Yin and Longer Holds

I’ve recently incorporated yin style yoga into my asana practice. Yin means less movement and poses than a “Yang” practice (such as Vinyasa or Power Yoga), and each pose is held longer, moving deeper over the course of many breaths or many minutes, allowing the poses to target connective tissue. My fellow teacher and friend Colleen Kropp says that you’ll sit with the stress, stretching, holding the pose in a place of discomfort, so that you are able to release the stress and discomfort. These longer holds have made me intensely  more aware of the places of tension in my own body, and allowed me to give more thought to their cause and how to treat them with more care.

For more on what Yin yoga is all about, Yoga Journal and Mind Body Green have some great intro articles.

Most of my classes are in a Power Yoga style, but lately I’ve played with guiding longer holds towards the end of practice, inspired by my own Yin practice. Power Yoga can also be a bit depleting. All those one-movement-to-one-breath sequences are tiring and often students don’t want to admit they need a break until they start to feel dizzy, and it’s up to the teacher to pick up on that and slow things down as needed, not just for energy restoration, but to help students wanting to increase flexibility over time.


  • Start seated
  • Take 3 cleansing breaths
  • Walk hand to front of mat
  • FF with ragdoll arms
  • Release, roll to stand
  • Walk to top of mat
  • Tadasana-OM

Sun Salutes, Warrior and Balancing

  • Sun As x 4
  • Chair [v]
  • W1 [v] [s]
  • Chair [v]
  • W1 [v] [s]
  • Squat (looooonnngg hold)
  • FF
  • Chair Twist –> Side Crow [s] [v]
  • Triangle with half bind on upper arm, Half Moon, Standing Split, High Lunge, Drop back knee and let the lunge be a long hold for a quad stretch, Half Hanuman (long hold), Half Pigeon (long hold), Seated Twist, Double Pigeon (long hold), DD [s]

Hips, Back and Closing

  • Come to a seat; Baddha Konasana, Fold Forward
  • Camel x 3
  • Traditional Balasana
  • Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand)
  • Balasana
  • Move to back
  • Supine Spinal Twist
  • Savasana



  • [v]=vinyasa of choice
  • [s]=repeat sequence on other side
  • DD= Downward Facing Dog
  • DDS= Downward Facing Dog Split/ 3-Leg Dog
  • FF= Forward Fold
  • K2N= Knee to Nose/ Core Plank
  • LL= Low Lunge
  • SP= Side Plank
  • W1= Warrior I
  • W2= Warrior II
  • W3= Warrior III

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