When you’re yinning, you’re winning. That’s what we like to say around here, anyways. But in all seriousness, yin yoga is an incredible way to relieve physical, emotional and mental stress. It opens up your body in ways that a regular asana doesn’t always do, and is super complementary to any practice or athletic adventure. The practice below is designed to work and open your whole body. Follow along for some (much-needed) stress release.
Sit on your heels, legs tucked under you. Now, tuck your toes so that your toes are against the mat and you’re high on the balls of your feet. Stay seated on your heels or place a block, pillow or blanket under your bum to relieve some pressure in the knees and feet.
Toes touch together, knees come to the outer edges of your mat as you lay yourself forward. Rest your forehead on the mat, arms outstretched.
Lie on your belly with your legs outstretched behind you. Press the tops of your feet and toenails into the mat. Bring your arms forward to rest on your forearms; shoulders are stacked on top of your elbows and your palms face down. Pull your chest forward and shoulder blades together, and engage your belly.
Lie on your belly with your legs straight. Stack your hands under your head and slide one knee along the ground toward your elbow. Repeat on other side.
Come to a tabletop position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, and your hips stacked over your knees. From a flat back and on the inhale, tilt your tailbone up, draw your chest forward and lift your gaze to the ceiling. As you exhale, tuck your tailbone, round the spine and take your gaze to the floor. That’s one cycle. If you have sensitive knees, you can do this exercise seated, drawing the chest forward on the inhale, then rounding the spine on the exhale.
Come into a low lunge with your right leg forward and left leg behind. Walk your right foot out to the edge of your mat. Plant your hands on the inside of the right foot, so that they’re right underneath your shoulders. You can always come down onto forearms here if that space is available. Option to roll onto the blade of your right foot to increase the stretch in the right hip and inner thigh.
Press down firmly into the hands to push the body back and hips up to the sky. Work to keep the body in one long line from the top of the head to the hips. The heels work to press down into the ground and legs straighten as much as possible.
Come into a low lunge with your left leg forward and right leg behind. Walk your left foot out to the edge of your mat. Plant your hands on the inside of the left foot, so that they’re right underneath your shoulders. You can always come down onto forearms here if that space is available. Option to roll onto the blade of your left foot to increase the stretch in the left hip and inner thigh.
Start in tabletop. Cross one leg in front of the other so your knees are stacked on top of each other. Sit back on your bum, keeping your legs crossed. Your knees should still be essentially on top of each other. You can pull your feet forward, away from your seat to get deeper into the hips. Hinge forward over your legs to get a deeper stretch in the outside of your hips.
Sit with your legs extended in front of you, toes flexing back toward your face. Hinge at your hips and lower your belly towards your legs. Take as much of a bend in your knees as you need to get your belly resting on your legs, and let your arms fall down alongside your legs. This pose is more about having your tummy against your legs than it is about reaching your toes.
Lie on your back with your legs stretched long. Hug your right knee into your chest and extend your right arm out to the side. Keep your left hip on the floor and draw your right knee across your body towards the left. Pull your right shoulder down to the floor. You can place a block or other prop under your right knee to support it if it doesn’t touch the ground. Repeat on the other side.
Lay back and let your body soak up all the goodness from your practice. Stay here for as long as you like, or a minimum of 10 breaths.