Instantly Feel Relaxed and Restored with These 8 Yin Yoga Poses
Relaxation, stillness, flexibility, surrender, joy and presence: all words that come to mind when we think of Yin Yoga. To retouch on yoga history, asana (or practicing the physical poses) was fundamentally created to enable the body to sit in meditation for hours and be still. The most wonderful aspect of Yin Yoga is that it combines asana and stillness.
Yin restores the equilibrium between mind, body and spirit to journey the body through asana to reach a peaceful and relaxed state.
During a Yin Yoga practice, the poses are held for 3-5 minutes. This extended time in a pose enables the fascia (fibrous tissue that encloses and connects muscles) to be stretched and strengthened which improves flexibility and releases energetic blocks as well as tension and tightness from our joints and muscles.
The idea of holding a posture for several minutes (when most of us are accustomed to only holding for several breaths) can sound intimidating for many, which is why there are no limits on how many props you can use. That’s why yoga blankets, blocks, straps, and bolsters can make a great addition to your Yin practice, and you can check out this article for some product recommendations.
Don’t have any yoga props? Just raid the linen closet and grab blankets, towels and cushions to use as props to help your body fully relax into these postures. Yin Yoga is about surrender, and the props support the body which enables the yogi to “let go” and fully “be” in stillness in the posture.
In stillness, a new sense of peace is discovered, and we are brought back to our center.
It’s important to note that some Yin teachers incorporate props, while others do not. There is some crossover between Yin and Restorative Yoga, and sometimes they will be referred to interchangeably. Just know that whether you choose to incorporate props or not, the top priority is having a safe, relaxing, and rejuvenating Yin practice.
Here are 8 Yin Yoga poses to relieve tension, open and create space in the body, and ultimately de-stress both mind and body:
Supta Baddha Konasana (Supine Butterfly)
This pose is great to open the front of the body: the chest, the hips, the belly, the throat and the pelvis. It releases tension from the pelvic organs and the groin. This is a great pose to begin your Yin Yoga practice and readying the mind and body for stillness.
Let’s try it!
Lay on your back and bring the soles of the feet to touch as the knees fall open to the side
If this is too much pressure on the hips, you can place a block or cushion beneath each knee for added support
For added comfort, you can support the head on a block or cushion
You can rest your arms at your side or rest them on your inner thighs to gently invite the hips to open
Relax – let go and hold for up to 6 minutes
Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose)
Another great yoga pose to open the hips, quads, and hamstrings, Lizard Pose helps improve overall mobility in the hip ligaments. This prepares us for deeper hip openers and releases tension in the hips and pelvis.
Let’s try it!
From Table Top Pose, step your right foot to the outside of your right hand and slide the left leg to the back of your mat
Relax the hips as close to the ground as possible, keeping them squared towards the front of your mat
Stay here for a few breaths. If you would like to add more intensity, lower onto your forearms or rest your head on a block or cushion for support
Use your breath to relax and surrender into the posture and hold for up to 6 minutes
Make the most of those lovely tension-free hips and take a restorative forward bend. This asana releases and strengthens the front and back of the legs, improves flexibility and builds strength in the hip joints. Wide Legged Forward Fold is also a great way to increase the blood flow to the brain.
Let’s try it!
Begin with your feet about 3-4 feet wide and your hands on your hips. Keep your legs strong and engaged, toes slightly turned in and heels slightly out
Hinge forward from the hips and fold towards the ground
Bring your hands to rest on blocks or the mat beneath your shoulders
Relax your head and allow the Crown chakra to fall towards the earth
Feel free to rest the head on a block or a bolster for added support