As Jamie discussed in his recent post, there are countless benefits to be had from a regular yoga practice. Fitness, flexibility, health, energy and relaxation to name a few, largely irrespective of where, when or how you choose to roll out your mat.
That being said, whilst many of us enjoy the strong physicality of dynamic forms of yoga such as vinyasa flow, ashtanga and jivamukti and reap many rewards of a regular practice in terms of mind and body… perhaps we need to ask ourselves about how many of us power yogis have really taken the time to get to grips with pure simplicity of yoga in a meditative form.
Or rather … is your yoga practice as balanced as your crow pose?!
If you’re all about sweating it out in a 90 minutes class, rocking repeated vinyasas, arm balances and inversions, perhaps it’s about time to say hello to yin yoga and find balance of a different kind.
Yin yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature. Yin is the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things; yang is the changing, moving, revealing aspect.
In yin yoga, poses are held for around 5 minutes and focus on working on the body’s connective tissue, as well as calming the mind to achieve inner peace. Regular practice can lead to longer and leaner muscles, a stillness of mind, reduced stress and anxiety, and greater energy as your chi flows more freely.
Azul guests at both our Villa Azul retreat and Lotus Lodge have enjoyed the benefits of yin yoga this winter with our yoga instructor Annie and with that in mind we asked Annie to put together a short sequence of 5 yin yoga postures that you can incorporate into your weekly practice as a counter balance to the yang of power yoga or other exercise. We hope you enjoy it!
Hold each posture below for around 3-5 minutes, or as long as feels comfortable for your body. As always, if you have any medical conditions or injuries, please consult your doctor before taking on a new practice.
5 yin yoga postures for inner peace:
1) Butterfly – From a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together and then slide them away from you. Allowing your back to round, fold forward, lightly resting your hands on your feet or on the floor in front of you. Your head should hang down toward your heels.
Benefits include a gentle stretch to the lower back and relief for those suffering with urinary tract, kidney and related problems.
Benefits – aid digestions and stretches the spine, plus the forward bend allows for introspection and reflection.
This gentle back bend lubricates the spine and the heart opening qualities of the postures can release negative emotions.
4) Sphinx – Lie on your belly, legs side by side. Now set your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Inhale and lift your upper torso and head away from the floor into a mild backbend.
This all round posture, strengthens the spine and stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen, as well stimulating the abdominal organ and relieving stress.
5) Stirrup – Lying on your back, hug the knees to your chest. Grab the soles of the feet, the ankles, or the back of the legs. Open the feet apart so that they are above your knees, and pull the knees towards the floor alongside your chest. Relax your head and shoulders down to the floor.
A deep hip opener, this posture can release unwanted emotions, as well as relaxing the lower back area.