It's a little 'wafty' but look ahead and see some of the asanas used in the incredibly relaxed Yin Yoga-style.
Holding poses for lengthy amounts of time may seem like heaven, or hell*, but for students with injuries, a history of stiffness, stress and general over-doing-it, Yin is actually an incredible way to nurture our bodies and demand we put on the brakes.
(*there is no hell, as we know, but for dramatic effect, I use the term here...)
1. Butterfly Pose
Sit with the soles of your feet together 12 to 24 inches in front of your pelvis. Extend your spine forward with your chest lifted. Come as far forward as you can; then drape your upper body either over your legs or, if you feel any tension in your back, over a bolster. Allow your head to rest on the bolster, your hands, or your feet. Let go of all muscular effort. Stay here for 3 to 6 minutes; then come up gently to sitting.
An Old Favourite. Get comfortable.
2. Half Saddle
Bend your left knee, taking your left foot to the outside of your left hip. If it’s difficult to sit on the floor with your left leg in this position, sit up on a block. Bend your right knee, and place your right foot on the floor. Walk your hands behind you and lie back, either over a bolster or, if you can continue, all the way to the floor. It’s OK if your left knee lifts up. Relax into the pose for 1 to 5 minutes. Then come up and take the second side.
I had to look twice too. It's ok, she's just sleeping...
3. Lateral Dragonfly
Sit on a folded blanket, extending your legs out wide. Let your legs remain passive and lean your torso to the right, taking your right elbow to your right leg or to a bolster. Rest your head in your right hand, and bring your left arm behind your head. Turn your attention toward the changing sensations in your legs, pelvis, and side body as you soften into the pose. Stay for 3 to 6 minutes; then lift up slowly and repeat on the second side.
It's literal, it's lateral.
4. Dragonfly Twist
With your legs in Dragonfly position, lengthen your spine and twist your torso to the right. Hold your right outer thigh with your left hand. Take your right hand to the floor behind you or all the way around to hold your left inner thigh. Stay for 3 to 6 minutes. Slowly unwind. Pause a moment in the center; then repeat to the left.
Six minutes you say?
Continue with your legs in Dragonfly and sit up tall. Walk your hands forward as far as you can, and then drape your upper body down, resting your head on a bolster or on the ground. Release your body to gravity, allowing space for your sensations. Stay for 3 to 6 minutes. Then lift your torso gently and use your hands to bring your legs toward each other with care.
6. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
Sit up on a folded blanket or bolster and come into a simple cross-legged position. Notice if there is any area in your body that feels discomfort and direct your breath to this area. Sit for 2 minutes, feeling the effects of your practice.
If a lemur can do it for hours on end, we can do it for two whole minutes
7. Reclining Knee-to-Chest Pose
Lie down on your back and lengthen your legs forward. Press your left thighbone down firmly. Hug your right knee into your chest with both arms and soften your right hip and groin. On an inhalation, extend your legs forward and your arms up and over your head, lengthening your body. On an exhalation, hug your left knee into your chest while grounding your right thigh. Continue moving slowly with your breath, alternating legs, for 8 rounds.
You'll find this one is good for not only your hips, but anything in your belly too!
8. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Lie on you back, bend your knees and take your heels directly under your knees. Lift your hips and tailbone, and imagine hugging a ball between your thighs. Bend your elbows and lift your forearms perpendicular to the floor, palms facing each other. Press your upper arms and elbows down firmly to open your heart center and lift your hips higher. Expand your chest with 5 slow breaths. Release and then repeat 2 more times.
Take Reclining Knee-to-Chest, with your left leg extended. Interlace your fingers behind your right thigh close to your sitting bone and extend your right leg up. Flex your right foot and press your right thigh firmly into your hands. Take 8 slow breaths, release, and repeat on your left side. Repeat 2 more times on each side. Then hug both knees into your chest and let out a long sigh.
Lie back over a bolster (if needed) with the soles of your feet together, knees wide, palms face-up at your sides. Visualize your body surrounded by the warmth of the sun. On your inhalations, breathe the sunlight into your whole body and hold your breath. Imagine every cell soaking in the breath like a sponge. On your exhalations, release fully. Repeat this 5 times and then let go completely for 3 to 6 minutes.