Yin Yoga to Let Go of Stress and Tension

Updated: Apr 14

Yin yoga teaches you to let go of stress in the body and mind


If you've ever been to a Yin Yoga class where the Dragons were included in the sequence, I'm sure you remember it! We carry so much of tension in our hips and the Dragons in Yin know how to find it and release it... not without you noticing of course. It can be quite sensational!


When I first met the Dragons, it was the defining moment for me where I fully realized that Yin Yoga isn't just easy, gentle stretching. I was surprised by the physical challenge of just staying in Dragon Pose and breathing.


On the outside, you may think that Yin is a gentle floor yoga practice. You use props and most of the poses are done seated or on the floor. The Dragons, however expose you to the TRUTH that Yin is NOT Restorative Yoga.


Working into our lower body, especially the hips with Yin Yoga is a crucial way to maintain your mobility as you age. Even if you're young and aren't even considering the fact that you're aging (we are all aging every second!), being proactive about maintaining your mobility is a great way to take care of your physical body.


Now what about your mental heath? Well, as I'd mentioned earlier, we carry so much tension in our hips. I believe that it's actual stress we hold there. When we can focus on an intention to just let go of control, or let go of worry or whatever it is we need in the moment, we can actually do that with our Yin Yoga practice using visualization.


When you physically release stress and tension while combining mindful breathing and intention to the sensations you're feeling, you're in fact releasing stress and tension with every breath. You're also taking some time to go inward when you practice, which gives your mind a break from racing thoughts.


Putting your focus on the sensations you feel as opposed to the day to day bustle of life gives you an opportunity to disconnect from external influences. Having some time to check in with yourself and really feel the release in the Dragons helps your body, mind and soul be in a healthy place. Even if it's a challenge to stay there and breathe


Explore how you can let go of whatever isn't serving you in tonight's live BADASS YOGA WORKSHOP!


We'll spend 15 minutes working into the DRAGONS! Your lower body will thank you and so will your mind!


This week's class sequence is listed at the end of this blog post! 👇


Practice with me to the BADASS YOGA: DRAGONS FLOW either Live or on demand in the FREE VIDEO LIBRARY after the class airs live.


BADASS YOGA WORKSHOP is live every Thursday at 8pm ET on Zoom for 15 minutes!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

ASANA LAB: DRAGONS

Benefits:

  • Deep hip and groin opener that gets right into the joint

  • Stretches the back leg’s hip flexors and quadriceps

  • Many variations to help work deeply into hip socket

  • Can help with sciatica

Contraindications:

  • Can be uncomfortable for the kneecap or ankle. If you are stiff, the back thigh will be at a 90 degree angle to the front thigh, putting a lot of weight on the kneecap. Support the back knee with a blanket, or place a bolster under the shin, allowing the back knee to be off the floor

Getting Into the Pose:

  • Begin either on hands and knees or in Down Dog

  • Step one foot between the hands. Walk the front foot forward until the knee is right above the heel

  • Slide the back knee backward as far as you can

  • Keep the hands on either side of the front foot

Alternatives & Options:

  • If the back knee is uncomfortable, place a blanket under it, rest the shin on a bolster, or tuck the toes under and lift the leg off the floor

  • If the ankle is uncomfortable, place a blanket underneath or raise the knee by putting a bolster under the shin

  • Press top of foot down firmly, emphasizing the little toe

Alternative Dragons:

  1. The first alternative pose is a simple low lunge called Baby Dragon. If you like, you can rest your hands on blocks

  2. The next option is to rest the arms or hands on the front thigh and lift the chest, increasing the weight over the hips. This is called Dragon Flying High

  3. A deeper option, Dragon Flying Low, is to place both hands inside the front foot and walk hands forward, lowering the hips. For more depth, come down on the elbows or rest them on a bolster or block

  4. In Twisted Dragon, one hand pushes the front knee to the side, while the chest rotates to the sky

  5. In Winged Dragon, with hands on the floor, wing out the knee a few times, rolling onto the outside edge of that foot and then stay there with the knee low. You could come down on the elbows or rest them on a block or bolster

  6. Overstepping Dragon exercises the ankle. From Baby Dragon, allow the front knee to come far forward and/or slide the heel backward, until the heel is just about to lift off the ground

  7. Dragon Splits offers the deepest stretch for hip flexors. Straighten both legs into the splits. Support the front hip with a bolster under the buttock for balance and to release weight; this relaxes the muscles. Sit up tall or fold forward for different sensations

  8. For Fire-Breathing Dragon, in any of the above variations, tuck the back toe under and lift the knee up, lengthening the leg. This puts more weight into the hips, increasing the stretch

Coming Out of the Pose:

  • Move your paws to Down Dog position, move the back knee forward a bit, tuck the back toes under, and with a nice groan, step back to Down Dog

Counter Poses:

  • A short Down Dog is delicious. Bend one knee, lifting that heel and pushing the opposite heel down, and then switch sides repeatedly

  • Child’s Pose feels really good after Down Dog and before switching to the other side of the Dragon

Meridians & Organs Affected:

  • Stomach, Spleen, Liver, Gall Bladder, and Kidneys (and even the Urinary Bladder in the Dragon Flying High or the Dragon Splits High)

Joints Affected:

  • Hips and ankles

  • Lower back in the backbend options

Recommended Hold Times:

  • Hold each variation for one minute and cycle through all of them

  • Hold just one variation for three to five minutes

Similar Yang Asanas:

  • Low lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Other Notes:

  • You may not feel anything in the outer hip joint. If your hip flexors or quadriceps are tight, that area will take all the stress. This is still a good pose, but to work your hips, other poses will be needed

 

BADASS YIN: DRAGONS FLOW


Practice this sequence with me LIVE on Thursday April 14th at 8pm ET

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Saddle - 1min


Dragons Cycle - right - 5min

- Dragon Flying High - 1

- Dragon Flying Low - 1

- Baby Dragon - 1

- Winged Dragon - 1

- Twisted Dragon -1


Downward Facing Dog


Dragons Cycle - left - 5min

- Dragon Flying High - 1

- Dragon Flying Low - 1

- Baby Dragon - 1

- Winged Dragon - 1

- Twisted Dragon -1


Caterpillar - 2min

 

Check out my FREE VIDEO LIBRARY for more BADASS YOGA classes!


BADASS YOGA is live every Thursday at 8pm ET on Zoom and uploaded to my website video library afterward!

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