Yin Yoga Flow

The Yin Yoga Flow Book is published! It features over 70  poses with beginning to advanced transitions, sequences; how to use bandhas, pranayamas, mudras, meditation, and a deeper look into the Chakra & Meridian systems and the inter-relationship of yin & yang  energies. This manual also explores the myths and symbolism behind many of the  poses to bring further insight to your Yin practice.

Yin Yoga Flow Life book is available for purchase in both the Kindle and paperback version at Amazon

Yin Yoga Poses

Yin Yoga, as it is known today, is sequenced with passive, slow movements of yoga asanas or poses as they are also known. Most of the yin styled asanas are seated, from the knees, prone (face down), or supine (reclined on the back). The poses included with yin style yoga are used to stretch, lengthen, and add flexibility to tendons, ligaments, fascia, and help distribute and circulate body fluids.

Many yin postures are beneficial in stimulating and/or activating the glands of the endocrine system. Yin Yoga is practiced to assist in calming the body and mind so that the practitioner may learn to relax within the physical body and attune to the stillness within the astral and/or causal bodies.

The history of Yin Yoga methodology goes back much further than its modernly known namesake suggest. It actually spans all the way back to yoga’s origins which date between the 6th and 5th centuries BCE in India and at least 2000 years ago in China and Taiwan. In China and Taiwan, yoga was first known as Taoist Yoga and was taught by Taoist priests to students of Kung Fu and was soon introduced into the Taoist system of “Internal Alchemy” with the goal of sustaining a long, healthy life and spirit, even into the afterlife.

Yoga’s popularity skyrocketed worldwide in the 21st century and has morphed into many forms and styles that are primarily yang in nature. The modern name of Yin Yoga was adopted by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers, both yoga instructors. Paul Grilley was a student of Paulie Zink, a martial arts and yoga expert, who taught yin yoga (deep stretching on the ground) and principles to his martial arts students. Grilley was impressed with how Zink conceptualized yin yoga practice with martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theories using the five alchemical elements: earth, water, wood, metal, and fire.

All three of these Yin Yoga masters have blended their own ideas and trainings into what we now think of as Yin Yoga. Yin styles of yoga gained some popularity in the West in the 1960’s and 70’s, but were quickly overtaken by yang styles of yoga being introduced such as Ashtanga Vinyasa, which most Westerners prefer since it is faster paced and used primarily to build tone, strength, and stamina, however, can keep the mind extremely focused through its faster flowing movements. When Paul Grilley reintroduced Yin Yoga to the United States in 1992, many people believed it to be a new system of yoga when in fact; the methods of Yin Yoga are rooted in ancient history.

Yin Yoga also incorporates the meridian system of Traditional Chinese Medicine which closely parallels the chakra and nadi systems of Yoga. Yin allows one to connect on a deeper level through concentration of opening and stretching the body while using the breath to help release tense or tight areas of the body. Many times the use of visualization, certain bandhas, and breathing techniques (pranayamas) are utilized by the instructor too.

Sukhasana - Easy Seated Pose

Neck Releases

Bidalasana

Cat-Cow Pose

Anjaneyasana

Low Lunge

Salamba Bhujangasana to Salabhasana

Sphinx to Locust

Yin Style Restorative Poses

Yin Basics:

~Yin poses are receptive and passive Yin yoga stretches and lengthens the body through poses that are primarily seated, from the knees, prone, and supine

~This style of yoga is intended to assist in opening the fascia, increasing circulation to certain areas of the body, lengthening ligaments, and subsequently stretching and providing more flexibility to the muscles as well

~For beginners, poses are only held for up to a minute, intermediate may be 1-3 minutes, and a more advanced practitioner could hold a pose up to 5 minutes

~There are typically not many poses performed in a Yin Yoga class or session – usually anywhere from 8 – 15 poses depending on the length you are holding the pose, the intention of the session, and how long you plan to practice

~Yin classes are typically 75 minutes to 1 1/2 hours long

~Not everyone will be able to do every pose and nor should they - if a pose is painful or causes misalignment in the body it should not be attempted

 


Sample Sequence:

~Begin in Sukhasana/Easy Seated Pose Tune in by closing the eyes (a soft steady gaze is also okay) and focusing on the breath allowing it to slow down and synchronize with a normal heart

~As the breath and heart are coming together in unison begin to allow the mind to release its thoughts – yes thoughts will keep spilling in – ignore it and let them dissipate into the atmosphere – concentrate on breathing

~An Ujjayi Pranayama is best here also called the “Victorious Breath” This breath is inhaled and exhaled through the nostrils and can feel constricting at first especially if you are new to the breath

~Pace yourself and allow the lungs to open and expand gradually like blowing up a brand new balloon, you have to work with it a little bit to get it to stretch open and become more pliable

~Try to expand your body open as much as you can with this breath and on the exhale allow the body to come back in towards the spine without collapsing the spine or shoulders

~Do this as long as it takes for you to tune in to yourself – usually 3-5 minutes is enough to calm the mind and body for the asana work ahead 

Neck Release

Neck Exercises are another great warm up for the cervical vertebra and the upper back

~Simple neck exercises like the one shown below actually begin to stretch and open the trapezius and rhomboid muscles as well

~Use your chin to lead at all times gently letting the neck move back and forth from one shoulder to the other

~Tuck the chin to the chest first and softly move the head from right to left for several repetitions 

~After the neck release exercise a light twist could be done from side to side

Dandasana/Staff Pose – stabilizing pose

Dandasana - Staff Pose

~Marichyasana Series A & B – openers & stabilizers

Marichyasana Series A & B

~Bring the right knee in towards the chest and the right foot firmly planted to the ground – sit up tall lengthening through the crown of the head, opening the chest, and bringing the shoulder blades together

~Follow the pictures in the order they are in performing the sequence on the right then the left

~The hands will reach for the extended foot or top of the shin

~Forward fold the body

~The binds are optional: the hands can be free in these turns

~Turn out keeping the chest open and face forward or to the turned out shoulder

~Return to center first and then perform the turn going in towards the bent knee and looking towards the opposite shoulder or forward

Bidalasana/Cat-Cow Pose – transition pose

Bidalasana - Cat/Cow Pose

~Inhale, drop the belly, open the chest and throat

~Exhale, tuck the chin, round the back, open the shoulder blades, and bring the diaphragm and navel in toward the spine

Anjaneyasana/Low Lunge

Anjaneyasana - Low Lunge

~Begin with the right foot forward from your table top position making sure that the knee is over the ankle

~The foot is firmly planted through the ball and heel

~The chest is open, shoulder blades together, and hips relaxed in a neutral position with the tailbone pointed down to the floor as if it were an anchor

~You can stay here or bring the hands to the hips, to the knee for Rider Pose, or inhale the arms overhead for a full version of Anjaneyasana

~All 4 variations may be performed or just one or two

~Repeat on both sides holding a pose 1-5 minutes (remember to pace yourself – you are only competing with yourself)

~Return to Table Top Pose; repeat Bidalasana if needed

Salamba Bhujangasana/Sphinx to Locust/Salabhasana

Salamba Bhujangasana - Sphinx to Salabhasana - Locust Pose

~Bring the body to the ground (prone) and come to Sphinx Pose by coming to the forearms with the elbows under the shoulders, chest open, face forward, shoulder blades together, and hips pressed to the blanket or mat

~To transition to Locust Pose bring the hands to about the mid rib cage with the wrist lined up under the elbows

~Inhale and on the exhale raise the chest and face – the legs may stay down at first

~Repeat this 2 or 3 times only holding the pose at first up to 30 seconds

~If the body is ready the full version may be attempted – inhale and on the exhale lift the chest, face, and legs

~Squeeze the shoulder blades and inner thighs together to maintain this pose and continue to breath – never hold your breath in pose, especially a heart opener such as this one

~The hands can be beside the body as depicted or stay in the second position

Wall Series

Restorative Yin Yoga Poses

~Props may be used against a wall or these can be performed in the middle of the floor

~Props used:

~~Mat with folded blanket on top

~~Round meditation cushion filled with sesame shells

~~For beginner’s or if the back, hips, and/or legs are very tight start about 6-8 inches away from the wall – the closer you are to the wall, the more intense the pose becomes

~~The props are optional and the lower the hips are to the ground the more challenging all of these poses shown can become

~~These poses can be done in the order shown or the order of your choosing – start with regular legs up the wall as shown in the last picture and transition to the other poses pictured

~The poses in order from top to bottom, left to right are: Supta Konasana/Wide Angle Legs, Supta Mandukasana/Reclined Frog, Supta Baddha Konasana/Reclined Butterfly, Supta Kapotanasana/Reclined Pigeon or Figure 4, Viparita Karani/Inverted Lake

Savasana/Corpse Pose

Savasana - Corpse Pose

~Lay in Savasana for 5-10 minutes continuing to synchronize the heart, mind, and body

~Ease out of Savasana slowly, gently moving the body, bringing the knees to the chest, or windshield wiper the legs

~Go to the right side of the body for circulation reasons or the left if that is just not available to you

~Slowly return back to your seated position

~Remain calm and steady with the breath

~ End the class or session in a comfortable seated position with the option of sealing the practice with Anjali Mudra/Prayer Pose

~Option to reflect here or meditate

Purchase a copy of the Yin Yoga Flow Manual here