Head to Toe Yin
Flexibility, Hamstrings, Calves, Shoulders, Feet
This yin yoga sequence touches on a bit of everything moving from the feet up through the shoulders. If you're unfamiliar with yin practice, look up the four principles of yin yoga before beginning.
Come to kneeling. If you’d like you can place a block between the feet or a blanket on the heels. Tuck your toes under, using the fingers to make sure even the little toes are tucked. Slowly bring your seat down to the heels and sit your weight back to stretch the feet. If you’d like to reduce the intensity, place blocks in front of you and lean forward on them. Hold for approximately 2-3 minutes.
Return to kneeling and untuck your feet. Sit on the heels in Dimond Pose (Vajrasana) and let the hips sink downwards. Bring the hands to each side of the body beside the hips and begin to lean the upper body backwards. Feel free to come into a slight backbend as the knees hover off the ground to open up the top of the ankles. Hold for approximately 2-3 minutes. After you release, come to your seat with the legs extended forward, then stretch and point the toes.
Roll up a towel or blanket (or use a wooden pole if you’d like more intensity). Come to kneeling, and place the towel in the crease behind the knees. Sit your weight back and hold for 2 minutes. Return to kneeling and move the towel to mid-calf. Hold for 2 minutes. Lastly, move the towel to the lower calf and hold for 2 minutes.
Revolved Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold (Parivrtta Upavistha Konasana)
Come to your seat with your legs extended and wide. Internally rotate both thighs. If your legs are tight, place a blanket or block under the seat. Stretch tall and rotate the chest to face the right leg. Place a pillow or block on the left leg. Reach the left hand to the right as the right hand reaches overhead towards the left foot. Bring the body to rest gently on the block/pillow or left leg. Relax and hold for 3 minutes, then repeat on the opposite side.
Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana)
Come to center and place a blanket or block in front of you. Reach upwards and find a slight “up-dog” position with the upper back. Slowly reach the hands forward and lengthen the body as you come to rest on your props. Relax all the connective tissue in the back of the sacrum. Hold for 5 minutes, then lie back slowly and shake the legs to release.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Bring the legs together and place your props on top of the thighs. Walk the hands forward as you come into a fold, allowing the spine to round. Relax down onto your props and hold for 3-5 minutes. Don’t overwork or over engage the legs to reach further, just sink in. Alternatively, you can take the legs up the wall.
Serratus Trigger Point
For this posture, you’ll need a block or other hard prop. Come to lay on your side with your arm bent and your head resting in your hand (think Queen Cleopatra). Place your block under your side body so that the upper edge rests at the bottom of the armpit and the bottom edge is around the top of the rib cage. Feel free to rotate the body forward or backwards to find a place of tension. Relax into the block and hold for 2-5 minutes.
Side Puppy (Uttana Shishosana Variation)
Come to Table Top position and begin to walk the hands forward. Keep the hips slightly behind the knees so that you can sit your weight back to open the shoulders further. Externally rotate the arms so the biceps come by the ears. Slowly walk the hands to the upper right corner of the mat. Hold for 2-5 minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.
Yin Fish (Matsyasana Variation)
Come to your back with the soles of your feet together in Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana). Take a blanket or towel and roll it up, then place it over the ankles with the edges tucking under to provide some gentle support. Next, bring a bolster or block to your mid-back, just between the shoulder blades. If you’d like, you can also bring a second block (on its lowest setting) behind your head. Let the body sink down onto the props. Hold for 5-7 minutes.
Release your Yin Fish and extend the legs long with the hands down by the side. Consciously bring your attention to each part of the body starting at the head. As each body part comes into you conscious mind, relax it completely. Allow yourself to release any tension or discomfort you may be holding onto. Sink into the ground. Take 10 minutes in this state of calm relaxation.