Yin yoga is a milder form of yoga. It involves deep, slow stretches that can make you stronger and more flexible over time.
Yin yoga is a lot slower compared to other forms of yoga. A Yin sequence may only consist of a few poses, but you’ll be holding each one for a longer period.
This isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your mind too. Research has shown that practicing yoga regularly can lower stress and anxiety levels.
If you’re interested in trying Yin yoga, we’ve listed 8 soothing Yin yoga poses below. These range from beginner-friendly for those new to yoga, to advanced for anyone capable of more challenging movements.
Things To Know Before You Start Yin Yoga
Before you try any of the poses below or other Yin yoga movements, here are some things to consider before you start.
An important safety tip is to consider your joints and spine. Your spine should always be in alignment, while your joints should never overextend. Your ankles, knees, and shoulders need to move in their innate range of motion.
Your breathing pattern also matters. If you find it harder to breathe deep in a certain position, this is a sign that you’ve moved too far too quickly.
If this is the case, either use props to help you with the pose, or move back slightly. The stretch should feel slightly uncomfortable, but this should be tolerable, not painful.
Yin Yoga Props
You can perform yoga poses without props, but Yin yoga props can help you modify poses during practice. These let you relax fully and perform the pose deeper.
Yoga studios generally have bolsters, straps, and blocks on offer. Some may also provide blankets and eye pillows.
If you’re performing Yin yoga at home, you can use your usual towels, pillows, and belts. If you start to practice these poses more regularly, you can opt to purchase supplies specifically designed for yoga.
8 Yin Yoga Poses To Become Relaxed And Grounded
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are 8 Yin yoga poses to promote relaxation and restoration.
1. Butterfly Pose
This beginner-friendly pose is great for opening up the hips and alleviating lower back pain. it also has therapeutic benefits that can help soothe the body and mind. This helps relieve anxiety and tension.
How To Perform Butterfly Pose
- Begin seated cross-legged on the floor.
- Uncross your feet, allowing your knees to bend and drop to the sides. Move your feet in front of you.
- Bend and move your torso to the floor. Relax your spine, shoulders, and neck.
- Hold your feet as you move. If you need extra support, position bolsters or pillows underneath your torso.
- Hold the pose for three to five minutes.
If your knees need additional support during this pose, place rolled towels or yoga blocks under them.
2. Wide-Legged Child’s Pose
This forward bend is a little like the previous position, except you’ll be beginning on your hands and knees.
This pose stretches your inner thighs, hips, and spine. It’s a nice reenergizing movement that can help you feel grounded and centered.
How To Perform Wide-Legged Chid’s Pose
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Bring your big toes together, then move your knees to the sides.
- Bring your hips down towards your feet, allowing your torso to extend across the ground.
- Move your arms ahead of you.
- Take deep breaths, letting yourself relax into the pose with every breath out.
- Stay in this pose for five minutes.
You can position a bolster or cushion under your hips, chest, or forehead for extra support.
3. Dragon Pose
This pose opens up the hip flexors and hips. It’s also known for relieving sciatica pain.
How To perform Dragon Pose
- Begin on your knees in a tabletop position, keeping your knees under your hips and wrists beneath your shoulders.
- Move your right foot in the middle of your hands, pushing the foot into the ground.
- Move your left knee to the ground, then glide the left leg back.
- Keep both hands on each side of the right foot, pushing into the ground.
- Stay in the position for three to five minutes, then slowly release.
- Perform the same steps on the other side.
You can keep a towel or blanket under your rear knee for extra support.
4. Shoelace Pose
This restorative pose stretches your shoulders, arms, upper back, and hips. It’s also known to be great for the gut, aiding digestion.
How To Perform Shoelace Pose
- Begin with bent knees and your feet flat on the ground.
- Move your left foot to the outside of your right hip.
- Move your right foot to the outside of your left hip, stacking the knees over each other.
- Slowly hinge at the hips to move forward.
- Hold the position for three to five minutes. Gradually roll the spine upwards then release your legs.
- Swap legs, then repeat the steps on the other side.
If the pose is too difficult, you can start with your bottom leg extended, instead of bent underneath you.
You can also keep a yoga block or a cushion under your butt for balance and support.
5. Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose is great for mobility and flexibility. It has additional benefits, like improving digestion, encouraging relaxation, and relieving lower back pain.
How To Perform Pigeon Pose
Before you start, it’s important to avoid falling onto your forward hip. Keep in proper alignment by keeping your front hip slightly behind, and your back hip forward slightly.
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Move the left knee to your left wrist, then move your shin down onto the floor.
- With your left hip kept lifted, move onto your right foot’s toes. Move back or forwards slowly, until your hips feel comfortable.
- Bring your left hip towards the ground.
- Position your right leg across the ground, keeping your toes facing backward.
- Position your hands directly under your shoulders, keeping the elbows bent slightly.
- Extend the spine and take five breaths. Remember to breathe slowly as you do so.
- Gradually move your hands forwards as you move your forehead and torso down to the ground.
- Stay in this position for a maximum of five minutes.
- Once you’re done, repeat the steps on the other side.
You can keep a cushion under your front hip or torso for support.
If you want to deepen the pose, keep your forward foot nearer the front edge of your mat.
If you want to make the pose easier, keep your forward food nearer your hips.
6. Twisted Root Pose
This asymmetrical position helps relieve any tension in the lower back, spine, and neck. It also engages your obliques and glutes to make them stronger.
How To Perform Twisted Root Pose
- Lie down on your back, keeping your feet flat on the ground with your knees bent.
- Cross your right leg over your left one, winding your right foot beneath your left ankle.
- Slowly lower your knees to the left, allowing your locked legs to stay on the floor.
- Move your arms to the side and move your head to the right side.
- Stay in the stretch for three to five minutes, then gradually release.
- Slowly repeat the steps on the other side.
If your shoulder or ankle has trouble reaching the ground, keep a block or a rolled towel underneath them.
7. Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose
This pose aims to relieve any tightness in your hamstrings while your spine stays relaxed and supported.
How To Perform Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose
You’ll need a towel or a strap for this pose.
- Begin lying on your back with your legs straight.
- Bend the left leg to move your knee towards your chest.
- Push through your right foot heels, then move your toes nearer your shin.
- Position the strap around the ball of your left foot, keeping hold of either side.
- Move your left leg upwards, keeping your foot’s sole up towards the sky.
- Keep your knee bent slightly.
- Stay in this pose for a maximum of three minutes.
- Perform the steps again for the other side.
8. Square Pose
This pose is ideal for anyone experiencing anxiety symptoms. The pose also opens up the lower back and hips, relieving any tension or stiffness.
How To Perform Square Pose
- Begin sitting cross-legged on the floor.
- Take your feet in front of you so your shins lie parallel to the sides of your mat.
- Slowly bend to fold your torso onto your lap. If you need additional support, keep a bolster or pillow between your legs and chest.
- Hold the pose for three to five minutes, then gradually release.
If you have lower back pain or live with sciatica, sit on a cushion or yoga block. This will help lift your hips to keep them aligned during this position.
Yin yoga is a relaxing, slow-paced form of yoga that involves deep tissue and joint stretches. This aims to aid flexibility and strength, as well as soothing the mind and body.
If you haven’t performed exercise in a while, have chronic health issues or injuries, or are pregnant, always talk to your doctor before starting Yin Yoga.P