Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Yin Yoga Sequence: Restorative Yoga For Fascia
The general practice of yoga, irrespective of the style, works on stretching muscles and keeping them well-toned by practicing yoga poses in a specific order within a given time duration. This repeated practice of stretching and toning the muscles helps improve the physical aspect of the body and keeps the stress levels in balance.
In comparison, Yin Yoga covers stretching the tissues in a more focused and easy way that requires high levels of endurance and patience. Most Yin Yoga poses are floor poses, with the aim of not to work the muscles hard, but to remain in a posture for a longer duration to engage deep and inner tissues called fascia (connecting tissues beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses and separates the muscles and other internal organs).
Yin is considered to be the female energy of the human body and relates to the "internal/lower" part of the human body, like tissues, ligaments, tendons and fascia. These are considered to be dry, hard, and stiff like plastic. Working on this part of the body is challenging and hence there is a need to practice yoga poses slowly to go "deep". With the practice of Yin Yoga, one slowly gets comfortable with holding a pose for long, building a strong sense of endurance. The poses in the following yoga sequence are for beginners but the practice is of advance level as the holding of the posture is longer.
Yin Yoga Sequence: Restorative Yoga for Fascia: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions
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A. The Yin Style of Yoga was introduced in the West by Paulie Zink which was later developed by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers.
B. The practice of yin yoga demands stillness in the body with the smooth flow of breath, and to begin this sequence, come to sit on the yoga mat comfortably, stretching the legs out.
C. Seated extending the spine, take a few moments to connect to the breath with the movement of the body. Then inhale and bring the knees bent while placing the heels on the floor and go forward with the torso touching the face to the knee.
D. This pose is a variation of Paschimottanasana, and is called the Caterpillar Pose which is part of the yin yoga series. Sit here connecting the breath and feeling the stretch at the neck, shoulder, knees and lower back for about 3 mins, gradually understanding the stretch.
E. Here in this pose, the Caterpillar Pose, the hamstrings get that stretch taking it deeper into the ligaments along the back of the spine. The longer one stays here, the internal organs like the kidney, stomach, liver are compressed improving their functions.
F. Stay focused on the stretch and keep the body relaxed without using too much pressure with the lower back, the abdomen and neck muscles.
G. Release and stretch the legs out and sit taking the hands and placing them on the floor behind you and throw the neck back and relax the spine.
A. Moving into the next pose, from the simple Dandasana, fold the legs at the knee and sit bringing the knees on the floor towards the left, slightly twisting the hips.
B. Place the left knee on the floor and the right knee inwards on the floor, keeping a distance between the legs and the thighs.
C. Inhale and raise the spine and twist the torso turning towards the left side while placing the left hand on the floor behind you. Bring the right hand to be kept on the left knee and take the body behind and stretch the lower right side of the back.
D. Seated here in Deer Pose, activate the lower spine with the gentle twist of the torso, and remain here for 18 breaths which is 3 mins (1 min = 6 breaths).
E. This pose helps to improve the flexibility of the spine at the base and the hips, but also opens the base of the spine at the sacrum for a easy flow of prana to improve blood circulation.
F. Here the digestive system too improves and one can heal from injury with the lower back if permitted by the doctors to do so. This pose acts in a Therapeutic way to heal from the injury to the lower part of the spine.
G. Release and come to sit straight. Then inhale and bring the right knee on the floor towards the right, and the left knee placed inwards on the floor towards the right and twist the hip towards the right and exhale completely.
H. Inhale and twist taking the torso towards the right while placing the right hand on the floor behind you and taking balance by placing the left hand on the right knee.
I. Remain here for about 30 breaths, closing your eyes and stay calm and focused with the twist taking the awareness around the lower back and the lower left side of the back.
J. Release from the posture and relax bringing the legs stretched out in front of you, seated in Dandasana.
A. Moving into the next pose, come to sit in Vajrasana posture and extending the spine take a few breaths here. Pressing the feet firm into the ground and placing the hips on the heels sit getting comfortable with the posture.
B. Inhale and bring the torso forward placing the palms on the floor twisting the wrists outwards, bringing the fingers pointed towards you.
C. Seated here in Sitting Wrist Stretch Pose, both the deep stretch at the arms and inner elbows are felt while the lower back gets a gentle stretch to open the hips.
D. This pose could be helpful for someone with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if advised by their doctors. This pose seated practiced for a good 3 mins of 18 slow breaths, should slowly help get used to the discomfort of the stretch at the wrists and the inner elbows encouraging the healing of the deeper tissues around the arms and the shoulders.
E. Release and sit back in Vajrasana and extend the spine and relax.
A. From the seated Dandasana, cross the legs one above the other at the thighs and sit in Gomukhasana. Placing the right thigh over the left thigh, bring the outer feet on the floor besides you near your hip.
B. Sit comfortable taking a few breaths and then exhale and go forward taking the torso and place the palms on the floor twisting the wrists while pointing the fingers inwards.
C. If while at this pose there is any sensation like deep pain at the hips or at the elbows, release from the pose immediately, else remain here slowly getting familiar with the deep stretch at the hips and at the lower arm.
D. Sit here in Gomukhasana Variation Resting palms on the floor in front for about 4 mins of 24 rounds of slow deep breathing.
E. This pose helps to remove the stiffness around the hips and works on activating the deeper tissues close to the pelvic joint, hip joint and the lower spine, while also stretching the deeper tissues around the lower arms.
F. Release and repeat with the interchanging of the legs moving from left thigh over the right thigh.
G. Build a slow and deep endurance with this pose, and while the stretch may be difficult and uncomfortable, but over time the body will open up and one will feel the deep connection from within. Enjoy this feeling!
A. Stretching your legs out in front of you after the practice of the variation in Gomukhasana, take a few breaths and relax the hips comfortably and completely.
B. Now inhale and come on you fours (knees and the palms), and while you inhale place the left thigh on the floor in front of you while you extend the right leg behind you completely.
C. Seated here in Pigeon Pose, with one leg folded while the other stretched out behind you, slowly take comfort in this position and get the hips on the floor.
D. Inhale and expand the chest and take the entire back in a slight back bend and sit taking the head backwards too. Stay here in Kapotasana for about 24 breaths of 4 mins.
E. This pose when practiced for longer duration will improve the flexibility of the hips and the hamstrings. The tight hamstrings will gain better movement with the practice of this pose and the posture will bring in fresh flow of blood to the hips and the lower abdomen, taking care of the proper functioning of the internal organs.
F. Release and relax coming back to all four position (on your knee and palms) and then repeat with the other leg, taking the right thigh on the floor this time.
G. Watch for any kind of discomfort in the pose causing severe pain making it difficult to stay still in the pose.
H. Release after the practice with the right leg for about 4 mins and come to sit in Vajrasana and relax.
A. From Vajrasana, spread the knees wide apart placing the hips on the floor between the heels.
B. Make sure the knees are more than the hip distance, and once comfortable with the wide spread of the thighs, exhale and go down forward with the torso bringing the face to the floor and extending the arms out in front of you in Wide Child Pose or Prasarita Balasana.
C. Considered a powerful pose, helping with the opening of the hips and the lower back, it is also considered great for the hips joints, the knee and the ankles giving the gentle massage to the kneecap working on the deeper fascia around the knee.
D. Remain in this pose taking the spine comfortable forward and once settled don't move and begin the slow process breathing and stay calm and still here for about 24 breaths of 4 mins.
A. From the forward fold in Prasarita Balasana, slowly stretch the arms and take the chest and the shoulders towards the right on the floor, while extending the spine completely.
B. This variation of Wide Child Pose of the arms towards the side, opens the side lower back and also the middle back. The neck and the shoulder also get that gentle twist in this pose.
C. Remain in this variation of forward fold of Balasana for about 18 breaths of 3 mins on each side and watch for the stretch at the neck, shoulders, hips and the chest.
D. This pose also does wonders to the base of the spine with this gentle twist while supporting the chest and the arms on the floor. Brings in an improved and better functioning of the internal organs both at the upper abdomen and the lower abdomen.
E. The humble stretch at the chest helps to build greater capacity with the deep breathing of the lungs too, thus giving a gentle massage to the heart.
F. Release after the practice of both the sides and come to sit back in Vajrasana and relax the hips and the back.
A. Releasing from the variation of Balasana or Child Pose, inhale and extend the body in front of you while stretching the legs out completely behind you and come to Sphinx Pose, balancing the body on the elbows.
B. Stretching the entire spine and taking it in a slight backbend here in Salamba Bhujangasana, while balancing on the elbows and the lower part of the body in prone style focus on the lower back.
C. Remain here for about 3 mins of 18 breaths or more and watch the stretch at the lower back, the neck and the shoulders. The muscles around the hips are relaxed and not contracted to remain in this pose.
D. The flexibility of the lower back at the base of the spine are improved with the improved flow of blood and with the better flow of prana into the blood.
E. Slowly build endurance to hold this posture and never over do the position as the real benefit for the practice of yin yoga will be defeated.
F. After holding here in Sphinx Pose, slowly release from this pose and sit back in Vajrasana, taking a few breaths.