Best Yin Yoga Poses for the Whole Family

Family Yin Yoga
Stock photo courtesy of Valeria Ushakova.

There are many forms of yoga that help with different forms of stress relief. While some forms of yoga focus on flow, Yin Yoga is all about control, focus, and holding positions for a long period. Yin Yoga can help joints and internal well-being by stretching muscles and joints that are often ignored. It can be a very meditative practice as well. 

Alicia Birkenkamp is a Cyber Risk Senior Associate who has lived in Ann Arbor for seven years. Birkenkamp practices Yin Yoga and appreciates the health benefits Yin provides.

“I discovered Yin at a yoga studio that offered a variety of styles,” disclosed Pearson. “I was drawn to its ability to relax my muscles and increase my day-to-day mobility, which is something more cardio-focused and movement-centric yoga could not provide.”

She also has selected one pose that is preferential.

“My favorite Yin pose is probably pigeon pose,” shared Birkenkamp. “My favorite studio will hold a single side of pigeon pose for 7-10 minutes. It’s intense to be in and maintain, but the hip flexibility it provides afterward is well worth the discomfort.”

Holding a position for a long period of time can be a challenge.

“Some studios try to make it a relaxing class, while others are about solving deep-tissue tension,” Birkenkamp explained. “Yin is for everyone, but finding an individual’s Yin preference can take time and research….When taking Yin, please be mindful of the difference between discomfort and bad pain.”

We talked to many yoga instructors and practitioners to compile 5 Yin yoga poses that can be done by anyone at any age, with plenty of modifications as well. 

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is not only known as a beginners pose, but it is also a pose to go into to rest in between more difficult poses. To do the Child’s pose, you can kneel on the floor with your feet together and have your hands resting flat on the floor. As you exhale, bend over and lower your torso and head straight down between kneeling legs. Arms should be extended all the way forward on the mat. If it is difficult to get your buttocks to touch the feet, you can place a rolled blanket underneath for added support. The forehead should be placed on the mat. 

Butterfly Pose

This pose opens your inner thighs, back, and hip. Start in a seated position, but place the soles of your feet upon one another. Sit in an erect position will a tall posture. Grab hold of each foot with your hand and extend your knees down to the floor. This pose is also known to relieve lower back pain and stretch hip muscles. You can then bend your upper body down toward your feet. You may use a block if your head cannot reach all the way to your feet. Or, you can stay sitting upright in a good posture and focus on having your knees go further down to the floor, opening up like a butterfly.

Cat/Cow Pose

Cat/Cow is considered a gentle flow pose. Start on your hands and your knees with your flat hands in line with your shoulders. Your knees should be directly lined up with your hip. Begin with Cow pose. Inhale a deep breath and drop your belly in toward the mat. At the same time, lift up your chin and gaze up to the sky. Then move into Cat pose. Begin to exhale and then curve your spine up and round your back up to the sky. The reason this pose is called Cat is that you are stretching your back much like a cat does. As you stretch your spine arching upwards, lower your head down, but not as far back as your chest.

Pigeon Pose

You can start this pose from either downward dog or on all four. You slide your right knee forward toward your right hand, and have the knee bent as an angle. Then have the left leg go straight back. The right angle could be angled at a right degree, but do what feels most comfortable. Your hips should be square to the floor. You can then stand upright or bend over and place your head on your knees. You can also get a yoga block and rest your head on that. 

Happy Baby Pose

First, lie on your back and then bend your knees into your belly. Take a deep breath in and hold on to the outside of your feet with your hands. Open your knees over your torso while still holding on to your feet. Rock back and forth gently moving your feet with your hands.