It’s Monday … how about some yin?
I hope you are doing well today! I am coming out of a very busy work season and am grateful to be sharing with you all again today.
If you didn’t see on my Facebook page already, soon I will be launching some mini-workshops on the topic of teaching / practicing yin yoga. If you’d like to be added to my email list to be notified of these workshops, please click here!
After many days and long hours at my desk – my low back is a total wreck! So, I wanted to share a new sequence with you today that can help provide relief for low back tension and pain. Energetically, this part of our body holds much of our frustration and anxiety. If you feel these things surfacing during the practice, focus on a deep flow of breath. Repeating mantra: inhale: “be” exhale “still” to come back to center.
Supported Bridge Pose (3 min) – Set yourself up on your back and slide the block under your sacrum in the lower spine. You can keep the knees bent or extend the legs straight. Allow your body to fully release into the support the block provides and enjoy this deep release for the lumbar vertebrae.
Butterfly (5 min) – Gently remove the block from the low back and return to the ground in a reclined position. Bend the knees and roll onto one side in a fetal position, feeling the effects of the supported pose your body was just in. Press your way up to seated and position yourself so your knees drop out and the feet come together. Support yourself with props as needed (ie. bolster in lap, blanket under hips, etc.) and begin to fold down. The upper back and neck can round if that is comfortable for you.
Caterpillar (3 min) – Slowly rise up from butterfly pose and begin to extend the legs straight in front of you. Invite movement and release into the legs and hips in whatever motion feels appropriate. When you feel settled, begin to fold yourself toward your extended legs, again using props where you feel they will benefit your pose for today.
Sphinx / Seal (5 min) – Rise out of your fold and give yourself a moment to rest with the head above the heart, then gently make your way to the belly. Prop yourself onto the forearms so the elbows are right beneath or just in front of the shoulders. Legs extend straight back behind you, glutes soft. Head can stay lifted or you can drop it to hang forward or rest it onto a block. Intensify this pose by adding a bolster under the forearms. In the last minute or two, if you’d like even more sensation, take the palms wide and press the elbows off of the floor for seal pose.
Half Frog (1 min) to Supine Twist (3 min) – Lower back down to the belly. Feel free to bend the knees and windshield wiper the feet side to side for a moment. Drop the legs down to the earth once more, cactus the elbows as you turn the gaze to the left, and gently slide the inner left leg up the side of the mat for half frog. Remain here for 6 deep and nourishing breaths (about one minute).
When ready, begin to extend the right arm forward and roll yourself onto the right side body, head resting on the arm. Gently open up into a supine twist eventually allowing the head to roll off the arm toward the space behind you. Breath deeply, but calmly into the rotation occurring naturally in the spine. Trust gravity and your breath to do all the work here.
*repeat half frog and supine twist on other side*
Banana (3 min each side) – From your twist on the second side, roll onto your back. Begin to stretch out long, taking the arms overhead and legs forward. Walk the feet over to the right, crossing the left ankle over the right if you’d like. Stay here, or begin to wiggle the upper body over toward the right side as well. Feel the left side body growing longer with each and every round of breath. After 3 minutes, move to the other side.
Pigeon / Swan Pose (5 min) – From your back, rock and roll gently up to a table top position. Slide the left knee toward the left wrist and walk the foot over toward the right side of the mat. Scoot the right leg back and utilize props wherever you feel wobbly here or need extra cushion. Take your time as you fold forward, eventually landing in a position where you can breathe and embrace the effects of the pose. After 5 minutes, complete this pose on the other side.
Hero / Saddle Pose (3 min) – From a table top position, uncurl the toes open your heels wider than your hips. Gently come back to a comfortable seat. Start by sitting higher on a prop and then lower down to the right amount of sensation for you slowly. You can stay upright or gently begin to recline toward the space behind you onto a prop or to the floor. If you feel a pinch in the low back, elevate your hips and scoot the cushion of your butt forward to lengthen the lumbar spine.
Legs up the Wall (8 min) / Savasana – Gently rise out of saddle and roll the hips to one side to extend the legs out in front of you. Shake and stretch them out to release the pose and then make your way to a wall for savasana. I like to keep my hips on the ground and close to the wall, but you can also elevate your hips to a bolster/blanket or take any comfortable resting position that works best for you.