Legs, Backbends, Twists
Spend time with this Yin-Inspired Flow for a full practice or use it as a cool down at the end of a heat-building class. Spend 3-5 minutes in each pose for a 60 minute class.
Begin on your seat. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to open to the sides of your mat. You can place blocks or folded up blankets underneath your knees for more support. Bring your hands to your ankles and tuck your chin towards your chest. Slowly bring the crown of your head down to your feet, allowing your spine to dome and round. If you need more support, you can bring a bolster or pillow under your chest and forehead. Breathe slow and long here.
Side Straddle Pose
As you come out of Butterfly Pose, lift slowly and then drop you hands behind you on the mat. Place soles of the feet on the mat and sway the knees slowly side to side. Then, turn to the long-edge of your yoga mat and spread your legs wide. Begin by lengthening through the spine, then rotate the body to face the right leg. Fold over the right leg, allowing your hands to reach for the shin or ankle. It’s okay if your spine rounds here, but work to keep both sitz bones rooted on the mat. For extra support, bring a bolster on top of the right leg and lay the chest and head on top of the bolster. Take a few minutes breathing here. Then, slowly rise and switch sides.
Keeping your legs spread wide, lift your chest to center, so you are facing the long edge of your mat. Inhale to lengthen the spine, and with your exhale, hinge at the hips to fold forward. Walk your hands out in front of you, until you feel a sustainable stretch. From here, you can prop your chin up on your fists, or use a bolster and props to support your chest and forehead. Allow your muscles to relax and breathe here.
Coming out of your straddle poses, bring your hands to the back of your knees and lift the legs so the soles of the feet plant. Place your hands behind you and windshield wiper the legs from side to side. Come onto your knees, facing the top of your yoga mat. Spread your knees wide and bring your toes to touch. Sink your hips back towards your feet as your walk your hands to the top of your mat. Your chest and forehead might rest on the mat or a pillow. Relax the belly and breathe here.
From your child’s pose, slowly press into the hands and lift the hips. Make your way all the way onto your stomach, moving slowly. Bring your forearms parallel to each other on the mat, with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Lengthen your legs and press your toenails and pubic bones into the mat. Press into your forearms and pull back slightly, puffing your chest. Keep your gaze steady and you breathe here.
From Sphinx Pose, release the press of the forearms and then press down into both hands evenly to lift your elbows and straighten your arms. Keep the toenails and pubic bone pressed down into the mat. If this is too intense, walk your hands forward slightly to lessen the back bend or stack some props underneath your chest for support. Breathe here.
Release your Seal Pose by slowly lowering the chest back down to the mat. It might feel good to bend the knees and sway the feet from side to side. Then, slowly peeling your chest away from the mat, return to your child’s pose. This time, it might feel good to bring your knees closer together to support your low back. Breathe here.
Happy Baby Pose
Lift your chest from your Child’s Pose and make your way onto your back. You might pause to hug your knees into your chest, or rock from side to side on your sacrum. Then, reach for the outside edges of both feet and bend your knees down towards your armpits. Work to keep your sacrum planted on the mat. Relax your head and shoulders onto the mat. Flex the toes and keep the ankles stacked over the knees. Breathe here.
Reclining Twist Pose
From Happy Baby, hug your knees back into your chest, then cross your right thigh over your left. Shift your hips to the right and allow your legs to drop over to the left side of your mat. You might hook your right ankle under your left. Keep your shoulders planted on the mat and open your arms, palms face up. Gaze to the right. Breathe here for a few minutes, then lift your legs back towards center and switch sides.
Hug your knees into your chest a final time and give yourself a squeeze. Then, allow your heels to open to the bottom corners of your mat and your arms to spread wide, palms up to the sky. Shift your shoulder blades under the chest. Close your eyes. Allow your whole body to soften into the mat. You may cover yourself with a blanket or use a bolster under your knees. Allow yourself to rest here for as long as you’d like.