Yin Yoga | Summer Stretch

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Nancy Nelson

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










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13 Responses

  1. I am so happy to see you are back and I just want to say I absolutely love all of your creative sequences!

  2. Thank you so much. I teach Yin and often look at what other instructors are doing for ideas to help keep my classes fresh. You truly are an inspiration to me. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

    1. Hi Leanne! Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m grateful to provide inspiration for you!

    1. Hey Cecilia! Haha, sure! Call it what makes sense to you. For me, it’s so similar to Threaded Needle just with the leg extended and I use the name “Broken Wing” for another pose entirely so that would confuse my brain to call it that ๐Ÿ™‚

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Titles for Website (38)
Nancy Nelson
Nancy Nelson
Nancy is the fearless leader here at Nancy Nelson Yoga! She has been instructing yoga since 2012 and is certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500, YACEP) with Yoga Alliance. She loves guiding yoga classes in all forms โ€“ from sweaty vinyasa flows, to slow mindful movement - but her favorite style to practice and teach is yin yoga. She attended a formal 50-hour Yin Yoga training with Bernie Clark and Diana Batts in the fall of 2018 and it truly propelled her into developing her yin focused website, webinars and trainings.

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