A New Moon Yin Yoga Practice for the New Year

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The first new moon of the year takes place on Sunday, January 2nd. According to astrology, this is a good time to focus on what you would like to create in life, which coincides very well with setting your intentions for 2022.

While it may be easy to get caught up in the “New Year, new you” culture, the reality is that you are the same. Nothing has changed in you just because the Gregorian calendar said it was a new year. In fact, I think nothing needs to change in you. What could be a new effort, however, is to see your true self more clearly and embrace you in such a radically compassionate way that you feel new.

The new moon is the first of the eight phases of the moon. It cannot be seen from Earth. In this darkness, we are forced to turn inward, reflect, and listen to what we truly desire for ourselves. From that place of deep listening, to the practice of pratyahara (often translated as “conscious withdrawal of the energy of the senses”), we are able to guess what we are being asked to bring to the forefront of our lives. These intentions of the heart are not resolutions around superficial behaviors. Rather, they are guides to our vision and dharma (or “vital purpose”).

See also: 10 tips from the newspaper to create the life you want in 2022

A Yin Yoga practice to listen to deeply during the new moon

Hold each of these Yin positions for 3 to 5 minutes. During this time, consider the questions, mantras, and affirmations included with each pose. They aim to inspire deep listening and reflection. If you want, keep a journal of your thoughts after class.

See also: More Yin Yoga sequences

(Photo: Tamika Caston-Miller)

Posture of the child with a wide knee

How: Spread your knees and touch your toes. Lean forward from your hips and let your heart settle on the carpet. Let your arms rest next to your ears and let your hands relax. Notice the connection between the hands, the heart, the shins, and the carpet. Inhale deeply and then exhale and soften. It invites you to land on Earth. Stay here for up to 5 minutes.

Reflection: What is the deepest desire in my heart?

Release: Walk your hands back towards your body and sit on your heels for a few breaths.

(Photo: Tamika Caston-Miller)

Mantis religiosa

How: Come on all fours. Place 2 blocks at medium height just in front of your fingertips. Keep your ass above your knees as you bring your elbows to the blocks and surrender to gravity. Relax your neck. Your hands can join behind your back in prayer hands. When your chest floats just above the carpet, feel the opening along both armpits. Stay here for up to 3 minutes.

Affirmation: Inhale: I’m open to [fill in the blank]; Exhale: rebo [fill in the blank].

Release: Put yourself in a child’s closed knees posture (similar to your previous posture but with your knees together).

(Photo: Tamika Caston-Miller)

Dragon and Twisted Dragon

How: On all fours, he advances his left foot along the inside of his left hand. Blocks under your hands can be helpful in creating more space between your thighs and chest. Move your hips forward and feel a stretch along the inside of your right thigh (hip flexor). Stay here for 2 minutes.

(Photo: Tamika Caston-Miller)

Bring your right hand or forearm to the rug or a block. Place your left hand inside your left thigh. Turn to look at your left thigh and place your left shoulder over your right shoulder. Stay here for 2 minutes.

Think: Even when it’s compressed in some places, I’m opening up elsewhere.

Release: He gets back on all fours, puts his toes in and lifts his hips up and puts the dog’s posture down again. Repeat on the other side.

(Photo: Tamika Caston-Miller)

Wall butterfly

How: Come and lie on your back and climb your legs against the wall. Join the soles of your feet with your knees bent and leaning to the sides. If you experience back pain, you may find relief by putting a folded blanket or support under your ass. Stay here for 5 minutes.

Reflection: Receive completely without using your thinking mind.

Release: Put your hands under your thighs and close them like a book. Send your legs straight up the wall to take a few breaths. If you use a stand, remove it from under you.

(Photo: Tamika Caston-Miller)

Dragonfly on the wall

How: From lying on his back with his legs straight, he spreads his legs apart. Feel the connection between your back body and the carpet as you release all the muscular effort. If you experience hypermobility in your hips, you can place blocks or reinforcements under your thighs, calves, or foot to provide more stability. Stay here for 5 minutes.

Reflection: Invite peace of mind to your body by prolonging the exhalation.

Release: Bring your hands below your thighs, bend your knees slightly and join your legs. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet against the wall. Rest a few breaths here.

(Photo: Tamika Caston-Miller)

Waterfall supported

How: Push your feet against the wall to lift your ass and, if desired, place a stand on it. Float your legs against the wall and spread them apart at your hips. Let your legs rest against the wall. Feel a release from your head to your sacred. If your legs tend to slip and you notice muscle strain to hold them in place, place a strap (or belt) around your shins near your knees. Stay here for 5 to 15 minutes.

Affirmation: Inhale: I’m open to [fill in the blank]; Exhale: rebo [fill in the blank].

Release: Bend your knees slowly and make your way to one side. Stay here as long as you want before you sit down again.

See also: January 2022 Astrological Forecast: Rethink Your Limiting Perceptions

About our collaborator

Tamika Caston-Miller is an E-RYT 500 with a special interest in yoga for renewal, transformation, and social justice. Her yoga journey began in 2001 with a home practice. She is now certified by YogaOne Studios, Yogaworks, Kripalu School of Yoga, Judith Hansen Lasater and Paul Grilley. Tamika’s teaching and practice have been informed by chronic pain and injury, the very human battle between shame and compassion, the pursuit of ancestral healing, and the love for the practice and philosophy of yoga.

See also: More Yin Practices by Tamika Caston-Miller

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