Last updated on September 23rd, 2023.
There’s a slow, calm style of yoga you may have noticed at your local yoga studio or online.
And it’s a much different type of yoga than your usual Hatha, Vinyasa or Ashtanga class. First of all, most of the poses are done on the floor. There’s no standing flow.
Also, the studio may have much lower light than in a typical yoga class. And, if you’re there in person, you’ll notice that the practice space is colder, and students aren’t typically sweating.
This quiet, mysterious yoga style is called Yin. Yin is a yoga style primarily focuses on teaching mindfulness, imparting calm on yoga students, and allow students to slowly and deliberately stretch their muscles and gain more flexibility in their joints.
The purpose of Yin Yoga and why a great Yin Yoga Sequence is so important.
There are so many different types of Yoga styles out there that it can be confusing as to which one is right for you to teach.
But, if you’re looking to teach a slow, serene yoga, one that will focus on deep stretches and mindfulness, then Yin Yoga may be right for you.
During a Yin Yoga sequence, compared to a Vinyasa class, you sit in a pose for up to five minutes. And, while you’re deep in a pose, you’re breathing oxygen into your stretching muscles, allowing your mind to become still, and stimulating and nourishing your organs.
Yin Yoga is about yielding, not about being a perfect athlete. And, by letting go, allowing your muscles to lengthen and your mind to empty, you’ll find that you sleep better, and you have less anxiety and depression.
In this article, we’ll be discussing why creating a great Yin Yoga sequence is so important. You’ll want to be able to write a sequence that keeps your students safe, allowing them to achieve mindfulness and allowing their muscles to stretch and lengthen without risk of injury. Your students will also need to know they can ease off of a pose if they notice discomfort.
But, first, read on as we talk about three important things to consider when creating a great Yin Yoga sequence.
3 things to consider when creating a Yin Yoga Sequence
When you’re sitting down to write a great Yin Yoga sequence, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. Below, we list the three most important things you should know:
When you’re creating a Yin Yoga sequence, you’ll have to be aware of who will be in your class. Will the class mainly be filled with beginners? If so, make sure you have easy poses up your sleeve so that your students will get the most out of the class that they can, without experiencing any discomfort.
However, if you generally teach an advanced Yin Yoga class, then you don’t want to bore your class with poses that are too easy for them. Try to have a Yin Yoga sequence that will challenge your students and allow them to reach optimum stretches. Obviously, you don’t want your students to push themselves too far, so you’ll have to communicate with them throughout the class to make sure they are not in pain.
Your students should feel comfortable enough that they will listen to their own bodies and know that their abilities are their own.
When a student comes out of a deep stretch, their body may be filled with sensation. So, it’s a good idea to give them a minute or two before directing them to get into another pose. That’s why you need to write safe transitions into your Yin Yoga sequence.
It’s also safer to allow students to move at a slower pace to transition into a new pose so that they don’t injure themselves.
And, you can even let your students know that if they need to move at a slower pace than the rest of the class, that’s alright.
They need to keep checking in with their body to make sure they’re not feeling pain or discomfort. If they are, they can always transition into Child’s Pose.
Make sure your students know that props are available while you are teaching the class. You can even write directions about using props in your sequence.
The Yin Yoga sequence you’re writing will look different with different students. Each student is unique, and they should make use of props for their comfort. Their pose may look completely distinct from another student’s pose due to their ability and use of props. Make sure they know that this is perfectly OK.
Examples of a great Yin Yoga Sequence
Before we get into what makes a great yin yoga sequence, you want to make sure that your yoga space is comfortable.
Whether you are teaching online from your home space or you’re teaching from a studio, you’ll want to make sure that your yoga space is warm enough. You won’t be practicing with vigorous movements, so you’ll want to keep your body, especially your joints and muscles, warm and comfortable. These yoga pants for women might do the trick!
You’ll also want to have calming music playing(here is some YouTube meditation music to help relax and relieve stress). Low lights. And pillows, a blanket, a yoga strap and any other props that will help you in your practice.
Once you have practice place set up to help you have a calm, quiet and mellow Yin Yoga practice, it’s time to plan your Yin Yoga sequence.
Below, we’re going to give you three popular postures to create the best Yin Yoga sequence possible.
Butterfly Pose is a fantastic hip opener. It’s a nice pose to do at the beginning of a yoga sequence. And, since you can alter the pose to your abilities by using a pillow in your lap, it’s a pose open to most Yin Yoga practitioners.
It’s pretty easy to get into the pose. You sit on your mat, legs straight in front of you, your back straight, shoulders relaxed, neck lengthened and the top of your head reaching for the sky. You begin bending your knees, bringing the bottoms of your feet close together. Perhaps the bottoms of your feet can touch. You can use your arms to help more your feet close together.
Since you’ll be in this pose for quite a while, take your pillow, put it over your legs, and try to fold forward. You can lay your torso onto the pillow or prop your arms on the pillow. It all depends on how far you can fold forward.
Benefits of the Butterfly pose
The Butterfly pose will improve circulation for people who spend the day (or night) sitting at a desk. It will relieve menstrual pain and can help with some symptoms of menopause. And it will relax the inner thigh and groin tissues, increasing flexibility.
Seal pose should be familiar to anyone who practices yoga. When in a non-Yin Yoga setting, it’s commonly referred to as Upward Dog Pose. An easy way to get into Seal Pose is begin on hands and knees. Bend your elbows and lower down to the earth straightening the legs out. Place the tops of the feet on the floor and straighten the arms, lifting the torso, feeling the backbend. If this is too intense, you can keep your arms bent and your forearms rested on the ground.
Benefits of Seal Pose
Seal Pose opens the chest, stimulating the lumbar spine. It helps regenerate connective tissue in your sacral area. And it energizes your adrenal glands.
Twisted Dragon Pose
Although Twisted Dragon Pose is a bit more complicated than the first two poses, it’s a useful addition to any Yin Yoga sequence.
To reach Twisted Dragon Pose, start again at hands and knees. Supported yourself with your palms firm into the ground. Lift your left leg up and to the front, place your foot on the ground so that your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Straighten your right leg out to the back just like during Seal Pose. The top of your back foot should flat on the floor.
Then, begin to twist to the left, place your left hand on your left knee if possible. Breath into the stretch, nourishing your muscles with life-giving oxygen. After you’ve been here for a few breaths, come back to hands and knees and work the other side.
Benefits of Twisted Dragon Pose
This pose works toe hamstrings, hip flexors, obliques and adductors. It will also help your balance and endurance.
What is the difference between Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga?
Yin Yoga is much slower and calmer than Vinyasa Yoga. A Vinyasa Yoga sequence allows yogis to flow through their practice, moving from one pose to another in almost a dance. Vinyasa can be very athletic and may feature peppy music.
A Yin Yoga sequence, on the other hand, is slow and quiet. You stay in a pose for as long as five minutes. You’re not as much working out as you are gaining flexibility and length.
In Yin Yoga, you will frequently use props such as bolsters, straps and pillows, all designed to make you comfortable as you stretch and breath through the pose. You’ll see more infrequent use of props in a Vinyasa class. The most used prop there will be a foam block.
Also, in Yin, you’ll do deeper stretches than in Vinyasa. In fact, during a Yin Yoga sequence. you may feel your muscles release and get longer and your joints become looser.
Both Vinyasa and Yin can help with mindfulness. You can become aware of your body equally when working through a flowing sequence as you can when breathing through a 5-minute-long forward fold in Yin.
Yin, however, can sometimes be more meditative. You’re focusing on breathing in an out, bringing oxygen to your muscles and tendons and joints. You may become so still that you feel your breath heating up various areas of your body. Yin will bring more stillness to your mind. By wiping away all thoughts and focusing on the feeling of your body stretching, you may decrease worry and stress, thus eliminating, or at least lessening anxiety.
Vinyasa, on the other hand, is not always as meditative. You have to be present much more as you’ll be moving through sequences carefully. You’ll need to concentrate on what you are doing so that you don’t trip yourself up.
Writing a great Yin Yoga sequence will bring positivity to your students. They’ll feel better physically and calmer emotionally. That’s why we’ve explained the purpose of Yin Yoga, told you why a great Yin Yoga sequence is so important and given you three tips to consider when creating a Yin Yoga Sequence.
And, helpfully, we also gave you examples of poses that make a fantastic Yin Yoga sequence. As you set up different sequences you’ll find the one that works best for you and likely a variety that also works best for different students.
If you’re interested in studying more on these sequences specifically we recommend connecting with a school, online schools are very convenient, and adding to your practice with their teaching. (See our article on the best Yin Yoga Teacher Training Online for some course recommendations.). And then, since you may be curious about the differences between Yin and Vinyasa styles of yoga, so we showed you some comparisons between the two.
Going forward, these tips will help you successfully create a great Yin Yoga sequence, helping your students improve their health and their lives.