Yin yoga is an incredibly popular and hugely restorative form of yoga. This style of yoga has Taoist roots, working within the principles of Chinese medicine and the movement of energy through meridians, or energy channels in the body.
In yin yoga each pose is held for several minutes at a time (usually around three to five minutes) with the aim of working into the deep connective tissues within the body. There are many benefits to practicing yin yoga; including developing flexibility, improving joint health, improving circulation and unblocking stagnant energy in the body. This being in addition to aiding relaxation, mental wellness and improving focus and concentration.
Try this simple 30-minute practice at home to help reduce stress levels and restore the body when you’re feeling tired and burnout.
- Breathing exercise – Complete for up to 5 minutes
Start in a gentle seated position on the floor. If you have any pain in the knees then straighten the legs out in front of you. You may find it feels good to raise the hips slightly by sitting on a cushion.
Start to take your attention to the breath in the body. Notice how the body moves as you breath in and out. Slowly start to lengthen the inhale and the exhale, slowly and gradually. Start breathing in slowly while counting to six, then breathe out slowly while counting to six. Repeat this a couple of times and then increase the count to seven and then to eight. Continue breathing in and out slowly to the count of eight while noticing how the breath feels as it enters and leaves the body.
- Forward folding bound angle – Hold for up to 4 minutes
From a seated position take the soles of the feet together letting the knees fall out to the side. If you have any pain in the knees you can lessen the bend by taking the feet further away from the body.
Lengthening through the spine, start to hinge at the hip and fold forward taking the arms over head and straight out in front of you along the floor. Close down the eyes and take the attention to the breath in the body.
Find out more in the link here: bound angle pose
- Supported child’s pose – Hold for up to 4 minutes
This supported version of child’s pose is incredibly restorative. From a kneeling position, touch the toes together and take the knees out wide (around a yoga mat width apart). Taking your sit bones towards your heels, fold forward along the floor with the arms stretched out. To make this even more restorative then fold forward over a pillow, stack of cushions or a bolster. You can even make your own bolster at home by simply rolling up a blanket or large towel.
Find out more in the link here: supported child’s pose
- Legs up the wall – Hold for up to 4 minutes
This is such a simple posture that really calms and restores the body and mind. You can do this posture with no props at all or you can fold a couple of blankets or towels and place them under the hips. Simply sit as close to the wall as you can. Using your hands to support you, lie with your back on the floor as you shuffle the legs round and extend them straight up into the air. Use the wall to support the extended legs.
Find out more in the link here: legs up the wall pose
- Reclined spinal twist – Hold for up to 3 mins each side
Lie flat along the floor with the legs outstretched and bend into the right leg, placing the right sole of the foot onto the floor. Take your left hand to your right knee and extend your right arm along the floor at shoulder height. Keeping your right shoulder blade in contact with the floor, use your left hand to gently bring the right knee across the body and towards the floor. You can take your gaze along the right outstretched arm as long as there is no tension in the neck.
Find out more in the link here: reclined spinal twist
- Reclined bound angle – Hold for up to 4 mins
Lie flat along the floor and take the soles of the feet together so the knees are falling out to the sides. If you want to make the pose more restorative you can lie back over a cushion, pillow or even a bolster.
Find out more in the link here: reclined bound angle pose
- Savasana – Hold for up to 5 minutes
To finish, enjoy a blissful savasana, otherwise known as corpse pose. Put on your favourite guided relaxation or simply just enjoy lying peacefully with the breath and the body.
Find out more in the link here: savasana
For links to our guided yin yoga classes online go to www.wellbeingandwellness.co.uk.