If you are new to the practice of Yin Yoga or someone who would like to explore the beginner's mind - this practice is for you! We work through the entire body moving from the feet up to the shoulders - using breath, mindfulness, props and shorter hold times from 1-3 minutes. We work with the 3 basic tenets of Yin Yoga and apply them throughout the practice learning what a personal appropriate edge is and how to use props to achieve the greatest benefit, learning to be settle in and being still with the breath. A perfect practice to go back over the basics of Yin Yoga or acclimate yourself to this beautifully serene practice.
So grab some blocks, bolsters, pillows, blankets and/or towels and join me using the detailed practice guide below OR using the link for the video practice with me!
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Foot/Ankle Stretch & Toe Flip
Hold: 1-2 minutes
Sit back onto your heels with feet tops flattened back underneath your hips. Use a blanket rolled behind knees or a block/blanket to support the hips if this is too much for your knees. Stay here seated or take your hands back behind you and out to the sides and begin to lean back, taking the knees off the floor slightly. The higher your knees come off the floor, the more the tops of the feet are stretched. This pose activates all the lower body meridians and gives the feet a good stretch. To come out, lower down and come onto hands and knees then step back to Downward Facing Dog - walking your dog out for 5-8 breaths. Return to your knees and flip your toes over so the toes face your knees and the bottom of the foot is in full extension. You can lean forward to reduce the pressure OR lean back and sit on your heels. Hold here for 1 minute then release the toes and tap the tops of feet lightly on the floor.
Butterfly Pose (supported)
Hold: 1-3 minutes
Come onto your seat using a folded blanket under your hips to give you a little lift and tilt forward. Bring the bottom of your feet together a little ways away from your hips. Take two blocks between your heels and your hips and stack them for your head support. Lengthen your spine then slowly fold forward allowing gravity to pull you. Allow your back to round and your forehead to rest on the blocks and rest your hands on your feet or the ground. To come out, press through your hands and come back up. Bring the bottoms of the feet flat and windshield wiper the knees side to side.
Child's Pose and Twisted Child's Pose (Balasana)
Hold: 2-3 minutes (each pose)
Come onto your knees from Downward Facing Dog. Bring your big toes together and knees apart slightly (bringing them closer together opens the front thighs more). Keeping your hips low to the heels (prop with blankets or blocks if needed), allow your torso to drop forward, resting your head on your fists or hands or the floor. Allow your head to be supported fully with the weight on the space between your eyebrows. This will bring some softness to your whirling thoughts and quiet your mind (hold here for 2-3 minutes). Lift up partially and take your right arm, palm up, over to the left under your torso. Walk your left arm overhead or keep it level with your head for support. Use a block for your head if needed for comfort. Remain here for 2-3 minutes and twist to the second side. To come out, step back into Downward Facing Dog.
Sphynx Pose (supported)
Hold: 2-3 minutes
Bring your elbows under your shoulders or slightly in front on top of a folded blanket or bolster, palms together with outside edge down and block under your head for support. Feel your chest pulling forward and belly towards the floor. You can sink your chest between your shoulders OR keep lightly engaged to lighten the load on the back. If you want more, bend your knees to 90 degrees and/or drop your chin to your chest. Sense the area of your lower back and breath into it. Release the tension in your lower back and shoulders. To come out, slowly lower your head to the bolster and take your hands out to sides. Slowly roll onto your back and take a few breaths with your entire body flat on the floor.
Dragon Pose Low & Flying Dragon
Hold Time: 2-3 minutes each side/each pose
Come into a kneeling position (blanket for knees), take one leg out in front in a low lunge position. Take hands on either side of the foot, lengthen spine then round. Use blocks for your hands to give you support if you hands don't quite reach the floor comfortably. You can lift back knee off the floor and draw it back further then release to the floor. Breathe into the hips and legs, allowing them to release and open. After 2-3 minutes, take both hands to the inside of the knee taking the foot out a little wider to the side and rolling the knee gently outwards. You can use the blocks to support your elbows or hands or come all the way to the floor. Stay here for 2-3 minutes. To come out, slowly ease back and take either Child's Pose or Downward dog for 5-8 breaths. Take the second side.
Easy Seated Pose Forward Fold & Lateral Stretch
Hold Time: 2-3 minutes FF and 1-2 minutes laterally
Come onto your seat (blanket under hips for forward tilt and support) crossing right foot in front of left. Lengthen your spine tall and begin to gently fold forward. Use blocks underneath your head once you reach 2/3 of your maximum range and rest your hands alongside the blocks. Allow your back to round. Remain here for 2-3 minutes. Gently press up and take the blocks over to the right side. Lean to the right and bring your right elbow to the blocks and rest your head in your hand. Take your left arm up and over and rest it on the head using the palm to hold your head a little more. Remain here for 1-2 minutes. Come back to center and take the second side. Sit quietly at the very end for 5-8 breaths just feeling the energy and stretch.
Hold: 2-3 minutes +
Lie down flat on your back and take the bottoms of your feet together allowing the knees to fall wide. You can add blocks under the knees to give some support (you want to feel sensation but not too much as you will be here for a little while). Take your arms up overhead or out to sides (even interlacing them if comfortable). To come out - stretch your legs out straight for 5 breaths then bend knees.
Hold: 2-3 mins
Gently press through your feet to lift hips slightly over to the right side. Bring knees to chest and drop over to the left side, stacking the knees as much as possible (using a block underneath if the knees don't come to the floor easily). Take arms wide out from shoulders and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to pull your knees ground bound and settle your shoulders deeper. Enjoy the release of the spine, back and hips in here and breathe deeply into the space you have found. To come out, turn head to center, engage core and come back to center hugging knees in and rocking for a few breaths. Take the second side.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Come onto your back. Allow the heels to settle out to the corners of the mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Take a 6 count inhale, 6 count exhale, 6 count hold at the bottom of the exhale for 3-5 rounds. Focus on your breath and let go.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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