Have you searched for ways to improve your physical and mental health at the same time without much luck?
Then yin yoga for beginners may be an excellent option for you. In this article, we will give you everything that you need to begin doing this outstanding healing practice on your own today.
When I first heard about yin yoga, I had no idea where to begin exploring this new yoga technique. As a new student, it can be overwhelming for you to jump into a class with students who may have been practicing for years.
As an experienced yoga teacher, yin yoga has become one of my favorite practices to do both on my own and to teach to others. I have now learned the best tips and tricks to understand this beautiful practice and how you can overcome any roadblocks along the way.
That’s why I decided to create this article to help you as a beginner student experience the beautiful world of yin yoga with ease.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin yoga is the softer side of yoga that can help you tap into deeper levels of relaxation.
But this yoga method is not only about relaxing. One of yin yoga’s main goals is to stress the fascia or connective tissue of your body. Over time, this can strengthen your joints, increase flexibility, and relieve pain.
A typical yin yoga class only includes a few poses that you hold for an extended period. This allows you to melt into the poses and feel the benefits deeper within you.
Yin yoga combines yoga with Chinese philosophy. In the Chinese theory of yin yoga, each pose targets meridians or energy centers in your body to help the flow of chi or energy throughout your entire system.
To help you explore this vast practice, we have selected the eight most popular poses in yin yoga for beginners.
Each pose in this list will include an overview of the benefits, steps on how to practice it, tips, and modifications.
So, let’s get started!
The Top 8 Yin Yoga Poses for Beginners
1. Butterfly Pose/Cobbler’s Pose/Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
- Stretches the lower back, hamstrings, and adductor muscles.
- May strengthen the kidneys and prostate gland.
- It can help regulate periods and ovary function.
- Start in a seated position on your mat and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you.
- Slide your feet away from you into a comfortable position, forming your legs into a diamond shape.
- Walk your hands forward towards your feet and begin to fold forward.
- Allow your head to hang down as you fold forward as comfortably as is possible.
- Hold this pose for 3-5 minutes.
- To move out of the post, walk yourself back up to a seated position and release your legs straight out in front of you.
- Be aware of dropping the neck too low as this can cause tension in the neck muscles.
- Move your feet farther away to target the hamstrings, or move them closer to target the adductor muscles.
- If you have sciatica, try elevating your hips on a cushion so that your knees are lower than your hips.
- You can also do this as a reclined pose by keeping your feet in the same position and then resting your spine on a bolster behind you.
2. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
- Stimulates and compresses the lumbar spine.
- May relieve symptoms from bulging or herniated disks.
- It might stimulate the thyroid gland.
- Begin by lying down on your stomach flat onto your mat with your legs extended straight behind you.
- Move your arms out in front of you and wrap your hands around your elbows, forming a 90-degree angle with your arms. Make sure that your elbows are slightly in front of your shoulders.
- Bring your forearms flat onto the ground and relax your palms flat on the mat.
- Hold this pose for 3 to 5 minutes.
- To get out of the pose, slide your arms forward and relax your chest down onto the ground.
- Holding your neck up can cause strain after a while, so you may choose to support your head with a block to relieve this pressure.
- Press your chest forward and gaze in front of you for a deeper backbend. For a more restorative option, relax your chin down towards your chest.
- If you are pregnant, you can do this pose by placing a bolster under your pelvis and forearms to elevate your stomach off the ground.
- For a deeper pose, you can elevate your forearms off the ground by placing a bolster underneath them.
- For a gentler pose, slide your forearms forward to reduce the angle between your lower and upper arm.
3. Reclined Spinal Twist/Reclining Twist/Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
- Releases tension in the spine.
- Can relieve symptoms of sciatica.
- Massages the stomach and might help with gastritis.
- Begin by lying flat on your back with your legs extended straight on the ground.
- Bring your knees towards your chest, and then allow them to fall to the right side of your body.
- Open your arms in line with your shoulders or extend both of your arms above your head next to your ears.
- Turn your head to the left.
- Hold the pose for 3-5 minutes.
- To get out of the pose, bring your head back to the center, rest your arms by your sides, and move your legs back up above your body.
- Then, repeat this pose on the opposite side.
- Try to focus on dropping both of your shoulders down towards the ground to deepen the twist in your upper spine.
- If you feel any tingling in your arms, move them downwards to reverse the blood flow.
- You can wrap your legs around each other to move into a deeper spinal twist.
- For a gentler option, move your knees away from your face.
4. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- It relaxes the mind and relives the nervous system.
- To stimulates the stomach and digestive system.
- Can relieve neck and back pain.
- Begin in a tabletop position and then slowly sit back down onto your calves.
- Open your knees wide and then lower your abdomen down between your legs as you walk your hands forward on your mat.
- Rest your forehead down onto the ground or on top of a bolster and stretch your arms out by your ears, resting them flat on the floor.
- Hold this pose for 3 to 5 minutes.
- To exit the pose, walk your hands towards your chest and push yourself back up to a seated position.
- Keep the knees together to deepen the stimulation on your digestive system.
- Walk your hands farther forward to lengthen your spine more and decrease compression.
- If you have tension in your knees, place a blanket or pillow under your legs and behind your thighs as well.
- To relieve any tension in your spine, open your knees wider.
5. Banana Pose/Restorative Half Moon Pose (Bananasana)
- Lay down flat on your back with your legs together stretched outwards.
- Stretch your arms over your head and wrap your hands around your elbows.
- Keep your pelvis grounded as you slide your arms, head, chest, legs, and feet towards the right side. Create a crescent shape with your body.
- Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Repeat this pose on the opposite side.
- Try to keep your hips grounded on the floor.
- Cross your ankles to deepen the stretch on your side body and stimulate your IT band.
- If you feel any tension or tingling in your shoulders, then straighten your arms and place your palms on top of each other.
6. Caterpillar Pose/Seated Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana)
- Sit down on your mat and stretch your legs straight out in front of you with your feet touching.
- Pull the flesh of your buttocks out from underneath you to place yourself firmly down on the ground.
- Fold your abdomen forward over your legs and allow your back to round as you gaze towards your knees.
- Hold this pose for 3 to 5 minutes.
- To get out of the pose, slowly walk yourself back up to a seated position.
- For a more restorative option, try resting your chest on top of a bolster.
- To move deeper into the pose, try to slowly walk your hands down towards your feet with every exhalation until you come to a comfortable edge.
- If you have sciatica or experience any pain in your spine, try to elevate your hips by placing a bolster underneath you.
- For tight hamstrings, place a bolster under your knees.
7. Dragon Pose/Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
- Begin by getting into a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
- Step your right foot between your hands and align your right knee with your right ankle.
- Slide your left leg back as far as is comfortable, placing the top of your left foot flat onto the ground.
- Rest your hands on your right knee or place them down on either side of your right foot.
- Hold this pose for 3-5 minutes, and make sure to avoid going too deep if you feel any discomfort.
- To get out of the pose, slowly move your left knee forwards, tuck your left foot toes, and bring your right foot back to meet the left in a tabletop position.
- Repeat the pose on the opposite side.
- The primary goal of yin yoga poses is to hold a posture for a more extended period. So, try to find a depth of this pose that you can maintain for longer as it has a greater potential to cause discomfort.
- If you have sensitive knees, place a blanket or pillow under your back knee to relieve the pressure.
- If you cannot reach the ground, you can also place your hands on top of blocks to ease yourself downwards.
8. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
- Lay down flat on your back with your legs stretched out onto the mat, slightly apart.
- Allow your feet to fall to the sides.
- Rest your arms by your sides with your palms facing upwards.
- Close your eyes and allow your entire body to relax.
- This pose is a great time to practice meditation, particularly progressive muscle relaxation or mindfulness meditation.
- Place a bolster under your calves to relieve any tension in your spine.
Start Learning Yin Yoga for Beginners Today!
Yin yoga for beginners is an excellent option to improve both your mental and physical health at the same time. As you explore this beautiful healing practice, try to ease yourself into the practice and listen to your body to prevent injury.
Did you enjoy this list on yin yoga for beginners? Then make sure to comment below what you liked best or share it with your friends as well. Now that you have everything you need to get started, we hope you enjoy your journey into yin yoga for beginners in your life!
Allen Wei is someone who believes in living his best life, focusing on balance, happiness, and relaxation. He fosters a positive lifestyle in terms of his body, mind, and environment, and he is a huge proponent of learning to be balanced via relaxation techniques integrated into our busy lives.