Do this sequence of Yin yoga poses before bed to release stress & tension & ready yourself for rest…
You probably already know that stress weakens the immune system – and a fully functioning immune system is more important now than ever. There are so many things in the modern world that can stress us out – from work to family, mental health issues, physical health challenges, and financial hardships. So what can you do to minimize your stress and stay healthy?
A regular yoga practice can help – along with other mindfulness practices such as meditation, journaling, or other forms of physical exercise. Not only can yoga help to energize you and expend nervous energy in a constructive way, but it can also help you wind down and relax.
As we discussed last week, practicing “Yang” yoga poses that are energizing and uplifting can help to “blow off steam” so to speak, and also give you the stamina to tackle your day. However, it is equally important to be able to relax and calm your body and mind at the end of the day. Yin Yoga is actually a specific discipline that focuses on long, deep stretching and targets your connective tissues.
However, in this case, we are referring to “Yin” as the passive, cooling, and inward-focused type of energy. Practicing certain Yin yoga poses can help you tap into this energy, centering yourself and relaxing both body and mind. This pose sequence is a great way to end your day and ready yourself for rest:
1.) Straddle Pose
- Sit on your mat with both legs stretched out as close as you can get to a 180 degree angle – as perpendicular as they can be to your straight spine. Using a bolster or prop, rotate your hips forward and lean your chest against the bolster. Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes.
2.) Caterpillar Pose
- Send the legs forward so they’re stretched out before your body. Lay the arms on the floor parallel to each leg, palms up, with the prop from the Straddle Pose laid across your thighs. Lean forward so that your chest is resting against the bolster. Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes.
3.) Half Shoelace Pose
- Keep the right leg stretched in front of you, and bring the left heel to meet the right hip on the floor, bending the left leg at the knee and resting the left knee on top of the right knee. Lay the bolster on the left knee and lean your head on it. Hands palms down on the floor at your sides. Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes.
- Repeat caterpillar pose from Step Two.
Half Shoelace Pose (Other Side)
- Keep the left leg stretched in front of you, and bring the right heel to meet the left hip on the floor, bending the right leg at the knee and resting the right knee on top of the left knee. Lay the bolster on the right knee and lean your head on it. Hands palms down on the floor at your sides. Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes.
4.) Corpse Pose
- Lay flat on your back on the floor with your arms at your sides and your legs out in front of you. The trick to a successful corpse pose is to relax your pelvis into the floor, and then address each body part respectively and make sure that you’ve released all tension. Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes.
5.) Reclining Twist
- Hug the right knee into the chest and breathe a few deep breaths. Then send the right arm out next to you on the floor, perpendicular to your body. Then, send the right knee across the body so that your right foot is next to on the floor, next to your left knee. Twist and stretch the spine, but remain facing upwards.
- Return to corpse pose to reset.
Reclining Twist (Other Side)
- Hug the left knee into the chest and breathe a few deep breaths. Then send the left arm out next to you on the floor, perpendicular to your body. Then, send the left knee across the body so that your left foot is next to on the floor, next to your right knee. Twist and stretch the spine, but remain facing upwards.
- Rest in corpse pose for several minutes to finish.
Give this sequence of Yin yoga poses a try in the evening to release tension and help you feel relaxed and ready for sleep!
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