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Calm yourself with this series of yin yoga exercises

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Everything that goes on outside your home is mostly yang: active, dynamic, outgoing. When you come home after a busy day, you need a little more yin: introspection, peace and harmony. 

Before you start

When you do these poses at home, remember that it's okay if they feel uncomfortable. It's even good, because it means something is happening. But you must never feel any sharp pains. Don't overdo it, respect your own boundaries and listen to your body. Each pose lasts for at least three minutes. If you want to keep it up longer, feel free. If you don't have time to do all the poses, it's better to do a few with the proper timing than all of them in a shorter amount of time. 

Opening exercise

Padmasana -  Sit cross-legged (whole or half lotus) and make contact with your breath. Feel the inhalations and exhalations, feel the movement of your breath through your body. Do this for a few minutes. There's no need to change anything about your breathing. Just doing this will almost naturally make your breathing deeper and put you back in touch with yourself and the present moment. 

For a healing calmness

Wide-knee child pose - Sit on your heels, put your big toes together and spread your knees as wide as you can. Keeping your bottom close to your heels, lay your body down. Put a folded blanket on the ground to rest your forehead on. You can stretch your arms or bend your elbows. Find your boundary in this pose so it feels uncomfortable but not painful. For a more restorative pose, put a bolster underneath your upper body. Set the timer to three minutes and breathe. After three minutes, breathe in, push yourself up slowly, and gently put your knees together. Stretch out over your upper legs and stay there for a few breaths. Slowly roll back up to a sitting position. 

For calming the mind 

Legs up on the wall pose - This pose calms the mind and relaxes tired legs and feet. Lie on your back with your bottom against the wall. Put a folded blanket under your sacrum / under your hips by pushing your feet against the wall and raising your hips a little. You can also put a folded blanket down in the right place before you start. When you're lying down, rest your legs straight up against the wall. Let your body 'sink into the ground' as mush as possible and set the timer to three minutes. After three minutes, push your feet against the wall and raise your hips to remove the blanket. Put your hips on the ground and turn on your side with your knees bent. Take a few more slow breaths before getting up. 

Text: Thirza van de Hoef - Photo: Kyson Dana

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