Not all styles of yoga incorporate strong, standing, warrior-like postures. Yin yoga offers a slow practice where all postures are undertaken low to the ground, seated and supine. The postures are held for long periods of time, usually 3 to 5 minutes and are designed to target the connective tissue, the deepest tissues of the body including bones, joints, ligaments and fascia. Comparatively, Yang yoga styles like Ashtanga Vinyasa and Vinyasa Flow target the muscles and hold postures for about 5 to ten breaths.
Holding the postures for extended periods has many physiological, psychological and energetic benefits. These include;
- Increase flexibility
- Improve posture
- Release fascia
- Increase joint mobility
- Promote circulation
- Reduce stress
- Promote relaxation
- Enhance focus
- Improve sleep
- Develop breath awareness
Billabong Retreat Host Basia demonstrates 5 yin yoga poses for you to try at home with a bolster.
1. Child’s Pose
A healing and restful posture which gently stretches the spine. To get into the pose start on all fours. Seperate your knees wider than your hips and slowly sit back on your heels. Place a bolster, or a block and bolster under your torso and fold forward. Rest the front of your body on the bolster. Let your hands rest beside you and turn your head to one side. Relax and hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Legs up the Wall Pose
A restorative inversion which lengthens the back of the legs and boosts circulation. To get into the pose sit next to the wall with one side of your body touching the wall. Roll on your side, then onto your back and take your legs up the wall. Slide the bolster under your hips for extra elevation. Relax and hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Supported Bridge Pose
A supportive yet energising backbend which lengthens the front of the hips. To get into the pose lay down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Press down through your feet to lift your hips. Slide a bolster underneath your hips and lower your hips back down. Relax and hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Reclined Butterfly Pose
A hip opening posture which helps calms the mind. To get into the pose lay down on your back. Bend your knees and slide the bolster under your knees. Bring the soles of your feet together and let you knees fall the the sides. Relax and hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Supported Fish Pose
A gentle backbend which stretches the intercostal muscles and improves posture. To get into the pose start in a seated position with your bolster lengthways behind you. Lower yourself back to lay over your bolster. Place your head on a block and extend your arms out wide. Relax and hold for 3 to 5 minutes.