This is a yin yoga sequence for transitions. Therefore, it’s a perfect way to start the New Year, and a gentle yoga sequence to get moving after the excitement of Christmas. The festive seasons is well and truly behind us and with 12 brand new months ahead to create whatever we would like. It’s an ideal time to begin new projects and yin yoga provides the perfect place to start.
January is like a never-ending month made up of Mondays. The weather is dark, wet, and windy; with no lights to cheer us up during our daily commute. Combine that with our New Year Resolutions to get to the gym and watch what we eat. January is looking like the month that fun forgot.
I’ve put together this short yin yoga sequence for transitions to help you reset, and refocus. It might just help you to see the best in January. All you need is 30 minutes and some quiet space to relax, breathe and stretch it out. Check out this blog post to see some of the benefits of a yin yoga sequence. Then, put on your favourite gym clothes, or pyjamas and let’s show January who’s boss.
Easy Seated Pose
Begin in a comfortable seated pose. This can be in a cross legged ‘easy’ pose like me. Or you can have your legs straight in front of you. If you find it challenging to sit up straight, then sit onto a rolled-up blanket (or cushion.) Place one hand on top of the other on your stomach and notice your breath. Begin by setting an intention for your practice. Then use this time to settle your mind while maintaining focus on the breath.
Step the left leg forward, bringing the right knee down onto the ground. You can place a rolled-up blanket or pillow under the right knee for extra comfort. Hands come to the ground framing the left foot or onto blocks. Taking a deep breath in, think about lengthening the spine forwards and on the exhale allow the hips to drop towards the mat. Keep your focus on lengthening on the inhale and deepening into the stretch on the exhale. After holding this pose for up to 3 minutes, sweep the left leg back to meet the right. Take Child’s pose.
Take child’s pose with the toes together and knees apart, allowing the chest to sink down towards the floor. Arms can be stretched out in front of you, or you can place the backs of the hands on the floor beside your hips. Rest here, reconnecting with your breath for 2 minutes, and repeat dragon pose with the right leg leading.
From child’s pose come up to a seated position. Bend the knees and draw the soles of your feet together into butterfly pose. The closer the feet are to your body the more intense this pose can be. If you need a bit of extra support, sit on a cushion or blanket. Taking a deep breath in, and extend the arms up to the sky, lengthening the spine. Fold forwards on an exhale. You can place a couple of cushions or pillows on your lap and rest your head here for up to 5 minutes. After that, to come out of the pose, inhale to lengthen back to seated, and then swish the legs left to right in windshield wipers.
In your seated pose, extend both legs in front of you. It can be nice to place a rolled-up blanket or pillow underneath your knees for a bit of support. Have a few cushions/pillows in front of you and begin to fold forward onto your supporting props. If it doesn’t feel comfortable to fold forwards, stay in a seated position with your hands behind you to encourage a long, straight spine. Remember that you can bend your knees as much as you need, because the pose should suit you, and not the other way around. Relax, breathe and stay in the fold for up to 5 minutes.
Take a comfortable seated position, using a block, blanket or pillow to encourage you to sit up with a tall spine. Inhale to lengthen the arms up towards the sky, sitting a little bit taller, and as you exhale twist to the left. Place the right hand onto the left knee and use your left hand to steady you. Use your breath to relax into the twist and stay here for up to 3 minutes. After that, repeat on the opposite side.
Come to lay down on your back, legs extended along the floor (if comfortable for you) and arms by your sides. Take your attention back to the breath and follow the inhales as your lungs expand and the exhales, as the air leaves your body. Stay here for 2 minutes feeling the after effects of the stretches. Place a blanket over yourself and add any props under your knees, to ensure that you are comfortable. Allow yourself to relax into the floor as your thoughts drift away.
If you enjoyed this yin yoga sequence for transitions, please have a look at this short yin yoga video designed to boost energy levels. It’s a perfect accompaniment to the practise above and is sure to set you up for a positive start to the year.