Yin/Yang Yoga Sequence for Hips and Backbends

UPDATE: You might want to check out the SI Joint videos and more posts about this tricky area.

It's been a while since I've posted a sequence!  I've been using variations of this sequence as conditioning to prepare for performing floorwork for bellydance.  It's also a great sequence to help prepare for big yoga poses like Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or Urdvha Danurasana,

It might seem odd to start with the Yin, because standard fitness advice warns against "stretching cold." However, it is a good way to check in with what your natural range of motion is like at the beginning of a practice, and it is perfectly safe and healthy to gently stress your joints without any "warm-up."  That being said, it is only safe and healthy provided that you do not strain yourself.  Be sure to use props and support as needed so that you can relax as much as possible as you're approaching these deep stretches.  It's normal to feel a little stiff and vulnerable coming out of yin poses, so please take your time and move slowly as you proceed to the Yang portion.  The Yang portion will help tone your quads and core, create flexibility in the spine, and warm up your whole body for whatever movement you want to follow it with!

Yin

  • Butterfly.  5 minutes
  • Dragon. 2-3 minutes low (elbows on floor or block), 2-3 minutes high (hands on blocks or on thigh).

Transistion

  • Downward-facing Dog. Pedal feet slowly a few times.
  • Chakravakasana. Inhale to hands and knees, exhale child's pose, inhale hands and knees, exhale down dog.  Repeat five or more times.

Yang

  • Core Plank.  From Down dog, inhale right leg high, exhale knee to chest.  On exhale, bring shoulders over wrists and lift hips high to engage core.  Repeat five or more times.
  • Fists of Fire  Step right foot all the way forward into a lunge. Exhale and round up to a high lunge.  Inhale arms reach high, exhale back knee bends, curl fists in to sides and look into belly, getting round as possible to engage core.  Repeat five or more times.
  • Take a vinyasa and repeat Core Plank and Fists of Fire to the other side.
  • Mega Plank. Lower to belly and slide elbows forward.  Keeping knees down, lift hips, lift waist, waking up the psoas and deep core muscles.  Hold 5-10 breaths.
  • Salambasana (Locust) with bind. With elbows bent, clasp hands behind back.  Scoop tailbone into floor.  Squeeze elbows together, and with an inhale, lift chest and lengthen hands towards heels.  Keep your gaze towards the front of your mat.  Hold 5-10 breaths.  Repeat or go for Danurasana on the next round.
  • Slowly press back to child's pose and breathe for a few moments.

    Proceed with your practice, and close with 5-10 minutes of Yin-style forward folds and savasana.