Your Little Time Out: Yin & Yang Yoga Session
A guest article by greenyogashop ambassador Karolin Werminghoff
Take a little time out for yourself and slow down with this little sequence that you can wonderfully integrate into your everyday life. Gentle, longer yin asanas will give you peace and help you focus on your inside. The more vigorous Yang Asanas will have an energising effect and will provide more stability. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Make yourself comfortable, grab your Yoga Mat, a Yoga Bolster and a Meditation Cushion to support you with the longer asanas.
Do more for yourself and, above all, do what is good for you.
Arrive| Hip Opener
01 Breathe consciously
Come into an upright, stable seat – a tailor's seat or Thunderbolt pose, whichever feels better for you. Feel free to support yourself with a meditation cushion or rolled up blanket so that your pelvis is elevated and can tilt forward. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Place one hand on your chest. Feel your abdominal wall rise when you inhale and lower when you exhale. Stay like this for 3-5 minutes.
02 Squat – Malasana
Stand on your mat and place your feet mat-width apart, your toes pointing outwards. Then squat down with your buttocks towards the floor. If necessary, place a rolled blanket under your heels for support if they do not quite touch the mat. Straighten your upper body, your chest reaching upwards, gently gaze forward. Press your elbows against your knees. Find calm and stability. Hold for 3 minutes.
Effect: Opens the hips, strengthens the ankles, relaxes the lower back, relieves menstrual cramps and is also a great preparation for childbirth.
Balance | Focus
03 Tree – Vriksasana
Release the squat and shake out your legs. Stand hip-distance apart at the top of your mat. Shift your weight onto the right leg, lift your left knee, turn up your hip and place your left foot on your inner thigh or calf. Bring your hands together in front of your heart. Find your balance with a focus point at eye level. Hold for 1 minute and then change sides.
Effect: Strengthens physical and mental stability, harmonises, promotes balance and focus. Special address of the Ajna Chakras (forehead chakra; "third eye" - stands for intuition).
04 Downward Dog
Come into table top pose on your mat. Put strength into your hands and stretch your arms and backs of your legs, your tailbone pulling towards the sky, your heels reaching down towards the floor. Gently gaze to your feet, keep your neck relaxed. Your upper arms "frame" your ears, your back is long. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your slightly opened mouth. Hold for 10 breaths.
Effect: Gives inner peace and strengthens and stretches the entire back of your body. Refreshes the brain, calms, reduces stress and helps against insomnia.
Activation | Rest
05 Upward Facing Dog
Come into prone position with the instep of your foot resting on the floor. Bring your hands next to your chest, elbows close to your body. Press your hands into the mat. Inhale, stretch your arms and lift your upper body, legs and knees off the floor, shoulder blades pulling towards each other. The centre of your body is active, the tailbone pulling towards your pubic bone and your pubic bone towards the navel. Your neck is long, the crown of your head reaches towards the sky. Hold for 6 breaths.
Effect: Strengthens the spine, arms, shoulders and wrists. Stretches the chest and abdomen. Strengthens the abdominal, leg and buttock muscles and stimulates the abdominal organs.
06 Child – Balasana
Come back into Downward Dog and bring your knees mat-width apart onto the mat. Bring your big toes together behind you. Let your buttocks sink towards your heels and your forehead and sternum towards the floor. Stretch your arms forward or place them along your body and clasp the soles of your feet with your hands. Hold for 5 minutes.
Effect: Activates blood circulation and stretches the back muscles. Relieves tension in the neck. Strengthens basic trust and the ability to let go.
Energy | Flexibility
07 Toe Sit
Kneel on your mat with your hands on your thighs. Tuck your toes under and make sure that the little toe is positioned like the others and not bent. With each exhalation, shift your weight a little more backwards on your toes. Continue to breathe evenly and enjoy the nice stretch for 2 minutes. Then put your instep down and gently lean back.
Effect: Intensively stretches the muscles and fascia in the sole of the foot. Strengthens the toe muscles, stretches the spine and straightens it.
08 Cat – Cow
Come into table top pose. Keep your knees right under your hips, your wrists under your shoulders and your toes set behind. Inhaling, bring your back into a guided hollow back, gently lift your gaze (cow). Exhaling, round your back, pull your abdomen towards your spine, press your hands into the mat and lower your gaze to the floor (cat). Repeat for 6-8 breaths.
Effect cat: Helps to become more supple, strengthens the back muscles, relieves tension and pain in the back; effect cow: Stretches the front torso including the abdomen, mobilises the spine.
Sit upright and ground your sit bones. With a folded blanket under your buttocks, gently tilt your pelvis to the front. Let your knees sink to the sides and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you. Inhale, find length in your upper body. While exhaling, let your sternum sink towards your feet. Use a bolster so that your neck stays relaxed. Place the bolster upright between your legs or on your feet and rest your forehead on the bolster. If you have back problems, you can alternatively do the pose lying on your back. To do so, place the bolster lengthwise behind your buttocks and let yourself sink backwards on it gently (you don’t need the blanket). Hold for 3 minutes.
Effect: Gives more flexibility to the hips, releases energetic blockages in the pelvic floor area. Harmonises the root and sacral chakra.
Lie on your back and relax, cover yourself up. Let the palms of the hands face upwards. The arms rest on the floor along the sides of the body, the feet fall gently outwards. You may wish to place a bolster under the back of your knees. Release the tongue from the roof of the mouth. The forehead is relaxed. Close your eyes. Stay as long as you can and want to - at least 6 minutes.
Effect: Deep relaxation, harmonizing and storing energies. Stress hormones are reduced and happiness hormones are released. Parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for relaxation) is activated and sympathetic nervous system (adrenaline and tension) is reduced.