Twisty Yin Sequence

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Mahogany Harrington

The following sequence is all about twists! 

Twists are great postures for releasing tension by gently rotating the spine and stretching out the back muscles. They also help by massaging internal digestive organs, and aid with blood circulation. This entire sequence should take about 65 minutes. Feel free to use a timer!

Props needed:

  • Blanket
  • Bolster
  • Pillow
  • Strap

Contraindications for this flow: Deep twisting is not recommended for pregnant practitioners, people with shoulder, sciatica, back, or hip injuries.

MY PLAYLIST for this class

Seated Grounding + Breath Work (1 min)

Begin practice in a crossed leg seat on top of a blanket folded into a rectangle. Start with a body scan at the crown of the head. Release any tension in the forehead. Release the tongue from the tip of your mouth and let your shoulders soften down your back. Let your hips be heavy and firm into the blanket beneath you. Take a few rounds of deep breaths. 

Open Twist (3 min)

Once you are settled in, reach both arms up above your head and take a big inhale to lengthen your spine. On the exhale, twist open to your right and place the left hand on top of the right knee and place your right hand onto the mat behind you (I like to table tent my back hand by coming onto my fingertips, but feel free to place your entire palm onto the ground behind you). For a deeper twist, you may want to look over the right shoulder, or feel free to keep your head forward and maybe sink deeper into the twist after a minute or so. 

When ready, reach both arms back over your head and twist to the opposite side.

Cowface Pose + Fold (6min)

Uncross your legs and bring them out long in front of you, then bend both knees and put your feet on the floor. Slide your left foot under the right knee to the outside of the right hip. Then cross your right leg over the left, stacking the right knee on top of the left, and bring the right foot to the outside of the left hip. Try to bring the heels equidistant from the hips. Sit evenly on the sitting bones or use a bolster/pillow or block to prop up the hip on the lifted leg. With your strap in the right hand, inhale and stretch both arms above your head. With your exhale, bend your right elbow up to the ceiling, as the right hand with strap comes to the middle of your back. Your left elbow will reach towards the ground as your left hand reaches up toward your right hand and the strap. Stay in this pose for three minutes and if possible, omit the strap and hook the left and right fingers.  After three minutes, take a deep inhale and readjust your hands and fold forward on your exhale.

When ready, come back to a seated position with your legs out in front of you, stack the left knee over the right and place the strap into your left hand for cow face pose on the opposite side. 

Table top (1 min)

Remove the blanket and shift your legs over to one side to come onto your hands and knees. Take a moment to stack your wrists under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips. 

Cat/ Cow (3 min)

Inhale and lower your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest to the ceiling while sending both shoulders back away from the ears. Exhale and start to round your back. Draw your belly button into your spine, tuck your tailbone under, and lower your chin to your chest. Feel free to take any other movements in this position that feel good.

Thread the Needle (3 min)

Come back to your tabletop position. Inhale and reach the right arm up to the ceiling and spin the chest open. As you exhale, thread the right arm under the left armpit and bring the right ear to the mat and extend the left arm out over your head. Once here, if you would like to go a little deeper into the pose, you can take your left hand behind your back and reach for the top of the right thigh. Please be aware that this variation puts additional pressure onto the neck.To release this posture, place the left hand onto the mat and unwind by reaching the right arm back up to the ceiling and then coming back to a neutral tabletop on your hands and knees. 

Once you have reset, thread the needle on the opposite side.

Childs Pose (6min)

Make your way back to tabletop, separate your knees further than hip distance apart, and maybe even bring your big toes to touch. Sink your hips back onto your knees, and lower one ear down to a bolster/pillow, a block, or even your hands. After 3 minutes, switch ears and adjust your props as necessary.

Belly Savasana (2min)

Release from child’s pose by gently moving your props to either side and come to a fully reclined position on your belly. Stretch your arms out long over your head

Goal Post Arms (3 min)

Bend your elbows and bring them in line with your shoulders to goal posts and lower your left ear to the mat. Inhale and lift your right leg up to the ceiling and as you exhale, gently place your right foot over your left leg.  You can completely lower the right sole of the foot to the ground, or come onto your big toe. Your right hand can be flat, or you can come up to “table tents” by lifting the wrist and coming onto your fingertips.In this position, your shoulders and left hip are still facing down to the mat while your right hip and knee are open to the ceiling. Come back to a belly savasana before moving to the other side.

Sphinx (3min)

From your belly savasana, inhale and slide your elbows under your shoulders and keep your forearms on the floor. Exhale, and press into your forearms and lift your chest until you feel a gentile backbend sensation. Both hip bones and thighs will be pressing into the ground. If this is too much pressure on the low back, move your elbows forward to lower the chest toward the ground. If you would like a deeper backbend, place your blocks or bolster/pillow underneath your forearms. 

Reclined Pigeon Twist (3min)

Lower all the way down to your belly and then roll onto your back. Lift both knees to the sky as both soles of your feel plant firmly into the ground. Inhale and lift your right leg to the ceiling and cross it over your left knee in a reclined pigeon position. From here, twist both knees over to the right as both shoulders continue to press into the ground. Neither knees will necessarily touch the mat, but feel free to adjust your legs by moving the left leg either in or out for a different sensation. 

Spinal Twist (3 min)

Stack the left knee on top of the right and fully extend your left arm out to the left. Look over the left shoulder and bring the right hand to rest on top of the left knee. 

Bananasana Variation (3 min)

…and peek those puppy ears in the photo!

Turn your head to the right as you fully extend both of your legs, keeping the left leg stacked on top of the right. Curl your body into a C shape— or banana shape, whichever you resonate with the most. The left arm can continue to reach out long, or you can bring it to rest on top of your hip. 

To switch sides, roll onto your back, take a big inhale and stretch with both arms overhead as if someone was pulling you in both directions. As you exhale, lift your knees up to the ceiling and place the soles of both feet onto the ground for reclined pigeon twist on the opposite side.

Savasana (10+ minutes)

From your bananasana, slowly extend your legs out long and bring your feet out as wide as you would like. You can place your arms by your sides or even place one hand on your heart, and one hand onto your belly. Come into a position that you will be the most relaxed.

I like to roll up my blanket and place it under my knees for a little more cushion. Lower your eyes down if you would like and take this time to release any tension.Stay here for as long as you would like.

From savasana, gently roll over to your left side and use your right hand to press into the mat and lift yourself up to a seated cross legged position. Bring your hands into prayer at heart center and then lift your hands up to your third eye. Feel your thumb knuckles press up against your skin. Take a moment here to give thanks to your body for allowing you to show up for this practice today. 

Thank you so much for sharing your time with me!
With gratitude,
Mahogany Harrington

Connect with Mahogany on Instagram @Mhgnyy

Titles for Website (15)

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Titles for Website (38)
Mahogany Harrington
Mahogany Harrington
Mahogany is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) at the 200 hour level as of 2020 and a Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT) as of January 2021. She found yoga in college in 2010 as an elective and began a regular practice on her own thereafter. Mahogany teaches locally in Pittsburgh and is a fur parent to a plethora of animals including cats, dogs, and a bearded dragon.

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