I hope your holiday season is going well and you are finding moments to be still and practice presence. I wanted to post one more yin sequence for the year to encourage you to spend some time reconnecting with what matters most. Hope you enjoy it!
For the first pose, set up your blocks as pictured above. You’ll want to experiment with them until you feel like your head can fully rest. The skinny edge of the angled block will align with the base of the skull and help to release the tension created in the neck by the weight of the head. Your arms and legs can take whatever shape feels best. Spend time here observing the breath and checking in with yourself – mind, body and spirit. Set an intention or simply focus on the breath and how it calms and nourishes you.
When ready, take the arms overhead for a more full body stretch here. Interlace the hands behind the back of the head and slowly draw the chin to the chest and gently roll the head side to side or just support the weight of the head in this position. Eventually roll of of your props and rest into a fetal position on the right side body.
Armpit Release (3 min)
From fetal pose, begin to prop up onto your right forearm. Before going further, take about 5-8 long breaths letting the right side body release toward the floor. Think about breathing into the muscles that line the ribcage on the right side. When ready, place the block under the armpit and slowly let the weight of the body rest into that support. You can lessen the intensity by lowering the block down a level or cushioning it with a blanket. The right arm can extend overhead or you can bend at the elbow and let the head rest into the palm. Experiment with your positioning to find an appropriate sensation level for your body. You can roll gently side to side to massage into the fascia a bit more.
Seated: Cactus Arm Pulses x5
Slowly remove the block and rise up to a comfortable seated position. Sit upright for a moment to notice the sensations settling in and through you. When you’re ready for gentle movement, place the left hand to the floor to your left and lift the right arm up and overhead. On an exhale, cactus the elbow and open your chest slightly upward. Repeat 5 times – nice and easy with the breath.
Seated Neck Stretch (1 min)
Place the right hand to the low back and level out the spine and torso. On an exhale, gently drop the left ear to the left shoulder and roll the head around slowly to feel your way through this neck stretch.
Reverse Needle (5 min)
Come back down to the belly and extend the right arm out to the right side. Pressing into the left hand, roll to the right side body until you feel a good stretch in the shoulder. If you want more support for your neck, elevate your head to a blanket or shallow block.
Come back to the belly and thread the right arm across the chest to find a counter stretch. Otherwise, just stay neutral and let the arm hang at the side body.
When ready, move to the left side starting with your armpit release pose.
Table Top (2 min)
Come onto hands and knees and find some gentle movement with the body. Cat and cow, hip circles, wrist stretches…just scan the body and move through what feels organic for you.
Half Toe Stretch (2 min)
Step the left foot through the hands. Tuck the right toes under and then slowly begin to sit back toward the heel. Place a block or something similar beneath the hips for support here. Stay leaning forward to lessen the intensity. Sit upright to add to it.
After the time is up, shift forward and uncurl the toes, patting the top of the foot to the earth.
Dragon Lunge (4 min)
Make your way forward into your lunge position, scooting the right knee back and letting the hips settle forward and down toward the floor. Stay high or work your way lower over time. Moving slowly here – nothing to accomplish beyond breathing!
Deer Twist (4 min)
Rise up out of your lunge and walk the left foot to the right as if you’re transitioning into swan/pigeon pose. Drop the hips to the left so the right knee can slide up to the left heel. Position a bolster in front of the outer left hip and square your chest in that direction. Over time, slowly lower the chest down to the prop, allowing the spine to rotate here.
Half Butterfly (3 min)
Rise up from your deer twist, bringing the torso back to neutral. Lean to the left to undo the right leg, extending it to straight and opening it up to the right side. Begin to fold here…you can choose to fold straight ahead or slightly to the inner leg.
Rise up when ready and take a moment feeling the rebound effects. Eventually move to the other side of your half toe stretch through half butterfly.
Supported Bridge (5 min)
Make your way to your back, bending at the knees and elevate the hips so you can slide a prop beneath your sacrum. Let the body relax onto the prop. Take several minutes here.
Savasana – Legs up the Wall or wherever is preferred (10 min)
Make your way to a final shape where you’d like to rest and absorb the space you’ve created with your practice today.