Yoga Challenge Day 1!

The idea of doing something like a 30-day Yoga challenge and posting the workouts has been buzzing around in my head for a while now, so here goes nothing.

For over a month now, I’ve been doing Yin Yoga daily, and it makes me feel so good that I’m not willing to give it up. However, it would be pretty difficult to add more time for fitness to those 60- to 90-minute practices. Therefore, I’m cutting back my morning Yin Yoga to half an hour or so, and adding another 30′-60′ of more muscular (Yang) exercise in the afternoon.

Given the fact that Yin Yoga sessions can be luxuriously long, the only way I can limit them to a mere half-hour is by using focal points, and concentrate on one body part (hips, legs, spine) at a time. For instance, my hips felt a bit tight this morning, so I decided to focus on them. Here’s my 30-minute Yin Hips routine:

  • Square pose, i.e. Sukhasana with a forward bend – you could do Shoelace instead (the girth of my thighs makes it an impossible pose for me, though)
  • Sleeping Swan, rising to Swan for the last minute or so (probably my favorite Yin pose)
  • Bananasana
  • Twisted Roots, i.e. reclined twists with Garudasana legs (even with barely crossed knees, this variation adds a nice hip stretch)
  • Corpse pose

I stay in each pose/side only for 3 minutes to keep this practice short, but also spend some time in counterposes – Windshield Wipers after Square and Crocodile (plank on elbows) after Swan.

The entire sequence basically revolves around the Swan pose, using Square pose as a warm up and Banana to stretch the hips from a different angle. Twists and Corpse are my standard closing poses.

If you’re interested in Yin Yoga and would like to see the poses explained and demonstrated, be sure to check out Bernie Clark’s YouTube channel.

For my afternoon practice, I needed something more active without going overboard, so I opted for a short plain ol’ Hatha routine, playing around with Happy Baby, Sphinx, Cat, Down Dog, Tree, and Mountain among other poses. Oddly enough, even though I was revisiting these most basic of poses, I got to experience them in an entirely new way. For instance, Happy Baby and Sphinx feel completely different when performed the Yin way compared to the traditional, Yang way. As weird as it may sound, in such a short time, my body had forgotten how the poses felt like when performed in a Yang manner. As a result, the poses I did today felt new. I wonder what else I might discover on the way…

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