A Yin Yoga Sequence for the Hips - Part 1
Yin Yoga is such a wonderful practice. Different to Vinyasa Flow (which is more yang and active), most of the postures are seated or lying down and your also holding the postures for much longer.
As most of you know I’ve had issues over the years with a hip injury and also lower back pain.
Yoga in general has been a huge part of my recovery and I feel we under estimate the importance of Yin Yoga, restorative postures and rest to help with recovery and management of pain.
Our hips store a lot of tightness, tension and emotion. You might experience more tightness and tension than normal around the hips particularly if you are sitting at a desk, driving for long periods of time or if you are very active with activities such as running or cycling.
HOW TO PRACTICE YIN YOGA
Come into the yin yoga posture and find ‘your edge’ this is where you feel something in the posture but it’s not causing you pain, or real discomfort, you’ll hold each posture for a number of minutes (as suggested in the sequence below). If my suggested timings don’t work for you, you can make them slightly shorter and build up to the time if you feel you have gone ‘past your edge’ and need to back off. Yin Yoga is not a stretch, it’s going deeper into connective tissue, it’s not pushing or forcing. Always listen to your body.
You can use additional padding under neath knees etc if needed. Keep some blankets or cushions handy.
The breath is key during your practice, to stay present and work with sensation. You might like to use the mantra - inhale ‘calm’ exhale ‘tension’ during the practice to help you stay focussed and encourage tension around the hips to release.
Butterfly (2 mins) Place the soles of your feet together knees out to the side, hold on around your handles of feet (without gripping) or place your hand behind the hips to help press through sit bone and sit with a tall spine. Option to fold forward
Modify - Sit on a blanket or cushion to help open up the hips and make it easier for the hips to til forward.
Childs pose (3 mins) use a bolster (pillows or cushions if you’re at home) to lean over, have feet together, hips wide. Allow your hips to relax back towards the heels, allow your chest to melt towards the floor.
Modify - I’m dealing with an ankle injury here so I’ve placed a rolled up blanket under my ankle. You can place a blanket between with thighs and calves or blanker under the feet or knees.
Seated Hip opener ( 2mins each side)
From seated position, bend both knees, cross one ankle over the opposite knee, keep your foot flexed. Try to relax around the hips
Modify - walk hands closer or further away to hips to sit taller, bring heel closer to hips to open hip further, walk heel away for less tension around hips.
Dragons (3 mins on each side)
You’ll find out why these are called dragons . . . find your edge, the position that’s right for you. From all fours - Step one foot to the outside of the hands, extend the other leg back until you start to feel a nice stretch in the front of the back hip. You can keep your toes tucked to help the alignment of the pelvis . Relax your head and allow your hips to melt and sink deeper into the pose. Use the breath and relax the neck and shoulders.
Modify - Hands can be on the floor, on props, to lift higher. You can bend elbows, or lower down towards forearms.
Pigeon (3 mins each side) - Start on all fours, bring your right knee towards your right wrist and slide your right foot over towards the left hip. Keep your hips square and you lower down.
Modify - Place some padding underneath your opposite hip to keep your hips square. If you feel any paint in your hips or knees, lie on your back for Dead pigeon as shown below.
Final resting pose, - get comfortable, place a rolled up blanket / cushions / yoga bolster under knees, make sure you are warm. You can put on some relaxing music and enjoy time in savasana.