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A Yin Yoga Home Practice
I’ve taught Yin Yoga off and on for 15-20 years and I’m always finding new ways to appreciate this special way of practicing. Right now I see Yin as a bridge between the fast-moving part of my life and meditation practice. Being in yoga poses for five minutes, with enough support to feel safe, allows me to slow down and feel more embodied. This helps my mind slow down and anchor into the stillness that is present.
If you are looking for a yoga practice that cultivates calm, ease, and stillness, yet promotes circulation in your muscles and tissues, consider developing a 15- to 30-minute Yin home practice to embody the slow, heavy, grounded qualities in nature.
Yin Yoga Home Practice
Spread a blanket out on top of a yoga mat.
Put your phone on “do not disturb” or airplane mode. Open your phone’s clock and set your timer to 3-5 minutes. If you are new to Yin, I recommend starting with 3-minute holds. With experience, move toward 5 minutes. Use the timer for each pose.
Select your poses in advance or in the moment. Here’s an example of a sequence I used recently in a class:
Supta Baddhakonasana (Reclined Cobbler’s Pose)
Jathara Parivrttanasana (Supine Twist)
Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose) (Photo top right)
Parsva Balasana (Thread-the-Needle Pose) (Photo right)
Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose) (Photo right)
Balasana (Wide-Knee Child’s Pose)
Raja Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose), modifying by placing a bolster under the hip of your front, bent knee if you find it helpful
Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose) (Photo right)
Savasana (Relaxation Pose) with a bolster under your legs.
Go from one yoga pose to the next, being mindful of your breath and the changing sensations in your body. Surrender to the truth of each breath and each moment. Practice with an unbiased attitude for or against any of the poses, and be willing to open.
You may find it helpful to listen to an uplifting podcast or meditation CD or even quiet music to help you stay alert and awake to the meditation at hand.
I recommend saving a minimum of 5 minutes at the end of your practice to sit in silence in a comfortable seat of meditation. Take the time to align yourself and breathe as if you were in any of the Yin poses mentioned above.
While sitting, follow your breath in and out. Eventually, see if you can observe the spaces between your breaths, as these are portals to take you even further into your Self and into the beauty of the present moment.
Practice often and notice what changes in your body/mind. In my experience of practicing Yin Yoga on a regular basis, I’ve noticed more flexibility in my body and mind, greater ease in sitting for long periods, a more clear sourcing of breath when dealing with discomfort, and a deeper sense of quiet. These are just a few of the reasons I keep going back to this practice.
I hope you also find some of the same benefits as I’ve experienced with this yoga practice. It’s such a lovely way to prepare for meditation practice, and meditation practice is such a lovely way to prepare for the wild nature of life!
More helpful tips from YogaUOnline and Melina Meza: You Are What You Eat - The Seven Dhatus In Ayurveda.
Study online with Dr. Baxter Bell and YogaUOnline - Yoga for Healthy Aging-Curbing Inflammation to Prevent Chronic Disease.
We are very proud to have Melina Meza as part of YogaUOnline's Premium Yoga Practice Channel--click here to see a list of her practices.
Reprinted with permission from Melina Meza.com
Melina Meza has been sharing her knowledge of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, and whole foods nutrition with yogis around the world for over 20 years. Melina pioneered Seasonal Vinyasa, an innovative multi-disciplined approach to well-being, and is the author of the Art of Sequencing books including her latest, Asana Modifications.
Since 1997, Melina has been teaching yoga at 8 Limbs Yoga Centers in Seattle, Washington, where she also is Co-Director of their 200- and 500-Hour Teachers’ Training Program.
Currently residing in Oakland California, Melina facilitates year-round yoga and Ayurveda workshops and retreats for new and experienced practitioners. From her very first class in 1993, she has never stopped exploring the physical, mental, and spiritual practices passed down from the ancient sages. Yoga has been the “launching pad” that has rocketed her into a life journey of cultivating the disciplines necessary to gain insight and wisdom integral to being healthy, compassionate, and radiant, as well as how to share those gifts with others.