3 Yin Poses to Get Through the Holidays
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, right? But they can be hectic, too. The season is a big swirl of activity and emotion, so many people practice yoga to stay calm and centered.
Especially helpful this time of year are relaxing yin yoga poses. Yin yoga targets deep layers of the body to release tension, calm stress and circulate energy. Winter can be at times busy, but the colder, darker days encourage all of nature to settle down. Just as animals hibernate and plants go dormant, people too need time to rest and replenish resources. Yin yoga is the perfect practice to pull your attention inward—physically, mentally and emotionally.
Preparing to Practice Yin Yoga
Make the most of your yin yoga practice by creating conditions for calm: Think warmth, comfort and quiet. Throw on some socks or extra layers. Turn down any bright lights, and burn some candles. Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb,” but consider using it as a timer. Cover your yoga mat with a soft blanket, and keep another nearby for extra warmth. Settle into a cozy, comfortable den.
We highly recommend doing these three yin yoga poses a few times during this season. You’ll feel more relaxed and at-ease. And the best part? The poses are easy, and they’ll only take you a few minutes to do.
Here are 3 Yin Yoga Poses to Lighten Up the Holidays.
Yin Yoga Sequence for Winter
Warm up your spine with a few rounds of Cat/Cow. Then, lie on your belly extending your legs long behind you. Let your big toes come closer together, so your heels roll out to the sides. Place your forehead on a folded blanket, or rest with one cheek on your mat. Relax with your arms by your sides and palms facing up, and allow your shoulders to naturally round. Feel how your body rises and falls as you breathe in and out. Stay for up to ten breaths.
1. Sphinx Pose
On an exhale, firm your belly muscles and prop yourself onto your forearms. Keep your elbows shoulder-width, and place them an inch or so ahead of the shoulders. Press your hands into the ground or hold onto your elbows. Rest here without slumping your shoulders or lifting them up.
Let your belly and abdominal organs drape toward the floor. Relax your buttocks and legs, and breathe. If your lower back feels sensitive, move your elbows more forward to lessen the pose intensity. Stay for 3 to 5 minutes. To come out, place your hands under your shoulders. On an exhale, firm your belly muscles and press onto all fours.
2. Child’s Pose
Come on to your hands and knees, and take child’s pose. Separate your thighs and allow the toes to touch. Sit back on your heels, and fold forward. If your forehead doesn’t make it to the ground, slide a bolster or pillow under the body or head to bring the ground closer to you. You’ll feel stimulation in the inner thighs and lower back. These are areas that support the energy of the kidneys and adrenal glands. These areas allow energy to flow through the fascia to rejuvenate the health of the internal organs. In stressful times, we continually exhaust the kidney/adrenal complex causing us to lack vitality and feel run down. Be particularly aware of the breath that moves in the back body as you nourish this important aspect of your well being. Stay for 1 to 5 minutes.
Lie on your back and draw the soles of the feet together. Let the thighs drop open like butterfly wings. Place the heels at least one foot from the groin for a more comfortable pose. If there is too much strain, use a soft support under the thighs and calves such as a rolled-up towel or pillow. You want to feel a little bit—just the right amount. It is important to feel some stretching and awareness to this area to draw in energy and blood flow. You want to soften and strengthen the supportive fascia and ligaments. Let your arms rest along your sides with the palms face up or stretch the arms overhead holding opposite elbows. Allow yourself to rest in the stillness, and take deep breaths. Stay for 3 to 5 minutes. To come out, gently use your arms to draw your legs together and roll to your side. Press up using your arms and the front of your body. Let your head lag as you lift it back up.
Study Yin Yoga with Stacey Bell
Do you love to practice yin yoga as much as we do? If you’re like us, you’ll love Stacey Bell’s 30 Hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training this January. There are just a few weeks left to sign up because classes start Friday, 1/28/21. Whether you’re a yoga teacher, or you just want to immerse yourself in a relaxing and beneficial practice, this training is for you. You’ll unwind stress and discover deeper layers inside yourself. Sign up today, and contact Stacey with any questions.