Yin Yoga Saddle Pose
The yin yoga posture of saddle pose targets the sacro-lumbar region, the kidneys, and the ligaments along the spine. It also stretches the hip flexors and the quadriceps.
Start by sitting back on the heels. Lean back and allow the low back to curve. Depending on the stretch created in the quads you may be able to lower closer to the floor.
If you have a healthy lower back you can leave it unsupported, but if you have a history of disc issues use a bolster beginning at the sacrum to rest on. Feel free to use support behind the knees and under the ankles if needed. You can allow the knees to fall out towards the sides of the mat but be sure they are not lifting off the floor. If your neck feels safe you can drop your head back focusing on lengthening the cervical spine or keep your chin tucked into your throat.
Yin Yoga Half Saddle Pose
The yin yoga posture of half saddle pose is a back bend that helps to open the ventral side of the body. It also activates the stomach meridian. Use padding under your knees and buttocks to lessen stress in the knee and you can also place padding under your head and back to create an easier pose.
Options for the extended leg:
Keep it extended towards the floor or
Bend the knee and place the foot on floor,
Draw the knee into the chest for the deepest stretch
To exit both postures inhale, lift up, and engage your abdomen. Then exhale and eventually lower to child’s pose or lie on your belly. A nice counter pose is dragon pose.