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This yin yoga sequence works with the four main movements of the spine. The spine is designed to move into flexion (forward bending), extension (back bending), lateral extension (side bending) and rotation (twisting).
The spinal column is made up of gently curving stacked bony vertebrae. Between each of the vertebra are discs made up of a fibrous outer layer and a jelly like centre. These disks hold the vertebrae together and help the spine absorb shock. The spines naturally curved shape, and the shock absorbing qualities of the discs, provide buoyancy to our body and our movements.
This yin yoga sequence targets the outer hip and inner groin.
Many of the poses below emphasize external rotation of the hip, so be sure to also include poses that re-establish internal rotation as well. When practicing a lot of external rotation in the hips, it can be helpful to simply return to the midline with a close knee child’s pose, which you can see in the sequence below. You may also want to include active standing poses that strengthen your outer hip. Remember - we’re always looking to create balance in the body - stretching and strengthening!
Using the wall is a great way to support the body if you’re feeling fatigued, or if you’re looking for a very gentle practice. Using the wall is also helpful if you or your students have some physical barriers that limit mobility in seated yin yoga poses.
Parts of this practice could be considered more “restorative” due to the very supported nature of the poses. But if you’re feeling a “stretch”, or feeling gentle pressure in the body, that means you’re still activating the connective tissues which is a central tenant in the yin yoga style of practice.
In any case, you can use this practice to slow down and calm the nervous system, or to support tired legs and feet. Check out the video to practice along:
Yin yoga square pose helps to open the hips through external rotation. If folding forward it also creates flexion in the spine.
Yin yoga square pose activates the Liver and Gallbladder meridians and if you fold forward the Kidney and Urinary Bladder meridians are targeted.
Yin yoga toe squat and yin yoga ankle stretch are great to open the bottom of the feet (the plantar fascia), they create more space in the toes and they open the ankles.
These yin poses also target all of the lower meridians that run through the feet. The meridians targeted are the Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Liver, Gallbladder, Spleen, and Stomach meridians.
Yin yoga dragonfly posture or straddle pose is a forward fold with the legs wide. From a seated position a forward fold, a side bend or a twist can be practiced.
A yin yoga dragonfly pose targets the backs of the thighs (hamstrings), hips, inner groin, and inner knees. It also activates the Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Liver, and Spleen meridians.
The yin yoga posture of sleeping swan pose or pigeon pose creates external rotation in the front leg, and targets the quads and hip flexors. It’s also a backbend which compresses the lower back and can help maintain the health of the lower spine..
Sleeping swan pose primarily targets the Liver, Gall Bladder, spleen, Stomach, Kidney and Urinary Bladder meridians.
This yin yoga posture of childs pose with a twist is similar to regular childs pose except you bring your bottom shoulder toward the opposite knee. It opens the stomach channel through the twisting as well as the inner leg. If you choose to release your opposite hand and drape it behind you the chest, Lung, Heart and Large Intestine is also activated.