Melina Meza Photography_Nature Macro Flowers-111I’ve taught Yin Yoga off and on for 15-20 years and I’m always finding different appreciations for 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 poses for 5 minutes with enough support to feel safe, allows me to slow down and feel more embodied, which helps my mind slow down and anchor into the stillness that is present.

If you are like me and looking for a practice that cultivates calm, ease, and stillness, yet promotes circulation in your muscles and tissues, consider developing a 15-30 minute Yin home practice to embody the slow, heavy, grounded qualities in nature. To learn more about the full practice of Yin Yoga, consider joining me for one or both weekend workshops in July and August in Berkeley, California. Click here to read more:

Yin Home Practice

  • Find a space to spread out your yoga mat and a blanket on top of your mat for extra padding.
  • 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 towards 5 minutes. Use the timer for each pose.
  • Select your poses in advance or in the moment. Here’s an example of sequences I used recently in class for Spring Meridian Health: Reclined Cobbler’s Pose, Supine Twist, Happy Baby Pose, Figure 4 or Thread the Needle (as it’s sometimes called), Sphinx, Wide Knee Child’s Pose, Pigeon (modifying with bolsters if you want), Legs Up the Wall, and Savasana with a bolster under the legs.
  • Go from one 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 mediation. 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 yourSelf and into the beauty of the present moment.
  • Practice often and notice what changes in your body/mind. In my experience practicing Yin on a regular basis, I’ve noticed more flexibility in my body AND mind, greater ease in sitting for longer 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 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!