Yin Yoga Sequence: Gratitude in 2020

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Alana Speed

Hello, yin friends! 

As the seasons start to shift, I hope that you’re able to pause and reflect on everything this (particularly crazy) year has brought you. Collectively, we’ve radically seen the world shift in front of us, we’ve had no choice but to let go of Plan A (and B, C…), we’ve understood the importance of community and wellness, and we’ve leaned on the fortitude inside each of us.

My hope for today’s flow is to reflect on the simplicity and ritual of gratitude, and how bringing both the yin and yang into our practice can mimic the balance of both the moments of intensity and rest in our lives. In this balance, we find gratitude for the ebbs and flows of this year and the centering we need to move through a more present life. 

Grab a block, bolster or pillow and let’s do some yin, y’all!

“The real gift of gratitude is the more grateful you are, the more present you become.”

– Robert Holden

Reclined Heart Opener with Butterfly (5 minutes)

  • Setting up your first pose with an incline using props of your choice; I am using a block at the back of my mat with the bolster angling downward for me to rest my upper back on. I chose to bring the soles of my feet to touch, knees apart to encourage a full front body opening.
  • Beginning to breathe deeply into the belly, allowing for the mind to find a ritual of practicing gratitude, repeating a few simple things you are thankful for. The simpler, the better! When we find gratitude for small things like our breath, we find that life can be as simple as we allow it.

Seated Wide Leg Forward Fold (3 minutes)

  • Rooting down through the sit bones with legs extended in front of you (width is up to you), feel free to add a bend in the knees. Gently hinge at the hips, allowing for the upper body to round onto props of your choice. I use a bolster under my elbows and chest. Feel free to turn the head halfway through to even out the neck!
  • Continually return to your intention of simple gratitudes. 

Half Saddle / Right Side (3 minutes)

  • Slowly coming up from the forward fold, taking a deep breath. Begin to lean over to the left sit bone, bending the right knee and sliding the top of the foot and shin down to the mat. This one can be a bit much on the knee so feel free to lean out of it to the left or sit on a prop. Option to lean back into the heart opener support we took in the first pose.
  • Stay here for three to five minutes, breathing through any tension in the belly and hips, noticing anything that comes up here. Allow for the body to soften each time you exhale.

Fetal Pose / Left Side (1 minute)

  • Lean into the left outer hip, rolling onto the left side of your body off of your props. Support the head with the left arm. 
  • Pause and breathe. Each time we pause and breathe, remember that these little moments of stillness can be interwoven throughout your day, not just on your mat. The more we practice it, the more we find presence. 

Supine Twist / Left Side (3 minutes)

  • From your fetal pose, keeping the knees bent, you’ll begin to move the props out from behind you so you can twist. Take the shoulder blades to the mat, bringing arms into a T, taking your gaze either up to the ceiling or to the right hand.
  • Option to grab the right foot or calve after 2 minutes, straightening throughout the right leg as you twist.

Rolling up at your own pace, begin to go through half saddle through supine twist on the opposite side.

Camel Pose (1 minute)

  • Coming onto the hands and knees, add a few cat/cow motions or swaying the hips from side to side.
  • Begin to come up onto the shins, first placing the hands on the lower back. Breathe into the belly, curling the tailbone downward as hips gently press forward, lifting the heart upwards, squeezing the elbows back together. 
  • After a few deep breaths, you have the option to tuck the toes, taking the hands towards the heels. Keep thinking about lifting the heart and pulling the tailbone downward. Let the gratitude flow through you with your breath! Traveling through the body and expanding as you breathe in and out.
  • You know your body best! Take a few deep breaths here before lowering onto the bottom. 

Seated Butterfly (3 minutes)

  • Evening out through the spine, pausing in a seated pose as you breathe into the belly. Soles of the feet to touch, knees apart, gently hinge at the hips rounding onto props of your choice. Soften the belly and upper body.

Savasana (5 minutes)

  • Pulling the knees together and placing a pillow or bolster behind the knees, rolling into the back when you are ready. Take your final resting pose in any pose that allows you to fully soften into your mat. 
  • Scan the body, starting from the toes and moving to the crown of the head, allow for all the muscles to soften. Each time you inhale, allow the body to get lighter. Each time you exhale, allow the body to get heavier. 

After Savasana, landing in a comfortable seat, connecting the palms as they land in front of your heart. As we connect the palms, we honor both sides of the body. Both the yin and yang, the light and dark, the highs and lows. Let gratitude flow from the heart center to the entire body. Breathe deeply into the belly and know that all is well.

Lots of love, 

Alana


For more info on Alana, connect with her on Instagram: @alanakaay

Soon she will launch her new website at wellnesswithalana.com

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Alana Speed
Alana Speed
Alana Speed is a 200-hour graduate from the Inspire Yoga teacher training program, with certifications in “Understanding and Teaching Yin Yoga” by Nancy Nelson, “Trauma Awareness” by DeAnna Shires and “Women’s Health in Yoga” by Yoga Medicine. She is currently in school to become a certified Health Coach through IIN. Alana’s journey towards wellness began in college and has led her down a winding road of seeking balance in all aspects of life. Alana believes that wellness stretches far past the focus on just yoga and food, and she aspires to help others find the same ease she sought out years ago; at the heart of all of her teachings are compassion centered philosophy with the reminder that it’s all a lifelong journey.

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