Yin yoga is essentially a meditative, cooling and relaxing style of yoga.
Here is a simple yin sequence designed for those of us who spend a lot of time at desks. Doing desky things: like typing, and hunching over screens. I worked a day job for 6 years before going back to University last year and so I know all about the lower back pain, neck ache and tension headaches we endure sitting in those not-quite-comfortable office chairs. We also sit when we eat, drive, watch TV and socialise.
Being couped up in a chair usually creates all sorts of imbalances in the body and we are going to address some of them in this sequence including those related to a stiff back, tight hips, fatigued shoulders and tension in the neck.
What you’ll need
Mat (Substitute with padded towel or blanket)
2 x Blocks (Substitute with a firm stack of books)
Stopwatch or clock
You have the option of opening your practice with a meditation, prayer or dedication before you begin.
If you are not sure how to do that, start by taking 20 slow breaths before you begin your poses.
1. Bridge Pose
Start laying flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat.
Inhale and lift your hips up (not shown.)
Press firmly into the feet, especially your heels.
As you inhale lift your hips up, as you exhale slowly lower.
Do this 5- 10 times (or as much as feels good – more is definitely more on this one.)
Then lift your hips up and hold for 1 minute.
Pose Tip: Try “curl” your spine off the floor, feeling into each of your vertebrae as they move. This is key in mobilising our spine and pelvis and getting the energies flowing after hours of sitting still.
2. Supported Bridge
With hips lifted slide blocks (2 or more is ideal) under your lower back – near your Sacrum region, just above your bum crease.
You should feel the blocks are quite snug and broad and that you are able to relax your weight on them. Use a blanket as padding if necessary.
Hold here for 3 minutes.
Pose Tip: If you’d like more of an openness across the front of the hips, walk your feet forward. You can even straighten them completely.
3. Easy Shoulder Stand
Keep your weight on the blocks and lift your feet directly up toward the sky.
Pose Tip: Generally the higher your hips, the easier it is for you to “hang out” in this pose, which is definitely our objective here. Use more blocks if necessary.
By inverting we are draining the blood and lymph from the legs helping to encourage circulation.
Hold for 5 minutes
Lower the feet and stay in your supported bridge for a minute and allow the blood to return to your legs.
4. Wind Removing in Bridge
Hug your right knee into your chest, drawing the knee to the armpit
Straighten the opposite leg to the floor.
Use your deep inhales to feel a massage into the belly and feel the stretch across the front of the straightened leg’s hip.
Hold for 3 minutes on each side
Pose tip: Change legs slowly.
Gently remove the blocks and rest your back on the floor. This is yummy so enjoy it.
Roll onto your side
Make your way to an all fours position.
5. Melting Heart
Keep your hips stacked over your knees
Walk your hands forward and lower your chest or chin to the floor.
Pose Tip: Lessen the intensity by bending the elbows and rest the forearms on the floor.
Hold for 2 minutes
6. Threading the Needle
Lift the right arm up and thread it under you, resting on your upper arm. You can either keep your other hand flat on the floor or draw it behind your lower back.
Notice the change in the position of the head- do what feels most comfy.
Hold for 3 minutes on one side, then continue with the sequence.
7. Child’s Pose
Press your seat bones back to your heels and rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
This is important for neutralising the lower back.
Hold for 1 minute
Lay flat on your tummy.
Make a pillow with your hands and relax your forehead to your hands
You can also interlace your hands at the back of your head (shown) and massage your forehead into your mat
Pose tip: Gently rock your hips from side to side to release the lower back if needed for a few seconds.
Hold for 3 minutes
9. Broken Wing Pose
Extend your right arm out to the right in line with your shoulder.
Palm face downward
Roll onto the right shoulder
Step the left foot behind the right knee
Support the head with a block or small folded towel if the neck is uncomfortable
Pose Tip: Open the left knee out to the side to deepen into the hip.
Hold for 2 minutes
Return to Child’s Pose, Hold for 1 minute.
Repeat the sequence from 5 – 9, on the other side.
10. Corpse Pose
Lie down flat on your back.
Open your arms and legs
Close your eyes and relax into the floor
Pose Tip: Place the blocks under your knees for more support and release in the pose.
Use this as an opportunity to meditate and connect to your body.
Hold for 10 minutes
Total Sequence time: 60 minutes
Thank you for reading.
If you would like to leave any suggestions, requests or feedback, please post in the comment section below.
I’d love to hear from you.