Today I am going to walk you through a sequence (about 60-75 minutes) that you can use to detox the back body and clear out blockages along the kidney meridian lines. Meridians are lines of energy that flow through the body and can affect various organs, circulation, and general function of the physical body and the state of your mental/emotional self. The kidneys work to flush out the waste in the body so that blood can move purely and effectively to nourish our cells. When we have a lot of built up stress in the spine, hips, and legs – we need a release through those joints so the kidney meridian can flow energy effectively. When our these lines are clear we can feel more vibrant, confident, and calm. When there are blockages in these energetic pathways, not only is our mental state out of whack (anxiety, confusion, dullness) but our physical body can take on unnecessary stress (reproductive issues, urinary problems, pain in back/neck/throat). Today’s poses will include a focus on: hips, hamstrings, spinal rotation/flexion/extension.Below you see a picture that shows the path of the kidney meridian lines. Check out this link for more information.
If you would like to see this flow in action, check out my youtube video here: http://youtu.be/iQuggphHEC4
Download the PDF version of this flow here: yinyoga-kidneyflow
First thing’s first. Try to have a few of these things (or something similar) nearby. Props are a great way to make a yin sequence even more amazing.
1. Reclined Butterfly (5 minutes)
You can recline onto a bolster with the knees supported (as pictured) or you are welcome to lie on the mat as well. Spend some time here getting settled into the physical body. Closing your eyes and breathing deep breaths feeling the fresh surge of oxygen moving through your belly, ribs, and chest. As you continue to breathe, feel the expansion into your back as the breath moves in. As you exhale, feel the body relax and begin to soak up the space your inhales create.
2. Butterfly (5 minutes)
You can do a lot of things with props in this fold. Feel free to use your bolster or block for support. Any prop that will help you to soften and surrender in a place of sensation will be really beneficial to the pose.
3. Wide Leg Fold/Straddle (Right, Left, Center)
Open out your legs into a wide V shape. Make sure you can sit up nice and tall. If it’s difficult to maintain a long spine, you can sit onto the edge of a blanket and let your pelvis drop forward so your low back is lengthened.
a.Right, Left Sides (3 minutes each)
When you are folding over one leg at a time, it can cause some compression and painful feelings in the low back. If this is happening when you enter the pose, you can pull in the opposite foot to the inner thigh and take Half Butterfly instead. Again use your props for this posture so that you are able to relax and breathe. Once you are in the posture, you can relax the feet and round the spine.
b. Center (5 minutes)
4. Sphinx/Seal (3 minutes)
Begin in sphinx pose and if you feel ready, you can move forward into seal pose. Make sure your low back feels stable and you are able to breathe fully wherever you land in the pose.
5. Saddle (5 minutes)
There are so many options here. If you have really tight knees/ankles. Just stay with the first option (1st picture) sitting onto your heels or place a blanket in between your hamstrings and calves. Stay here and just work on your breath.
If you feel okay, begin to lean into your hands and open out your heels wider than your hips and sit onto a block. If you still feel open in the leg joints, see how it feels to sit all the way on the mat.
If you are sitting onto a prop, you may recline back onto your hands, forearms or a bolster. If you are not sitting on a prop, you can recline all the way back. Take your time, ease into it, and then close your eyes to breathe wherever you are.
6. Dragons (1.5 minutes each)
a. Baby Dragon
b. Overstepping Dragon
This is a less-common asana but is a great way to lengthen the back of the ankle and deepens the stretch in the hamstring and psoas muscles.
c. Splits (2 minutes)
Use your discretion on whether or not to enter into full splits. I like to use a block under the front hamstring and keep my back toes tucked until I feel open enough to lower to the ground. Take your time with this! Your hamstrings need lots of patience and love!
Take a moment to balance out the body in childs pose or a wide leg down dog.
7. Caterpillar (3 minutes)
Take about five breaths upright. Working on feeling the breath move from your belly, up through your ribs (feeling the back body expand), all the way to the chest. Take a long inhale and use your exhale to fold forward.
9. Happy Baby (2 minutes)
10. Spinal Twist: Cat Pulling Its Tail (3 minutes each side)
10. Savasana (Legs Up The Wall) (5-10 minutes)
I like to lay a blanket across me to feel extra comfortable and grounded. This pose will help you feel the circulation moving through the body more freely and will leave you feeling light, relaxed, and open as you close your practice.