Some women think twice about starting with yoga. One reason would be that they fear that they are not flexible enough to perform the poses. But, the good news is, you can start small and simple. As you go through the different routines, you will be surprised to see one day how flexible you are! You can begin this with a slower and simpler form of yoga, the Yin Yoga.
What is Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga uses floor-based poses that are held on for a longer period. This yoga is based on the Yin Energy principle, which is subtle or slow. Doing the poses is respecting the flow of the Chi or energy. To do this, the postures have to be done in a non-aggressive way. You have to be sensitive to how your body reacts with the poses and make sure discomfort is minimized. The secret to practicing this type of yoga is to stretch the muscles and the joints slowly, until it opens up to its full softness and range. Most yin yoga poses are held for 3 – 5 minutes, but you can stay longer for better results.
What makes this type of yoga appealing to more people is the fact that it's a lot simpler. Your body is not forced to stretch beyond your level of comfort. Plus, it has a lot more benefits too!
- Increases flexibility and strength
- Enhances energy and posture
- Makes for a relaxing training without feeling exhausted
- Brings you to the state of mental calmness
- Slows down the mind and the body and prevent mental overload
- Releases energetic toxins
- Promotes organ systems and cognitive systems
- Increases joy and ability to live in the present moment
Yin Yoga Poses and Sequences
Whether you are a beginner or have been doing yoga for a long time, Yin Yoga is for you. You can make your own Yin Yoga sequences, with poses that you are comfortable with. Some poses may be difficult for your level, but you don't have to worry too much. You can slowly but surely work on it and train your body to be as flexible as you can. Practice makes perfect!
This pose helps in stretching the sides of the body. It is best done between poses or when you have been through several complex poses, to ease your muscles a bit.
- Lay flat on your back with your legs together and straightened out.
- Bring your arms above your head then hold on the each opposite elbow or hand.
- Slowly make a side arch to the rib cage by moving your legs and upper body to one side.
- By this time, your body would resemble a banana.
- If you want to stretch further, cross the outside ankle over the inside.
- Hold the position for 3 to 5 minutes or more.
- Ease out from the pose then don't forget to do the other side.
This is a usual beginning pose for more complex back bending postures. This is good for lower back health. If you sit for very long periods during the day, it would be good to ease your muscles with this pose when you get home.
- Lie down on your stomach with your legs extended at the back
- Prop up your upper body as you bring your elbows to the floor, aligned with your shoulders
- You can place your forearms and your hands flat on the floor
- Bring your chest up as you lift your head as you press you feet and pubic bone down on the surface
- Keep the posture for a minute or so. Ease out from the pose slowly.
This is also known as the extended puppy pose. It helps in stretching both the spine and the shoulders, as it softens the heart.
- Gently go on all fours on the floor. Keep your knees aligned with your hips.
- Walk your hands forward as you bring your chest closer to the floor.
- Press your hands down, but avoid touching your elbows to the ground.
- To feel a little more stretch, you can curve your lower back slightly.
- Stay in that pose for at least a minute, then slowly release.
This pose mainly stretches the hip, groin area and the buttocks as it strengthens the legs and calves. This also relieves stress, calms the mind and reduces tension and anxiety.
- Come to seated position with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Gently cross the right ankle over the left knee and the left ankle under the right knee.
- You may or may not touch the left ankle to the right knee, but if you can, it will give you a better stretch.
- Both of your shin should be parallel by this time.
- You can rest your hands on the side of your legs or you can choose to move them forward for another stretch.
- Stay on that pose for at least a minute or so.
This pose stretches the inner thighs, hips and the knees. It is great to perform to ease your muscles after long hours of standing and walking. It is also good for digestion and better bowel movement.
- Sit with you legs straight in front of you.
- Gently pull your feet in as close to your pelvis, with the soles facing/touching each other.
- Let your knees fall softly to the sides as you hold the outside of your feet.
- You can stretch a little further by pressing your elbows on your knees to bring it closer to the floor.
- You can now keep the pose and observe your breathing.
- Slowly release and go back to the starting pose.
If you are beginner in the yin yoga practice, then you might want to check a video with Adriene. Learn how to start with some simple yin yoga sequence that you can do at home. Watch the video below (26.23 minutes)
Adriene also has a free 30-Day yoga camp that you can follow! Although it is not purely Yin Yoga she is practicing, you can still participate and go through the camp at no cost! Read our post on the 30-day Yoga Camp by Adriene for the details.
Deeper Learning on Restful Yoga
Yin Yoga can help you with menopause symptoms like depression and anxiety and it will help you to feel relaxed and become flexible.
Get a book or sign up for a course and learn more about restful yoga practice. You will truly benefit from these exercises.
Books about Yin Yoga
This is a beautiful book with many images. It covers the thinking behind the practice, poses and sequences for different health conditions and emotional states. At the end, you learn how you and other family members can incorporate yin yoga into the daily life.
We have it ourselves and can highly recommend it. Magdalena, the author, says this book will help you become agile, calm, and energetic: in short, gets you in better shape.
This book is great for newbies and experts alike. The book is especially made to give the following information:
- Guidance in Basic Relaxation Pose (Savasana), the heart of restorative practice
- General restorative sequence that explores backbends, cooling forward bends, and other variations
- Sequences for busy days, including a fifteen-minute practice, yoga at your desk
- Programs for back pain, headaches, insomnia, jet lag, and breathing problems
- A special section for women during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause
Whether you're having trouble sleeping, suffering from backaches, or just want to unwind after a busy day, you will find balance throughout your body, soul, and mind with this book! As you flip the pages, you will discover:
- Tips for physical and mental relaxation through poses aided by props.
- How to treat more than twenty ailments, like headaches, digestive issues, and anxiety
- Guided by step-by-step instructions and beautiful photographs, you will gently ease your way into inner calm and better health with powerful yoga sequences.
Courses and Programs
Aside from reading books and looking at images for the yin yoga poses, you may also get more information from courses and programs. These can help you ease into the practice in a more systematized manner. The good thing with using these programs is that you can be guided by a professional yogi.
Yoga Download, which offers courses and programs on different types of yoga, including Yin Yoga. They also have free instructional texts and videos about yoga on their website. Here are some of their offers that you may like:
Share with us your Yin yoga experiences too! Leave us your comments below.