In a world where we’re always trying to move faster, stay active, and get more done, it can be hard to ease into a calmer state. Which is why I’m sharing this yin yoga sequence for deep relaxation.
My favorite way to drop into relaxed energy is with yin or restorative yoga. This is a slow practice of yoga, where you hold postures for an extended period of time. It encourages you to drop in, let go, and settle into each pose.
It’s the exact opposite of a yang-inspired flow class.
This is a slower practice and the poses are held for a longer period of time. Give yourself permission to break up the sequence if you’d like to. Hold the poses for longer periods of time and only practice a handful or do the entire sequence, holding each pose for a minute or so. You’re in charge!
Yin Yoga Sequence for Deep Relaxation
To practice this yoga sequence, hold each posture for 2-3 minutes (or longer). Allow yourself to use support, like pillows or props to relax into each posture. Make sure to do each side for every posture.
This is a basic seated pose with crossed legs. Sit comfortably with the spine long, pressing the tailbone into the floor and lifting the top of your head towards the ceiling. Hands can rest palms down or palms up on the knees.
Easy Pose with Twist
Starting in seated pose, twist over to the right side, bringing your left hand to the right knee and your right fingertips to the floor behind you. Continue to lift through the top of the head, keeping the spine tall. Optional bind – reach the right hand around to the top of the left hip crease.
Cow Face Pose
Start seated with your legs out in front, then bend your knees and put your feet on the floor. Slide your left foot under the right knee to the outside of the right hip. Then cross your right leg over the left, stacking the right knee on top of the left, and bring the right foot to the outside of the left hip. Reach the right hand high and then tuck the back of the hand on your upper back. Reach your left hand around to the lower back. The aim is to bring the fingers together for a bind, allowing the chest to open as the shoulder pull back.
Optional: Use a yoga strap or belt to grip behind the back if the fingertips do not reach each other.
Start from seated position with your legs out straight in front of you. Bend into the knees and bring the soles of the feet together, allowing the knees to fall out to each side. Pull the heels as close to the pelvis as comfortable, keeping the hands wrapped around the ankles and lift your chest forwards. Hold here for a couple breaths. Then walk the fingers forwards and allow the head to drop, rounding into the back.
Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose
Start seated with both legs straight in front of you (staff pose). Bring the left foot to the inside of the right thigh, allowing the knee to open out to the side. Bring the right hand to rest on the right leg as you begin to reach the left hand overhead, actively reaching for the right toes. Be sure to keep the chest open toward the left side, not allowing the chest to drop in order to bend deeper.
Option: bring the right hand to rest on the left hip crease for a greater twist.
Start seated with both legs straight in front of you (staff pose). Bring one foot to the inside of the opposite thigh, allowing the knee to open out to the side. Fold forward over the straight leg, trying to keep the belly button towards the center of that leg. Bring your hands to your foot or your calf to help gently pull yourself forward. Allow the head and the shoulder to relax into the posture.
Seated Forward Fold
Start seated with both legs straight in front of you (staff pose), making sure to be seated up on the tailbone. On an inhale, reach both hands overhead and fold forward on the exhale. For an active pose, grab your feet or ankles and gently pull yourself forward throughout the pose. For a yin version, fall forward and release the hands, shoulders, and head, allowing yourself to simply hinge forward and hang there.
From table top (hands and knees), walk the hands towards the front of the mat while keeping your tailbone lifted towards the ceiling. Lower your chest and forehead to the floor, continuing to reach through the ceiling and arch your tailbone towards the sky.
Extended Child’s Pose
From hands and knees, bring the big toes together and take the knees out as wide as the mat. Sit back onto the heels and walk the hands forward, bringing the forehead down onto the mat. Allow the belly to drop between the thighs and sink into the hips. Reach through the fingertips, but allow the shoulder blades to stay in place.
Start laying on your belly with the feet stretched back behind with the tops of the feet pressed into the mat. Bring the palms underneath the shoulders, fingers spread wide, and the elbows are pulled in. On an inhale, press into the palms as you lift the chest off the ground and pull the shoulder blades back together. The elbows should stay tucked into the sides as the chest opens and the head remains neutral, not allowing the chin to reach upwards.
Starting in plank pose, pull the right knee up in between the hands, resting it own on the inside of the right foot. Gently lower the body onto the ground, reaching through the left toes. Press your fingertips into the ground and lift up through the torso, opening the chest. Try to balance the weight evenly between your right and left hip.
Laying on your back, pull one knee in towards the chest. Use your hand to wrap around or hug the knees to draw them closer towards the chest. Allow the shoulders to remain relaxed onto the floor and the head neutral.
Start laying on your back, bring your legs up onto the wall and scoot your tailbone as close to the wall as is comfortable. Allow the arms to rest out to the side, palms up. This allows the shoulders to rest back. Option – Use this pose as your final Savasana. Relax into this posture. Allow the weight of the body to be fully supported by the ground and wall. Release control of the mind, the breath, and the body. Enjoy this pose for as long as feels good (suggest more than 10 minutes).
Don’t skip this one! This may not seem like it, but it is the most difficult yoga pose that you can accomplish.
Laying flat on your back, bring the arms to your side with the palms up, allowing the shoulders to roll back. Allow the toes to fall out to the side and tuck the chin in slightly to make sure the back of the neck is straight. Relax the body as much as you can and rest here for 3-5 minutes.
Ready to relax and restore with these yoga moves? Keep this routine nearby you by printing out this one page PDF.
Questions about the routine or how to allow more relaxation into your life? Comment below and let’s keep the conversation going!