Christmas, friends!

I hope that you had some time with the people that you care for over this holiday weekend. I’m thankful to have today to simply rest to sit back and find gratitude in the quiet. I wanted to share a new pose breakdown with you guys – threaded needle pose! Often shortened to “needle” – you will see this posture infused into many different aspects of your practice. It’s a gentle twist and a shoulder/neck release all-in-one. Enjoy! Feel free to reach out with questions. My hope is to start sharing videos with each of these breakdowns in the new year so look for some updated posts in January.

Directions

For the traditional variation of this pose, begin in table top on all fours. Take your left arm and begin to thread it across the mat and over to the right side of the mat. Gently drop down to your shoulder and the left side of your head here. Your right arm can stay supporting you or you can reach it overhead or wrap it around your back. Play around with different sensations and land somewhere that feels nice.

Threaded Needle- Yin Yoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

  • DON’T RUSH – 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.
  • DETAILS – Do your best to completely relax through the hips, spine and face here. Allow the muscles you do not need to completely let go in order to aid in the release of the posture as a whole. Close your eyes and really focus on what’s happening in the spine here. On the inhales, imagine your spine lengthening out more and on the exhales feel your spine gently rotating deeper.

Variations

  1. Bring the earth to you | The floor is not the goal, sensation is! When you find your stopping point – it might not be the floor, and that is OKAY!  Use a block/blanket to support your forehead and/or shoulder if it will help you relax here.
  2. Get low | If keeping the hips lifted high is difficult or straining in any way, simply drop your hips toward the heels and take a childs pose variation of the pose. You can alternatively do this pose from the side body to lessen intensity and weight on the shoulder that is threaded.
  3. Leg extended | If you want to add an additional stretch onto this pose, you can take one leg out to the side. The most common form is to extend the leg that’s on the side you’re facing, but sometimes it feels nice to do the opposite leg of the side you’re facing.
  4. Incorporate into poses | you might also see this pose incorporated as an arm variation on occasion. The most common occurrence of this that I have experienced is in pigeon pose.

Several of these variations are shown below:

Summer Stretch Yin - Threaded Needle

Leg extended to opposite of gaze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From the side body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Threaded Needle- Yin Yoga

Hips at childs pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Threaded Needle variation

Pigeon – Threaded Needle variations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENEFITS

  • Wonderful stretch for the outer hips, low back and shoulders (if adding variations).

ENERGETICS

  • Stimulates the urinary, stomach, lung meridians. As well as the lines associated with the liver and kidney when the inner leg is incorporated.
  • Balances the physical and mental bodies. Twists often help to deeply reawaken the body and create a sense of ease. Often incorporated into sequences after a long forward or back bend. Twists also help to flush the body of toxins because of the rotation in the spine and the pressure on the organs as you breathe into these shapes.

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Sciatica/Low back issues. Either leave this pose out (especially if you cannot prevent the back from rounding) or drop the hips to childs pose to ease any pain. Taking the variation from the side body is an excellent option as well as it allows you to solely focus on the shoulder stretch.
  • Knee issues. If you feel any kind of sharp, shooting pains or some kind of abnormal discomfort in the knee and/or ankle joints- be sure to pad your joints with a blanket or release the pressure completely.
  • Pregnancy. If you are pregnant, be very gentle as you twist. I would highly encourage you to support your self and take twists as gently as possible. Elevate to a block/blanket, drop hips back, etc. It is not recommended to do deep twists during any point of your pregnancy. Please speak to your physician about safe movements for you and baby!

HOLD: 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on your own personal needs. Come down very slowly from this posture (as with any yin pose). BE SURE TO DO BOTH SIDES! Give each side equal attention in amount of time and quality of breath and stillness.

COUNTER POSTURES 

  1. Childs Pose. Unravel and drop the hips back to allow the spine to balance. Do this in between sides.
  2. Hero Pose. Allow your back to reset and absorb the space this pose created in a gentle seated or reclined hero pose.

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.

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.

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

Christmas/Winter Yin Sequence

Hello yinsters & happy holidays!

I wanted to share this sequence since the wintertime/cooler temps tend to draw us into a place of stagnancy in the body. My hope is that this set of poses will help to open up the body in areas that don’t tend to get much TLC during the cooler months of the year. If you find the sensation is intense, breathe deeper. Our lungs also tend to get neglected this time of year, so use this time on your mat as an opportunity to return to the breath as well as a feeling of openness and ease in the body. Cozy up next to the Christmas tree and get ready for some stretchy goodness.

My *holiday* Playlist

Reclined on bolster (5 min) – Begin your practice by lying the full length of the spine back onto a bolster or several blankets. Allow your chest to splay open and your arms and legs to take up space. I chose a reclined butterfly pose for my legs here but you are welcome to do whatever feels best in your body.

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

Twist on block/blanket (3 min each side) – This is what I like to affectionately call the “yogi foam roller twist”. You’ll begin to prop your hips onto the prop as you would for supported bridge. Scoot the hips all the way to the right until the right hip is totally off the block but the left hip is still in contact with it. Lift the right leg and straighten out the left leg. Begin to take the right leg across the body to the left side of the mat. You can prop the foot onto a blanket/block if needed. Open your arms out into a “T” or cactus shape to create more expansion across the chest here. As you breathe, pay special attention to the outer left hip as it pushes into the block. Breathe into that intensity and notice the tension melting away with each exhale.

Winter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*repeat twist on other side*

(Roll to belly)

Sphinx (5 min) – The low back tends to take a lot of grunt in the winter months. We hunch over as we cuddle up on the coach, try to keep warm in the car and as we sit at our desks. This stretch will help to gently stretch and release the vertebrae in the lumbar spine and help to restore natural curvature. On your belly, rise up to your forearms allowing the elbows to land beneath and a little beyond the shoulders. You can elevate to blocks (as I did) or stay nice and low. Just play with what feels right for you today.

If you want to hang the head and feel no pain in the neck as you do so, feel free to drop the chin toward the chest and create small side to side movements.

Winter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest on your belly or take half frog on either side (pictured) for a few moments before moving to the next pose.

Summer Stretch Yin - 1/2 Frog

 

 

 

 

 

Threaded Needle + Option to extend leg (3 min each side) – Come to table top pose and take your left leg out to the side. You can keep the hips lifted or you can drop back to a childs pose variation depending on what feels nice. Take the right arm to the sky and then thread it across and through over to the left. Let the side of your head and shoulder hang heavy here. You can decide what you’d like to do with the left arm (reach it forward or perhaps thread it behind the back). If there’s pain in the extended leg/knee, just pull it in and only worry about the upper body in this posture.

Winter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Repeat threaded needle on other side*

Frog (5 min) – Nothing like a juicy hip stretch to wake up those wintry joints! Starting in table top, begin to walk the knees away from one another, keeping the hips situated in between the knees (not shooting forward or back dramatically). You can eventually turn the feet out (to big toe edges) as long as it feels good in your ankles/knees to do so. Stop when the sensation grows and pause and breathe until you can find a place of stillness. You can drop to the forearms, bring the chest to a bolster, or relax the forehead to a block here if you’d like.

If the pose is altogether too much, just push back to a wide legged childs pose instead.

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Pause in a knees together childs pose with the arms relaxing back for a few moments to counter before moving on.

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

Toe Stretch + Neck Release (2 min each side) – Come back to sit on the heels with the toes tucked under. Walk your hands back, perhaps resting them in the lap or keeping them in front of you resting onto a block. If there still isn’t enough sensation, you can walk the knees forward an inch or too to increase sensation by creating a slight angle in the feet. Make sure that stubborn pinky toe doesn’t escape!

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can keep it simple here with just the toe stretch or add this gentle neck lengthener. Take your right hand behind your back and grab ahold of the right tricep with the left hand in front of your body. Find a gentle tension between pulling the elbow back and drawing it forward with the hand. Take an inhale to lengthen the neck and then on your exhale, drop the left ear to the left shoulder. Take a few breaths here to explore the intensity and then make your way to center and do the other side as well.

Gently walk forward out of the toe stretch and pat the tops of the feet onto the floor behind you to release the toes before moving on.

Supported Bridge (3 min) – Come onto your back and begin to prop your hips onto a block beneath the sacrum (flat space at the base of your spine). Once you feel grounded here, you can take the feet forward and arms overhead if you’d like. Slow your breath and rest steadily here.

Bend the knees and press into the feet to lift the hips. Slide the block forward until it is positioned right beneath your sacrum (flat space at the base of the spine).

Banana (2 min each side) – Begin to walk your hands and feet toward the right side of your mat, keeping the hips grounded in center. You can cross the left ankle over the right and grab the left wrist with the right hand to add a bit more intensity here. Breathe into the left side body.

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

Move to the other side of the pose.

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

Savasana (7-10 min) – Come to your back (or any comfortable resting position) and relax your entire body. Allow for all the effort that got you through your day and your practice to fade away as you lie back and soak up this new space in the body and mind.

*TIP* Rest a blanket onto your hips to increase a sense of rest and grounding once more. 

Savasana Repeat LUNGE through COWFACE on the other side