Feeling stress and overwhelmed with everything that is going around you? When you are constantly feeling stress and anxiety, not only does your mind go into overdrive, it can also manifest in tension in our bodies such as the shoulders, lower back and hips.
When you are feeling this way, it’s time to drop down to your mat for a calm and relaxing Yin Yoga practice. Here are some poses you can try out when you are feeling anxious or simply want to wind down after a stressful day!
Before we begin, here are the props you will need:
- Yoga mat
- Bolster – If you do not have a bolster, you can roll up your blanket into the size of a bolster.
Child’s Pose | Yin Yoga for Stress & Anxiety
The Child’s Pose is great for calming soothing frazzled nerves and bringing the nervous system into a calm, rest-and-digest state. Not only so, it is also great for relieving tension spots such as the lower back and the hip.
- Start by placing your bolster vertically on your mat. From the kneeling position, begin to spread your knees a bit wider than your hips and slide the edge of the bolsters toward you.
- Rest your belly, chest, forehead, or cheek on the bolster and allow your arms to drape by either side of you. Close your eyes and stay in the position for 2 to 3 minutes.
- You can choose to rest one cheek on the bolster but remember to turn the other cheek halfway through to create symmetry in your neck.
Legs Up The Wall | Yin Yoga for Stress & Anxiety
When you place your legs up the wall, you are actually doing a gentle inversion! This gentle inversion is great for blood circulation and helps reverse the blood flow to the brain thereby soothing your anxiety.
- Begin in a seated position while facing the wall.
- Next, lie on your back and start to bend your knees to place your feet on the wall. Press into your feet and lift your hips up, while doing so slide the bolster underneath and lower your hips onto it.
- Slowly straighten your legs up the wall and extend your arms straight out to the sides or place them on your belly. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 2 to 3 minutes.
Happy Baby Pose | Yin Yoga for Stress & Anxiety
This hip-opening Yin Yoga pose feels like a big hug for yourself and gives us a dose of much-needed anxiety relief.
- Begin with your back on the mat and start to hug your knee up towards your shoulder.
- Bring your upper arms inside of your knees and catch hold of your ankles or feet with your hands. Keep your entire lower back on the floor, as well as your head and shoulders.
- You can stay here with the knees bent at about 45-degrees or open the knees to create 90-degree angles and deepen the stretch. Close your eyes and hold for 3 minutes while focusing on your breath.
Caterpillar Pose | Yin Yoga for Stress & Anxiety
Release tension from the shoulders, back, and hips, and calm the nervous system with this Yin Yoga pose.
- Sit down with your legs straight out in front of you. Sit up and bring both arms straight forward.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine, exhale to reach for your feet, resting your belly on your thighs.
- Place the palms on the floor, framing your calves, and let your shoulders and head relax. If you need more support, slide a bolster under your forehead. Close your eyes and focus on your breath here for 3 minutes.
Reclining Twist Pose | Yin Yoga for Stress & Anxiety
The Reclining Twist pose is great for tuning into the breath and tuning into the body. This is a posture that you can hang out in for an extended period of time, and the longer you stay, the more your body will let go and surrender.
- Lie down on your back and bring your knees to your chest.
- Keep your feet lifted as you extend your arms out to the sides and place them onto the mat.
- Inhale, then exhale to slowly lower your knees to the right to come into a twist. Place your right hand gently on your knees. You can choose to keep your head straight or turn it to the left to look over your left shoulder.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath as you relax for 3 minutes. Switch sides.
Common Questions about Yin Yoga?
Want to try out a Yin Yoga class and wondering what it is about? Or simply have some questions about this style of Yoga?
Compared to more active practices such as Vinyasa or Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga classes are of a much slower pace. Yin postures are more restorative in nature and are held from 1 to 5 minutes to help target the body’s connective tissues, rather than muscle groups.
If you’re interested in the Yin Yoga practice and want to know more, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Yin Yoga.
1. Who is Yin Yoga good for?
Yin Yoga is good for everyone! Especially when most of us are living fast-paced, active lives, whether we are going for a run, practising our Vinyasa Yoga flow, or sweating it out with a Barre Class. Yin Yoga is a great complement for exercises that are more intense. Providing a more soothing counterpart to help you balance out your workout.
Yin Yoga is also for anyone who is dealing with injuries or a chronic condition like arthritis or osteoporosis as this style is a more restorative practice than other forms of exercise.
2. Do I have to be zen to practise Yin Yoga?
No, you do not have to. It is a common misconception that you need to be already quiet and still to practice Yin Yoga.
If anything, Yin Yoga is a great practice for us to explore a new relationship toward our scattered, restless selves. Through the act of intending to be present and mindful, we can cultivate calm and stillness and gain internal focus.
3. Do I need to close my eyes during Yin Yoga?
It is recommended for you to close your eyes during the class as it will allow you to settle more deeply into your body and mind. Since there is more stillness in a Yin class, both external and internal distractions are more prone to arise.
Closing your eyes can help eliminate visual distractions that lead to monkey-mind chatter. Such as “Why is my neighbour so still” or “What will the instructor be doing why I am holding my position”?
4. Does Alignment matter when practising Yin Yoga?
Yin Yoga is more than just resting your body on a prop. In Yin Yoga, alignment matters. But do note that there is no one absolute alignment that works for everyone due to our unique body shapes. When practising Yin Yoga, you are encouraged to modify your poses with props to suit their bodies, explore their experiences, and find an alignment that aligns them with the intention of each posture.
5. Can I practice Yin Yoga if I am pregnant?
During pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called relaxin. Due to this hormone, the ligaments around your joints become looser and more flexible. It is, therefore, better to practice Yin Yoga where a lot of support will be provided to the body with bolsters and/or cushions.
In Yin Yoga, mothers-to-be are told not to go past their normal ranges of motion or increase their ranges of motion. Yin Yoga also offers various modifications to accommodate to different stages of the pregnancy.
For example, no deep twisting or compression on the abdomen. All told, many expectant mothers find the gentle stimulation of Yin releases aches and tensions, and smooths their energy flow.
1. Have any questions regarding the Yin Yoga Yoga practice?
2. Any other practice you would like us to breakdown?
3. Want a Yin Yoga practise video?
Let us know in the comment section down below!
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