Yin Yoga was founded in the late 1970s by martial arts expert and Taoist Yoga teacher Paulie Zink.
Today, Yin Yoga sequences are practiced by people of all ages and abilities across the world, and it is a popular choice for people who are looking for a more meditative and restorative form of yoga.
This type of yoga is often used as a complement to other forms of yoga, such as vinyasa or power yoga, to help increase flexibility and overall well-being.
In this article, we will explore a Yin Yoga sequence that is designed for deep release and relaxation, as well as give you some tips for building your own.
- What is Yin Yoga?
- Benefits of Yin Yoga
- A Yin Yoga sequence for deep release
- Tips on how to build your own Yin Yoga sequence
- A Yin Yoga YouTube class to try
Let’s dive right in.
What is Yin Yoga?
Inspired by Taoist yoga traditions, which emphasize the importance of flexibility, balance, and inner strength, Paulie Zink believed that Yin Yoga could help people to achieve these goals by holding poses for extended periods of time and focusing on the breath.
Zink began teaching and exploring Yin Yoga sequences in the early 1980s. It quickly gained popularity, growing in practitioners every year in North America and Europe, with trainings led mainly by his disciples Suzee and Paul Grilley, and Sarah Powers.
Benefits of Yin Yoga
Before diving into the practice of this yoga style and how to design a Yin Yoga sequence, it’s important to understand the benefits of this amazing practice.
Often referred to as a “quiet” yoga practice, Yin allows you to slow down and connect with your body in a more intimate and mindful way.
Through consistent practice, it can help to:
- Increase flexibility and range of motion: holding poses for an extended period encourages your muscles and connective tissue to stretch and release, potentially increasing your flexibility.
- Reduce stress and anxiety: The slow, meditative approach to Yin Yoga can help to quiet your mind and promote relaxation, and it is even backed by studies from the Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal.
- Improve circulation: When you remain in the same shape for a bit longer, the increased strain on the joints, while mild, can help to improve blood flow and stimulate your circulatory system.
- Promote joint health: Yin Yoga can be particularly beneficial for those with chronic joint pain, as it helps to increase circulation and mobility in the joints as well.
- Help Improve sleep quality: when we learn to let go of physical and mental stress, we simply rest better.
A Yin Yoga Sequence for Deep Release
Now that we understand the benefits of the practice, let’s explore a Yin Yoga sequence that is designed for deep release and relaxation.This sequence can be practiced at any time of day when you need to relax, but it will work great at night, as it encourages your body to slow down and prepare for rest.
Please, keep in mind that for those with PTSD, holding postures for a long time can be rather activating for the nervous system, and just like all yoga styles and practices, not everything will work for everyone.
1# Child’s Pose (3-5 minutes)
Child’s Pose is a gentle, grounding pose that helps to stretch your hips, thighs, and ankles as well as bring extension to your torso and spine.
- To practice child’s pose, start on your hands and knees, in tabletop position, and bring your big toes together.
- Sit back on your heels or a blanket and stretch your arms forward, resting your body over your legs and forehead on the mat or a block.
- Take slow, deep breaths and allow your body to relax into the shape.
For increased accessibility and surrender, consider bringing your torso over a bolster, instead of taking your chest and head toward the ground.
2# Dragon (3 min per side)
Dragon is a deep hip opener that stretches the groin and hip flexors.
- If you’d like to try it, come into a low lunge position with your right foot forward.
- Lower your left knee to the mat and slide your right foot forward, keeping your knee stacked over your ankle. Walk your right foot out.
- Use blocks to support your hands or lower your elbows down. Rest your hips forward onto a bolster or folded blanket to allow your body to relax into the pose.
Repeat on the opposite side.
3# Butterfly (3-5 minutes)
Another great pose to incorporate into your Yin Yoga sequence is butterfly.
This asana stretches your inner thighs and groin as well as helps you release tension in the lower back.
- To begin, sit on the floor with the soles of your feet toward each other and your knees bent.
- You can keep your feet a bit further away from you for a milder stretch, or bring them closer to your groins for more sensation.
- Use blocks to support your knees, or sit on a folded blanket to reduce the curvature of the lower back.
- Keep your spine long as you inhale, and fold forward and down toward the feet as you exhale.
- Place something underneath your forehead so that you can rest in the posture for a few minutes.
4# Sphinx (3-5 minutes)
Sphinx is a gentle backbend that stretches the spine and opens up the front of the body and chest and is great to incorporate into this sequence.
- To begin, come onto your belly and prop yourself up on your forearms. Keep your elbows directly under your shoulders, aligning your elbow with your middle fingers as your hands find hasta bandha.
- For a deeper stretch, press your chest forward, and keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears.
- Hold the pose for several deep breaths, maybe 3 to 5 minutes.
5# Deer (3 minutes per side)
Deer is a yoga pose that targets the hips and outer thighs.
- To give it a try, sit on the floor with your legs folded to one side, so that your right knee is pointing straight ahead and your left foot is resting on the inside of your right thigh.
- Hold the pose for several deep breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
6# Sleeping Swan (3 minutes per side)
Sleeping Swan, is a deep hip opener that stretches the outer hips and glutes and promotes stress relief and grounding.
- To practice sleeping swan, come into a tabletop position and bring your right knee toward your right wrist, lowering your right shin diagonally in front of you, and placing your right foot in front of your left hip.
- Extend your left leg back, staying on the top of the leg and foot. If your right hip floats, slide a blanket underneath for support.
- You can stay in this yin pose with your spine erect, or slowly lower your chest down towards the mat, resting your forehead on a block or the floor.
Repeat on the opposite side after 3 minutes.
End the Yin Yoga sequence with a 10-minute Savasana.
Tips on How to Build Your Own Yin Yoga Sequence
Now that we’ve explored a sample Yin Yoga sequence, let’s discuss how you can build your own.
If you’re new to yoga and planning on building a sequence for your own personal use, it’s always a good idea to consult with a yoga teacher before you start creating your own.
When building your sequence, keep the following tips in mind:
1# Choose a theme or focus
Take a moment to ask yourself some of these questions:
- What do you want your practice to accomplish?
- What do you want the focus to be?
By selecting a theme or focus for your sequence, you can ensure that each pose builds on the last to create a cohesive class to support your students.
2# Consider pose length
Yin Yoga poses are typically held for 3-5 minutes, but you may wish to hold poses longer or shorter depending on your goals and the length of your Yin Yoga sequence.
3# Sequence cohesively
Consider the order of the poses and how they flow together.
Work from seated postures to kneeling ones, or from gentle stretches to more intense stretches.
4# Use props
A Yin yoga youtube class to try
Try a Yin Yoga sequence from your own home with this 50-minute class designed to help you relax.
Yin Yoga is a style of yoga developed by Paulie Zink in the 1970s and it emerges from his own blend of Taoist yoga practices and martial arts.
Yin Yoga is a type of yoga that is based on the idea of holding poses for an extended period of time, typically ranging from 3-5 minutes in order to calm the body and mind and promote flexibility.
For more about Yin Yoga, read about its benefits next.