Yin yoga is such a perfect practice for autumn! Because of the call for tuning inward and working with what you have, the slowness and steadiness of a yin practice is well aligned to this season. The following sequence targets the lung and large intestine meridians while also including rounded spines and heavy chins, to keep the energy flowing rich and inward. Move through each posture, holding as long as you like. A good starting place is somewhere between 3-5 minutes per asana.
Save the graphics below to keep as a quick reference guide for the energy pathways we will be primarily targeting!
Useful props – These are items I like to have near my mat for supported practice. You can use props however feels best, listen to your body and where you need support. I include fuzzy socks as a nice forehead cushion for when resting the head on a block/book. In the following postures, I have props cued, but take liberties and use them how best supports your practice.
Tadpole / Child’s Pose
Weight and hips are over the feet. Palms face down, hands reaching forward. Place a block or pillow under forehead or chest.
Big breath for the lungs. Knees directly under the hips. Palms face down, hand reaching forward. Heart melting towards mat. Block or bolster under chest or head if desired.
Arms cross under chest as you lay on your belly. Palms face up. Use a block or pillow under head to create extra space. Can also be held in an easy seat.
Single arm chest stretch
Cactus arms or “T” arms, you can play with sensations for each. Rock onto your left side so weight is in left chest. Chest is opening, hips are stacked. Right foot can plant on the floor acting as a kickstand (first image), or knees can remain bent and stacked (second image). Repeat on opposite side.
Feet together, a little further from the groin than an active stretch butterfly. Use a bolster or pillow with a block to create a restorative posture. Chin tucked, spine soft and rounded, not a lot of stretch in the hips.
Feet/legs hips width distance. Armpits over the knees, hands like mitts over the heels. Think hips back, shoulders rolling down, chest forward. Bend the knees as much as necessary to retain shape. Head rests on a block.
Build your base. I like two blocks: first one right on the bra line, second one under your head. Can also use pillows/blankets. Make sure chest is highest point of the body, head is supported. Height difference between chest and head doesn’t have to be so exaggerated.
Supported cozy dragonfly
Create a ramp. I like to make a space to interlace my hands or grab opposite arms. One cheek to the side. Sitting on a blanket will take any tension out of the hips. Get heavy on your support.
Queen of all savasanas. Using your same ramp from the previous posture, line the tailbone up with bolster/pillow and recline. Legs can be long, crossed, in butterfly, or whatever variation feels best. Rest.
Resources for further seasonal knowledge study:
Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Elson M. Haas