Archives for June 2014

Open your hips with Yin Yoga – Sequence from my recent workshop

My students at my recent yoga workshop asked me if I would share the yin yoga sequence on my blog so they could practice it again. So here it is. The sequence takes about 50 minutes to an hour with a nice relaxation at the end. Each pose is held for 5 minutes. If you have less time just pick a section of the sequence to practice.

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is a quiet yoga practice as opposed to a more dynamic yang style such as Ashtanga Yoga. In yin yoga positions are held for between 3 and 20 minutes. As well as helping you to open your hips this sequence will also help you to stay present and still.

Precautions and Guidelines

  • If it hurts, stop, adjust or don’t do the position until you have discussed with your teacher.
  • Don’t go too deep, remember you are going to be here for 5 minutes.
  • Use props such as pillows and yoga blocks to make yourself comfortable.
  • This sequence is designed for each pose to be held for 5 minutes, use a timer so you don’t have to think about it.

The  Yin Yoga Sequence

Upavishta Konasana – Wide angle seated forward bend

Matylda upavishta konasana yoga pose - wide leg forward bend

Matylda demonstrates upavishta konasana yoga pose – wide leg forward bend

When doing this as a yin pose it is nice to have something to rest on. What you use depends on your flexibility. If you are very tight you may need to rest with your back against the wall. The next step would be to fold forward onto a chair, then some yoga blocks/cushions, then your own elbows or if your really open place you head on the floor. Be gentle. If you feel this pose at the back of your knee or in the buttock strongly, stop come out of the pose and talk your yoga teacher about how to do it safely.


Rosey demonstrates Badha Konasana with her back against the wall

Badha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose

Do this pose with your back against the wall. If one side is tighter than the other put something under your more flexible leg to help even them out.

Marichyasana Hip Opener Variation or Firelog pose

Here you have a choice. The first option demonstrated by Gabor is more accessible for most bodies.  Place one leg onto of the other just above the knee, then bend the other knee, use the wall to help keep your back as upright as possible. Firelog pose demonstrated by Kate may be too hard for some. Place both legs onto of the other and fold forward as much as you can. If you have more time you can always do both.


Gabor demonstrates an alternative -opening the same area


Kate demonstrates fire log pose- Agnistambhasana

low lunge, dragon pose

Claire demonstrates the low dragon lunge

Dragon Lunge

Lower the back hip down until you get a stretch in the back leg either front of the hip or front of the thigh. As you going to be here a while make sure you are comfortable by adding padding under back knee or folding your mat up.

Supine quad stretch

Supine quad stretch on block

Kate demonstrates supine quad stretch on block

This is a favourite of mine as I do a lot of cycling and this really helps to loosen my quads. It requires a lot of flexibility so you way prefer to practice virasana at first. To do the supine quad stretch bend your right leg back whilst sitting on the front of a block. Lie back onto your elbows, if that feels okay you may want to lean all the way back as Kate demonstrates. If you are flexible and are not feeling a stretch you may want to use multiple blocks or turn the block. The block should be on your sacrum, a flat bone at the bottom of your back. If it is too intense and or you feel pain in your back/ knee stop. Have a go at virasana instead. To do virasana sit on as many blocks as needed with you feet and calves to the side of the block. If you don’t have blocks you can use books. If you can sit on the floor between you legs do that.

This sequence is designed to stretch out the hips in  multiple ways, you may find you are tighter in some positions than others. Practice working on your tightest areas if you want to make the sequence shorter. Do you practice yin yoga? What benefits have you found?