Sequence Three and the final in this series of Yin Yoga for Cyclists Series is here. As Christmas can be a challenging time of the year for many of us, this sequence has been designed with the time of the year in mind, not only releasing the physical body but also releasing tension and stress. Once again the sequence has been designed so that you can easily practice the poses in the comfort of your own home. Close the doors, pull down the blinds, light a candle and enjoy.
As always please contact me if you have any queries or concerns about the sequence via email, Skype or What's App. Private consultations and individual sequences tailored to your specific needs are also available.
Yin Yoga Sequence for Cyclists - Sequence Three
Lie down on your back. Take your feet to the edges of your mat and your arms out away from your hips, palms facing up. Let your feet flop to the side and your fingers curl up. Relax your breath, relax your whole body and find deep rest. Hold for 5 minutes.
Butterly Pose – decompresses the spine, compression at the hip, targets the adductors and the thoraco lumbar fascia from the sacrum to the back of the neck. Soothing and introspective
From a seated position bring the soles of your feet together and then slide them away from you. Allowing your back to round, fold forward, lightly resting your hands on your feet or on the floor in front of you. Your head should hang down toward your heels. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
Alternate options: Elevate the hips with a bolster or cushion if the neck is too stressed, support the head in the hands, resting elbows on thighs or a block. You could rest your chest on a bolster positioned across the thighs. Various hand/arm positions are possible: hold feet, hands on floor in front of student, or arms relaxed behind the body. If you find it challenging to fold forward, sit on a folded blanket or cushion.
To come out of the pose, use your hands to push the floor away and SLOWLY roll up. Remember, slowly means “not fast.” Before straightening your legs, lean back on your hands to release the hips. Then slowly straighten each leg.make your way back to a seated position, keeping your eyes downcast or closed. Straighten the leg and GENTLY make your way onto your back with both legs straight, place your hands on the mat beside your hips. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute .
Sphinx Pose – gentle thoracic spine stretch, energising and restoring
Make your way onto your stomach, then lift yourself up onto your elbows. Place your elbows directly in line with your shoulders and point your fingers forwards. Take your feet out slightly wider than your hips, gently press into the tops of the fee and the pubic pone. This turns the core on and supports the lower back. From here lift your chin up and look straight ahead. Close your eyes and relax. Hold for 5 minutes. If you start to loose your form, reset your feet, pubic bone and forearms.
To come out of the pose, SLOWLY lower yourself down onto the mat then place your preferred cheek to the mat and hands down beside your hips with your palms facing up. Alternatively you can make a pillow with your forearms by stacking on on top of the other and rest your forehead on your forearms. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute .
Sleeping Swan – a relaxing way to open up the hips
Come onto all fours. Bring your right knee to touch the outer edge of your right wrist and then release your knee to the floor as close to your right wrist as is comfortable. Slide your right ankle as close to your left wrist as is comfortable. If your shin is parallel to the top of your mat, dorsiflex your ankle by drawing your toes back in the direction of the right side of your mat. If your foot is closer to your groin, press the outer edge of your foot into the floor. Walk your left knee back and slowly release the front of your left thigh toward the floor. You may wish to place a block, blanket, or bolster under your right buttock if it does not touch the floor. The goal is to relax completely here, so support yourself in whatever way is needed. Point your left foot so that the top of your foot is resting on the floor. Slowly begin to lower your torso toward the floor. Stop wherever it feels appropriate, and use props for support if you’d like (e.g., place a bolster under your chest or a block under your forehead). Try to soften and surrender into the space you’re creating with this posture. Close your eyes and hold for 5 minutes.
To come out of the pose, SLOWLY lift back up onto the palms of your hands, swing your left leg forward keeping your eyes downcast or closed. Remove the prop/s then slowly make your way back onto your back with both legs straight, place your hands on the mat beside your hips. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute . Repeat on opposite side.
Twisted Roots - release tension in the spine, stimulates the obliques, gluts and IT band. Calming, relaxing and balancing
Lying on the floor, bend the knees and hug the knees in towards the chest. Cross the right leg over the left and bind the right foot around the left shin IF possible. Bring the arms out into a T-shape directly from the shoulders. Slowly allow the knees to drop over towards the left. Try and keep as much of the right shoulder on the floor as possible. If the knees don’t fully make it to the floor, support on a block or cushion. If comfortable turn the head to look over the right shoulder. Draw the breath into the right side of the body, expanding all the intercostal muscles between the ribs on the inhale and relax deeper into the pose on the exhale. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes
To come out of the pose, draw the knees back in towards the chest and uncross the legs. Lie flat on your back with your hands down beside your hips and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat on opposite side.
Caterpillar - decompresses the spine, targets the hamstrings and Thoraco Lumbar Fascia, calming and soothing
From a seated position, legs outstretched in front of you, fold forward from the hips, allowing your spine to round. Relax your legs and allow your feet to naturally fall outwards or inwards. If you find it challenging to fold forward, sit on a folded blanket or cushion . Hold the pose for 5 minutes.
To come out of the pose, use your hands to press the floor away and slowly unroll the spine. Place your hands behind you and slowly lower yourself down onto your back. Place your hands beside your hips and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Legs up the wall - soothes, tired or cramped legs and feet, stretches the hamstings and lower back, relives lower back tension, lowers the heart rate which elicits a relaxation response and, in turn, helps lower anxiety, stress and insomnia
Begin the pose by sitting with your left side against the wall. Gently turn your body to the left and bring your legs up onto the wall. Lower your back to the floor and lie down. Rest your shoulders and head on the floor.
Shift your weight from side-to-side and scoot your buttocks close to the wall. Let your arms rest open at your sides, palms facing up or take your arms above your head as demonstrated in the photo. Let the heads of your thigh bones (the part of the bone that connects in the hip socket) release and relax, dropping toward the back of your pelvis. Close your eyes. Hold for 5-10 minutes.
To release, slowly push yourself away from the wall and slide your legs down to the right side. SLOWLY moving back on your mat and lying down on your back setting up for Savasana.
Take your feet to the edges of your mat and your arms out away from your hips, palms facing up. Let your feet flop to the side and your fingers curl up. Relax your breath, relax your whole body and find deep rest. Hold for 5 minutes minimum, or longer if time permits.