Yoganonymous Unedited

‘Fitting in Yin’ – 5 Ways to Balance Your Practice

What if I told you that you were missing half of your practice?  That #Yogaeverydamnday doesn’t necessarily mean Yang Yoga every damn day.  The ligaments, tendons and joints that we protect in a strenuous class need to have some gentle, continuous stress to gain flexibility.    

But how can you designate precious ego-stroking-Instagram-worthy pose time to a quiet Yin practice?  I mean, Flying Crow looks and sounds way more bad-ass than Sleeping Swan.  And there is that silly belief that we could not possibly be doing Yoga if we’re not reduced to sweaty heap by the time we reach Savasana, right?

Well, you can vinyasa ‘til the cows come home and you may never get much further in poses like Bird of Paradise [Svarga Dvijasana]. But Sleeping Swan might give you the space you need to get that leg up into a place where no leg has gone before.

As the red headed step child of popular yoga styles, Yin does not always get a lot of love.   But there is nothing new or faddish about any of the postures.  The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written in the 14th or 15th century,  lists only 15 yoga asanas and of those 11 were most likely intended to be taken in a yin manner. *

But if there are not enough hours in your week right now how are you going to find the time for this Yin thing?  Fear not seekers-of-flexibility, there are plenty of ways to sneak it in. Here are five.

1.     Do Dragon During Dexter [Lizard Stretch, Utthan Pristhasana].  Find a Netflix binge worthy series and spend 10 minutes in this pose alternating the forward leg.

2.     Cobblers Pose while Commuting. Called Seated Butterfly in Yin, you can take this posture during most modes of transportation.  If you are driving please remember to break and accelerate accordingly.

3.     Upright Reclining Pigeon at the Office.  Use those fabric covered prison walls to do something good for your bod. Cross your ankle over your leg, just above the knee.   Apply some light pressure to the inside of your bent knee crease.  Now, pretend to be thinking really hard about whatever it is you get paid to do.

4.     Slide into Class Early for Shoelace [Cow Faced Pose].  Yes, be that person. The person that does yoga before yoga. I know you kinda want to punch them in the face but really this is a time saving ninja move.  Instead of 10 hand stands try this Gomukhasana variation.  

5.     Go to bed a Happy Baby [Ananda Valasana]. Different from how you might take this in a Yang class, with the Yin version your belly is soft. No squeezing no pushing and no rocking.  Coo and maybe regress a little.

So don’t write off a Yin practice because it doesn’t look like what the cool kids are doing.  Add some balance to your yang and work towards flying that Crow or Bird of Paradise like a boss.