Winter is the perfect time to get cosy and practice Yin Yoga. Andrea shares her favourite Yin Yoga Sequence!
What does winter time mean to you? Slowing down with cosy nights in by a fire, long walks wrapped up with hats and scarves, warm nourishing veggie soups and stews? Practicing the perfect yin yoga sequence for winter? Sounds perfect doesn’t it? Winter can be all of these things alongside feeling depleted in energy, low mood, less enthusiasm for life, and we might be reflecting on a long year of hopes and dreams. For many people the end of the year, the winter season can be an accumulation of both. In winter we may notice we have run out of steam, life catches up with us and our yoga practice, like the daylight hours, become shorter.
Time to Hibernate
If we look at Mother Nature she gives us signals of what to do. Animals begin to hibernate, nature goes partly to sleep to recuperate. It is time to rest so that when spring begins the first shoots of renewal are ready. When we most need our yoga practice for boosting our energy levels and mood we often feel less inclined to practice. So, the question is, how can yin yoga help at this time of the year?
How Can Yin Yoga Help Through Winter?
Winter in Chinese medicine is the Kidney season associated with the kidney organs and bladder. It is connected to:
- Relieving fatigue
- Dealing with stress
- Fear and anxiety
When our kidney Qi is low, our inner vitality can be depleted and this means it is important to get more rest and sleep in order to recover your natural state of wellbeing. Think of your kidneys like the battery of a car, if you don’t charge them they lose their potency. Think ‘do less and cultivate more’ and you’ll come out of winter more refreshed and recharged ready for a new year and next chapter of life.
Simple Ways to Pick Up Your Kidney Energy
- Keep warm especially around the lower back area, the kidneys like heat (so no crop tops)!
- Focus on your feet, walk, get your feet on the earth it will help to ground you (Try this Mindful Yoga Walking class with Lizzie Reumont)
- Do gentle exercise to move your energy (think tapping and body rolling)
- Meditate to let go of negative thoughts and fears of the future
- Cook foods that support kidney health
- Keep a Gratitude journal every day to support positive mood states
- Drink water and herbal teas – the kidneys need to be flushed out to remove toxins
- Practice the yin yoga sequence for winter below two to three times a week
Three ways to tune in and shake up your energy before a Yin Yoga sequence:
Try ‘Awake and Alert Tapping & Breathing Class‘ – There’s no need for a yoga mat as this short class includes simple energising techniques of tapping, breath work and twists. This practice can be done standing or seated and is a great way to prepare for Yin yoga.
Try Awaken Energy 1: Blocks, Rollers & Massage. This class moves energy (or chi, in Chinese medicine) along the meridian lines. This movement wakes up the energy flow an can be really beneficial before resting into yin yoga poses.
Try Awaken Energy 2: Balls, Blocks & Massage – This is another class that stimulates energy and it is ideal if you’re feeling tired and want to gently lift your energy with minimal movement. Andrea recommends this as a prelude to a yin yoga class.
The Perfect Yin Yoga Sequence for Winter:
- Psoas release (2-3 mins each side)
- Sphnix with bolster option Seal (3-5 mins)
- Twisted roots (2 mins each side)
- Reclining caterpillar (3-5 mins)
- Happy baby (3-5 mins)
- Legs up the wall (5-8 mins)
If you want more in depth instruction of these poses then have a look at the Nourishing Yin Kidney Class below. Andrea will guide these yin yoga poses throughout this class.
More Yin Practices with Andrea:
Start your day the Yin Way: This is a short Kidney meridian focused yin yoga class with just three Yin yoga poses and is a great bookend to a more yang class, or a prelude to morning meditation, and is great way to start the day when you’re short on time.
Your Yin 5 a Day class: These very simple five yin yoga poses, each held for 3 minutes will transform your body and your life. If you have a very active life and yoga practice, are an athlete or sit at a desk or in a car for long periods of time, this class, as a daily practice, will quietly and gently open your body.
Andrea has been practicing and teaching yin yoga for over 15 years. Her interest in yoga on and off the mat influence her teaching alongside a deep trust of the wisdom mindfulness teachings of the Buddha, Daoism and Eastern philosophy put into practice.