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Drishti Journal:

Tales From The Mat & Beyond

Written by Carri Uranga

April 27, 2014

A Quick Yin Sequence sounds like an oxymoron, but after running 5 miles, then walking 5 more (because it was so nice out) my hips were screaming at me! Having already put in 2 hours of exercise and having a ton of stuff to do, I knew even just 20 minutes of Yin Yoga would help cure my achy hips and low back. Check out this Quick Yin Sequence when you think you don’t have time. Besides, we make time for what’s most important to us…right? You may want to have a block, blanket and/or towel handy. You will also need some sort of timing device.

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Sphinx 3 minutes

Lie in a prone position (on your stomach). Bring your elbows under your shoulders so your forearms are on the mat. Note – this is not Cobra pose. Your hands are not placed next to your chest. They are out in front of you. Bring your legs straight out behind you either legs together or legs hip distance apart (easier on lower back). If Sphinx pose is painful for your lower back you can stack your hands (palms down) and rest your forehead on the back of your hands. This is still a backbend.

Seal 1 minute

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Slide your hands forward and out towards the corners of your mat. Straighten your arms, lifting your chest off the mat.
If this bothers your lower back come back down into your sphinx.

Child’s Pose – 1 minute

Come into Downward Facing Dog just as a transition. Feel free to pedal out feet or open hips as needed.

Lizard Lunge – 3 minutes

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Bring your right foot forward. Bring both hands on the left side of your right foot. Make sure your foot is wiggled forward enough so your knee is stacked right on top of your ankle.
Stay on your palms 1 minute.
Lower down on to your forearms for 2 minutes (you may use a block under your forearms).
Come back into Downward Facing Dog, taking whatever movement works for you.

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Lizard Lunge – 3 minutes
Bring your left foot forward, with both hands on the right side of your left foot. Again, check out your knee/ankle alignment.
Stay on palms 1 minute.
Lower to forearms 2 minutes.
Step back into Downward Facing Dog, lower onto knees and have a seat.

Firelog Pose – 3 minutes

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Bring your left shin parallel to the top of your mat.
Stack your right shin on top of your left.
I like to flex my feet to stay active and engaged.
Note, the legs are not diagonal as in an easy seated pose, but stacked one shin on top of the other.
If you are tight in the hips the top knee may be way up high. No worries, just place your block or a blanket roll under your knee for support.

If Firelog bothers your knees you can lie on your back and take your left ankle on top of your right knee. Reach back behind your right hamstring and interlace your fingers. If you are taking this version make sure to relax your shoulders down towards the mat and bring your tailbone down as well so your butt is not sticking up into the sky. You may want a towel wrapped behind your hamstring to hold on to if it’s too much to clasp the hands.

Conversely, if this pose is too comfortable for you, try forward folding and see if you can get more sensation. You may want a block under your forehead.

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Either way, stay here for 3 minutes and breathe deep. Do not be surprised or alarmed if you start to feel restless, anxiety or even anger. Just focus on your breath. I know, I know…easier said than done, but let it go!
After the 3 minutes, lean back on to your forearms and plant your feet as wide as the mat. Rock your knees from side to side a few times. You may have heard this called “windshield wiper your legs.”

Firelog Pose – 3 minutes

Other side
After the 3 minutes then rocking your knees from side to side, lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest.

Happy Baby – 1 minute


Always make time for Savasana!
Take at least a 2 minute Savasana and celebrate the fact that you took time to incorporate this Quick Yin Sequence into your life! You will recover faster, perform stronger and overall be a happier person.

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Notice the difference between discomfort and pain (the “P” word as I like to call it). If you feel a sharp, shooting sensation during any form of Yoga – come out of the posture. You never want to feel pain during yoga practice. If what you are feeling is discomfort, breathe through it. It may be difficult, but use the power of your breath to relax your mind and in turn relax your body. Before you know it, the next minute is almost up…almost!

I was warm having just come in from my long run/walk. If you are doing Yin alone as an individual practice you may want to warm up with a few Sun Salutations first or not hold the deeper postures for as long, starting with 1 minute and working up to 3-5. Always monitor yourself and honor your body, taking care of your own individual needs.

Special thanks to our model Jessy Thomas – a recent graduate of our Costa Rica Yoga Teacher Training and a profound lover of Yin Yoga!

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