The benefits of Yin Yoga & a sequence you can do at home

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga where you hold postures from 90 seconds to 5 minutes. In yin yoga, it's not uncommon to hold poses for even longer than that. Yin yoga targets the connective tissues primarily focusing on the hips, pelvis, and lower spine. Some people can find yin yoga to be a little boring and passive and some people find it challenging due to the long holds and slow pace. But I find yin yoga very meditative and have experienced the miraculous benefits first hand, so I highly recommend it! 

If you're following me on Instagram, you probably see me do a ton of handstands and can't picture me embracing stillness in a yin class. Well, believe it or not, yin yoga is one of my favourite styles of yoga. In fact, I love it so much I actually took my 60-hour yin yoga teacher training last summer. 

Although yin yoga has its roots in hatha yoga, it blends Chinese Taoist practices and western science to improve your health on many different levels. We all know that stress is one of the main causes of illness and disease. The long holds in a yin practice release stress, tension and toxins that are stored in the tissues of the body. In ancient Indian and Chinese medicine, stress tension and toxins are considered to be stagnation of energy in the body. Yin yoga breaks down the blockages and releases that energy so that it can flow again. It is also one of many styles of yoga that works with the meridians of the body (meridians are energy lines in the body).  Different yin yoga poses can focus on meridian pathways to bring stimulation to specific organs. Below, I listed which meridian lines each pose affects, but at some point I would like to write a blog dedicated to that topic and get more in-depth! Let me know if that's a blog post you'd be interested in reading. 

 

Here are some other amazing benefits of yin yoga and why I was hooked from the very beginning: 

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Releases fascia
  • Balances internal organs 
  • Increases your energy levels
  • Improves joint mobility 
  • Improves your circulation 
  • Improves your flexibility 
  • Improves the flow of chi in your body  

 

At Home Yin Yoga Sequence: 

In yin yoga, poses are named differently. I did my best to provide both names (the one that most people are familiar with and the yin name). Please note all the suggested times I provided are the same, it's really up to you! Anywhere between 90 seconds - 5 minutes in an unheated environment would be perfect. 

 

1. Hamstring stretch 

Sam D Squire | Yin Yoga

Benefits: Stretches your hamstrings. Improves mobility of your pelvis and releases tension in your lower back. 

Meridians/organs affected: Stimulates the stomach, spleen and liver meridians. 

Time: 90 seconds - 5 minutes. 

NOTE: To modify this pose (especially if your lower back is sensitive) place your opposite foot on the ground. In this case, I would put my right foot on the floor. 

 

 

3. Half happy baby (In Yin Yoga this pose is called half stirrup pose) 

Sam D Squire | Yin Yoga
Sam D Squire | Yin Yoga

Benefits: Stretches your hips and hamstrings. Improves hip mobility. 

Meridians/organs affected: Stimulates the urinary bladder and kidney meridians. Stimulates the inner groins, which stimulates the liver meridians. 

Time: 90 seconds - 5 minutes. 

NOTE: In the pictures above, I showed one modification by performing this stretch with a strap. Another modification would be to place your opposite foot on the ground. In this case, I would put my right foot on the floor. If you have any sensitivity in your lower back, I highly recommend putting your opposite foot on the floor for more support. 

 

4. Two-legged twist (In yin yoga this pose is called twisted roots pose) 

Sam D Squire | Yin Yoga

Benefits: Improves flexibility and mobility in your spine. Helps with digestion by compressing your stomach and massaging your internal organs. 

Meridians/ organs affected: Twisting the spine stimulates the urinary bladder meridian lines, the heart, lungs, small intestines and large intestines. Twisting through the rib cage stimulates the gall bladder meridians. 

Time: 90 seconds - 5 minutes. 

 

6. Puppy dog pose (In Yin Yoga, this pose is called Melting Heart pose)

But I prefer puppy dog pose, so I usually say that, even when I'm teaching yin yoga. 

5. Child's Pose 

Sam D Squire | Yin Yoga
Sam D Squire | Yin Yoga

Benefits: Great stretch for the upper spine. Very gentle inversion, gets your head below your heart, which increases blood flow to your brain.

Meridians/organs affected: Compression along the spine stimulates the urinary bladder meridian lines. If you feel the stretch in your chest, then your stomach and spleen meridian lines are stimulated. 

Time: 90 seconds - 5 minutes. 

Benefits: Stretches the hips. Very calming and soothing posture. 

Meridians/ organs affected: The spleen and stomach meridians and compressed while the kidneys and urinary bladder meridians are stretched. 

Time: 90 seconds - 5 minutes. 

 

 

7. Forward Folds (In yin yoga, these poses are called half dragonfly and dragonfly)

Sam D Squire | Yin Yoga

Benefits: Stretches your groin, inner thigh and hamstrings.

Meridians/organs affected: Urinary bladder, liver, kidney and spleen.

Time: 90 seconds - 5 minutes per side. 

 

Sam D Squire | Yin Yoga

8. Support backbend(in yin yoga this is called supported fish pose)

Sam D Squire | Yin Yoga

Benefits: Gently stretches your back and chest. Improves your posture. 

Meridians/organs affected: Stimulates the heart, lung, kidney, spleen, stomach and bladder. 

Time: As long as possible... this pose feels amazing. 

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