Yin Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 10

Soften the Resistance

50 min - Practice


The practices of Yoga are designed to soften our resistance to falling in love. In this Yin sequence, Kira encourages us to get good at feeling good with holds in postures such as Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) and Mandukasana (Frog Pose) for up to 5 minutes in length. You will feel the subtle transformation.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Apr 03, 2016
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(waves roaring) Hi, sweet to see you again. In this sequence we'll continue to weave in a few new shapes for the fun of it. We'll offer ourselves in holds for a little bit longer, and as always, as in the other episodes, as you feel like doing a slightly different shape or if you feel like holding for a slightly different length of time, please, I can't encourage you enough. And while sometimes you might be holding for less amount of time, for some of you, you might wanna hold for longer. All you have to do is pause and then hit play when you're ready.

Okey-dokey, we'll start out in a wide leg forward fold. So let your legs go as wide as feels good. Okay, wiggle around a little bit. If it's too much under the knees, a lot of people find it quite comfortable to roll a blanket underneath their knees or have one underneath the hips, and we're gonna offer ourselves to this forward fold for about three minutes or so, and the play here is to allow your back to round, so that as you lay, your hands come forward, and you let your sit bones draw under. You're letting your back round.

I like to wobble a little from side to side 'cause that feels good. Some of you, this might be perfect. Some of you might let your elbows bend. But again, those of you for whom internal rotation is really quite accessible, so the temptation is to kinda go flat and forward, of course, you're welcome to do as you want to, but the encouragement is to actually let your sit bones round back a little bit so that you can round your back, letting your head dangle, wobble. 'Kay, nice.

I like to keep my feet a little bit flexed. That makes it a little less classically in, but it helps me roll my hips back slightly. You can let your feet relax, or even, if you prefer, play with pointing them slowly. (breathing deeply) Throat easy, eyes kind. I like to have my palms turned up, 'cause it just feels more receptive.

Again, even though I've suggested you're letting your back round, if you wanna go after a little bit more of the inner thigh and it would feel better for you to roll your pelvis forward and allow yourself to flatten out a little bit, then you do that, okay. My suggestions, that's all they are. They're just suggestions. Mm-hmm. Super nice.

Soften the pelvic floor if that makes sense. Let the sit bones widen. If you've had your feet flexed, consider relaxing them just for the experiment of it. If you've had them relaxed, maybe just give them a little flex for a moment. Yeah.

Nice. Just about a half more minute. Again, maybe you're in the perfect spot, maybe you need to lower a little bit. Again, I'm suggesting that the back might stay slightly round, but you might feel more inclined to let it flatten. You know best.

You're in there. Okey-dokey. Let your hands help you as your chin comes into your chest and you roll it on back up, belly, heart, throat, and face. Super nice. Now we're gonna make our way into what most of you might know as cow face, what often gets called shoelace.

Now, there are a couple different ways to get into that. One way is to just simply lean back and cross the legs and kinda roll forward. Most bodies find that a little bit awkward though, so a nice way is to come forward after you've done that and kinda shnuggle the knees together. Now how wide the feet are away from your hips just depends on you, and you can play with that a little bit. Okay, now we're gonna offer ourselves to this for about five minutes.

So shnuggle on down through the sit bones. Big deliberate inhale, and exhale, let a (exhales deeply) happen. Soft, do that again. Inhale, exhale, and let a (exhales deeply) happen. Now there are a whole bunch of different ways that you can work this one.

I often like to catch ahold of my big toes with the second and third finger for some of the time, and there's something about that that really feels nice and grounding. Shoulders roll back and down and upper palette opens, 'kay. You might be more inclined right away to simply walk your hands forward and kind of deepen the offering into the hips. Something that I like though that usually we end up calling cow tipping though. We're gonna add eagle wrap arms and we're gonna tip over a little bit, so you're gonna inhale your arms up, and as you exhale, you're gonna wrap that right arm underneath the left.

Palms are gonna press together. Inhale here, and as you exhale, you're gonna lift up a little bit through that left side, and then you're gonna tip out and over to the right, and as you lift up a little bit and tip out and over to the right, you're gonna get the sweetest opportunity through the outside of that left hip. It's like (vocalizes). Lift up a little bit and exhale and tip. Let the legs get heavy.

It takes some skill to kinda find the cantilever of being able to reach up, out, and over and tip, yes. Beautiful. Now kinda maintain that tip. Let that right elbow come down towards the floor and just kinda let this left arm be easy, so you're soft in the shoulder. The elbow is soft so that you can feel this opportunity through that left side of the leg, up through the left side of the body.

(exhales) Yeah. Sometimes I like to let it roll a little bit forward just to kinda get in the back body. And then sometimes I like to let it roll a little bit back. And then since it's yin yoga show, (chuckles) the play is can you like really settle there. Let the right ear dangle.

Beautiful. And this might be just the spot. You might be super into this. If you feel like your head needs a little support, you can bend the right elbow and kinda just like support your head, and then you can go kinda like movie star style, both hands behind your head, elbows bent. If it's not so comfortable, you might have rounded your back in a major way back into the forward fold.

I'll probably finish out like that. In fact, I think I'll make my way there now, and the way I'm gonna do that is just kinda round over a little bit. My hands are gonna find the earth, and then I'm just gonna walk myself towards the center over my legs. I'm gonna fold down over the legs, letting my chin drop, and we have about another minute here. As I've mentioned in other episodes, I prefer my palms turned up.

Mm. Sit bones heavy, relax the pelvic floor if that makes sense. Yeah. Beautiful. Gorgeous.

Okay, only as you feel ready, chin into the chest, let yourself roll all the way back up. Feel the belly, feel the heart and the throat and the face. Pause. 'Kay, lean back. Free the legs, let them go wide again for a moment just to kinda like, like we've been doing through our other episodes, like check in and like feel the results.

Feel and become more intimate with the parts of you that aren't so obvious. We call them subtle energies, but with the tension, they become less and less subtle. 'Kay, nice. Okay, now we have the other side. So you're gonna lean back, cross that left leg over the right, and again some of you might have found that perfect spot like that, but most of us, we get a better hit if we lean forward and kinda nuzzle the back right knee into the top left knee and then sit it back down.

And adjust your feet how it feels good for you. Okay, I'm choosing to have them turned out. Okay, now we're gonna be offering ourselves to this shape for about five minutes, so as I mentioned before, I like to start out with my second and third fingers around the big toes. I like this shape a lot. You may or may not feel the same way.

It's not an easy shape for me, but there's just really something about the particular wrap in the hips that energetically is quite nourishing up through my central channel. Soften the back of the heart, vibrant in the front of the heart, open up the upper palette. Soften the pelvic floor, let the sit bones widen. It might feel good to inhale deeply and exhale, let a (exhales deeply) happen. Nice.

Okay, and again, some of you might choose to stay right here. This might be demanding enough. For most of us, it is, 'kay. I mean, even if your legs can come close to doing something like this, awesome work. It's not so easy.

Modern life does not support the bending and the stretching in the joints. So you might stay like this, or you might let yourself fold forward. If the cow tipping is fun, inhale, arms up, and exhale, left arm underneath the right. Palms might press together. If this doesn't work, maybe it's hands on the shoulders or maybe you just have another version, 'kay.

Inhale, lift up a little bit. Really pay particular attention to lengthening on the right side. Inhale, lift up, and then exhale. Kind of lift up, out, and over and start to go over towards the left. You're gonna feel this awesome amazing opportunity through that right IT band.

Lift up, out, and over. Knees get heavy, soft in sit bones. (vocalizes) (laughs) I hope this feels as opportunistic for you as it does for me right now. Lift up through the heart a little bit. Okay, and you might keep your hands lifted like this, or you might choose to sort of let that left hand come down to the floor, maybe towards the forearm, maybe not.

It just kinda depends, and this right arm, just let her be soft, like let the right elbow be soft, let that left elbow be soft. It is a yin yoga practice, so when you start to involve the arms, okay, the temptation can be to start to grasp and reach at things, and the play is to let it be like easy. (vocalizes) And once you're there you might let it round a little bit or open a little bit. You can kinda like use the leverage of your elbow. It might feel good to let your head hang, or like we looked at it on the other side, it might feel good to prop your head.

(breathing deeply) Soft in the jaw, kind in the eyes. If you're beyond what the nervous system seems to be able to tolerate, you'll know, because you'll start to feel slightly agitated, irritated, frustrated, you'll be waiting for it to be over. And so I'm gonna make a decision to sort of start to round my back and start to come forward over the knees for the last little bit more than a minute. You might choose not to or to follow along. Let a bit of a (exhales) happen.

Fluffy in the lips and kind in the eyes. Shnuggle in. And again, you might stay on your palms or you might come down to the forearms. I just continually find that turning the palms up helps a lot. Upper palette soft.

Nice. Last handful of moments. Soften the floor of the pelvis, let the knees feel heavy. Nice. Turn into the chest slow, let yourself roll all the way back up.

Feel the belly, heart, and throat, and face. Beautiful, lean back, free your legs wide. And pause. Eyes closed, belly soft, soak. Beautiful.

Now let this left knee bend. Bring the left hand underneath the knee and draw the sole of the foot into the inner right thigh. So this might be option one. We're gonna offer ourselves to another side stretch, okay, to sort of tune the back of this leg a little bit and the side waist. So for most of you, this is more comfortable in the knee joint.

For some of you though, it might feel interesting, draw that left knee and draw that left foot behind you. Now how open this angle is from this knee to this foot, so the level of obtuseness, just depends on you, and this back foot, you might not be able to see it in this camera, but this back foot, the top of the foot might be to the floor, or the ankle might be bent and the toes might be pointing out to the side. Just choose. Okay, inhale here and exhale. We're gonna offer ourselves to this for about two minutes.

Let this right elbow come down to the floor, and very similar to how we did before, just kinda gently circle this left arm up. Let the left elbow bend a little bit, shoulders soft, back, and down, and this time, just like let yourself offer a little bit of extension, lengthen through that left thigh a little bit, or some of you are reaching through that left knee slightly. And then let the elbow bend, and you'll find that probably you'll wanna deepen the situation, letting that right elbow sneak out a little bit, and then maybe just a little bit of extension, and then soft, and then this is another one of those places where you might bend this right elbow, rest the head in the hands, and this arm might rest on the top or just continue to reach over. Breathing. (breathing deeply) Nice.

You might notice yourself inclined to roll up through the chest a little bit or roll down through that upper back a little bit. Just kinda follow your instinct, and yeah, let it be slow and easy. Yeah, so nice. Beautiful, about 20 more seconds. Okay, when you're ready, take a look down at that right leg.

Let an inhale bring you all the way back up and pause. Nice. And then to get out of this bent knee situation, what I like to do is really hold the ankle in close. Keep that tidy as you draw the left knee up, and then slowly let the left leg release. Now as you come to the other side, if you worked with the sole of the right foot to the inner thigh, that's what you do, otherwise you bring that knee up, squeeze that ankle in close as you let that knee bend.

Again, how far this knee is away from the ankle just kinda depends on your particular design, and again, this back foot might be on the top of the foot or the ankle might be bent in a way that nobody has ever let you do. (chuckles decisively) Okay, two minutes. So slow, let that left elbow come down to the earth. Let that right arm circle in front of the face and up. Soften the elbow to begin with, okay.

Maybe a little flex in the foot, just to kinda through the back of the leg, and then again, just like maybe the slightest bit of extension, just to kinda feel the line from the right thigh out through the right hand. And then letting the elbow bend. You might reach out through there, reach out through that leg, and then exhale, let that relax. You might find that you need to shnuggle this left arm out a little bit. Again, kind of as we explored earlier, you might support your head.

Hm. And every so often, you might be inclined to just kinda let it reach a little bit. Just be aware of what you're doin'. You'll know you're going after something. You'll know ambition has gotten ahold of you, 'cause you'll be able to fell the pressure behind the eyes, a sense of time, okay, a sense of grip in the jaw.

It's so obvious. This is why we're trying to tune in to these subtler energies, so we can be more aware of what's actually going on. Like, it's in the subtle energies that you're more tapped into the reality of the situation. Yeah. Okay, so beautiful.

Take a look down at that left leg and let an inhale bring you all the way back up and pause. To get out of there, squeeze that ankle in, like really hold that joint tidy (vocalizes), and let that leg release. Beautiful. And we're gonna make our way towards the frog pose, so find your way into child's pose, and you do wanna make sure that you have some padding for this one. So if you don't have a double mat situation happening like me, you're gonna wanna have a blanket down or you're gonna wanna be on carpet, 'cause this is slightly unforgiving.

So we will start in child's pose face down to the floor, hips to the heels, and pause. Okey-dokey. Slow let yourself come back up. Hands come out in front of you, and now you're gonna let your knees go wide. Now, where you choose to put your ankles.

If I keep my ankles in line with my knees, it's gonna generally be more intense. If I bring my heels closer together, okay, and draw my feet closer together behind me, generally it's less intense, okay. So this relationship is a dial that you can play with. Now, some people like to have a little bit of support underneath them as they do this. I'm just gonna back up a little bit to make sure I have enough room.

So some people like to have a bolster here or a blanket. That's up to you. And from here, we're gonna offer ourselves to this. I'm thinkin' that we should do this for about five minutes. How's that sound?

Let's try it. Let a little bit of a (exhales) happen. Okay, now right here, many of you are gonna stay right here. This is the spot. This is where the action is.

You can kinda wobble a little side to side, and you've got enough enjoyment happening through the inner thighs, the pelvis, the groin. 'Kay, again, forcing helps nobody, 'kay. So a lot of you are gonna stay right here. Some of you are gonna choose or your body's gonna let you come on down onto the forearms. Let your knees widen if that feels good.

Let a little bit of a (exhales) happen. And while we could hold this static right here, I find that there's a lot of information, which is the tiniest little bit of movement. So just a bit of an experimentation. As you inhale, you're gonna draw your hips forward, so you're gonna draw your hips in front of your knees, and as you exhale, you're gonna send your hips back towards your heels. As you inhale, you're gonna draw your hips in front of the knees, and as you exhale, you're gonna send your hips back towards your heels.

Just like let this happen, like let yourself come out of the situation a little bit. Most people find hips in front of the heels a little less intense. Most people find the hips back towards the knees and towards the ankles a little more intense. So do this a couple more times, and just like use it as an exploration, because also as we come towards a more static state, you might find that keeping your hips slightly in front of your knees is really more ideal. Beautiful.

Okay, find your way back into neutral. And now this one also can be a little bit of a doozy. Inhale here. As you exhale, curl your sit bones under and round your back. And as you inhale, roll your pelvis forward and draw your heart open, yeah.

As you exhale, curl, get round. As you inhale, roll your pelvis forward. Let your low back arch. We're in this together. (chuckles) You exhale, round.

As you inhale, arch. Let yourself do that a couple more times. Again, remember, we're building up tolerance in the nervous system for the new and the weird and the slightly uncomfortable without putting ourselves in a situation that causes unnecessary strain. Maybe one more like that. (humming) Okay, now find the spot that feels like the nicest spot to hold.

Okay, so your hips might be in line with the knees, they might be a little bit more back, they might be a little bit more forward. Notice for you where you've chosen. Like, is your pelvis slightly more tipped forward, is it slightly more tipped under? Just notice where you've landed. You might stay up on the forearms.

Some of you might come down onto your chest. Okay, forehead might rest on the earth, knees might have widened a little bit, hm. Who said we were hanging out here five minutes? Was that me? Did I make that decision?

(laughs) Let a little bit of a (exhales) happen. Nice. Hm, I'm noticing that the technology of my pants and the sticky mat haven't quite fallen in love, but we'll see how that goes. (breathing deeply) Beautiful, so it's been about four minutes, so we have one more minute. If you'd like, if you've had enough of this, you go ahead and get outta here, okay.

Otherwise sink in. Yeah (vocalizes). Wait for it. (exhales rhythmically) Hm. I am happy to report, and I hope you're feeling the same thing, that something really does shift with an extended period of time.

And I'm also happy to report that we're now at five minutes. So there are a couple of options to get outta here, okay. You might decide (laughs) to make your way back to child's pose, but something that I learned from Paulie Zink which can kinda feel pretty good is you just kinda let yourself come forward and you kinda roll outta your hips, and your legs are gonna come back behind you. (exhales happily) And rest like that. Head rests on your hands, legs are behind you, wobble a little bit, nice.

Now you're super prepared for a backbend. We've done a lot of side waist opening, we've done an amazing amount of inner thigh opening, and I'm gonna turn on my mat so I'm in a more ideal position but you might be ready to just start to move up into your backbend from where you are, 'kay. Now we've explored several different backbends together. We've explored the sphinx pose, the seal pose, the saddle pose. I'm gonna suggest the seal pose.

Hands are gonna come underneath your shoulders and you're gonna lift up and wobble a little bit. I'm gonna suggest we hold this about three minutes. The play is letting your arms be straight enough so you're really in the bones of you. My legs are about hip distance apart. I'm in the bones of my arms.

The buttocks is soft, low back is soft, the back of the heart is supple, base of the skull gooey, upper palette wide, like the upper palette is doming, and like really in alignment you'll know you're in the right place when you really start to feel the interior honey. It's like, the yogis speak, when you read the poetry of the early Vedas, it's like the honey shores of the ocean washing up upon the sands of my heart. This is how our early yogi scientists spoke of the relationship interiorly and with the natural world. It's one big cosmic love affair. Soften the back of the heart, open up in the upper palette, and like yoga, the practices of yoga, are truly designed to soften our resistances to falling in love.

And really, the love you're falling into is the one that you're already held in. It's just that it's hard to hug somebody who's brittle and braced and resistant, and so the willingness to soften, to get a little gooier, to get a little easier, little more receptive, this is the play. Hm, now I've suggested that we're gonna be here for three minutes, but you might choose five, so we have shy of a minute left on that three. If you wanna be here longer, you be here longer. Soft in the buttocks.

Kind in the eyes. Mm-hmm. (humming quietly) Nice. Okey-dokey, let your elbows bend, lower on back down slow. (vocalizes) Elbows wide, rest your head, and pause.

Like really wait for the green light, and only once you feel that green light, child's pose, hands underneath you, round on back, knees wide, big toes touch, forward folding. Super pretty, the transition is towards the seated forward fold, chin into the chest, roll on up. I'm gonna be suggesting the yin version of paschimottanasana, but you know a bunch now. You know baddha konasana, the butterfly, you know upavistha konasana, with the legs wide, you know the snail, so you might prefer one of those. We're gonna be here for about three minutes.

Inhale here, and as you exhale, chin into the chest, and while rounding is the more conventional sort of yin thing, if you prefer something different, do that. I'm letting my chin come into the chest, I'm wobbling a little bit side to side. Oh, that feels so good. My forehead is making her way towards my knees. I have my feet slightly flexed right now.

Eventually I'm gonna let them relax, let the palms open. And if it's unsatisfying to letting your head dangle like that and you'd rather have it slightly supported, well, you can use your hands, or if you have a prop like a blanket or a block, you could put it underneath there. (humming) (exhales) Also, if it's too much, if it's too banjo twangy, okay, in the backs of your knees, you can let your knees bend a little bit. That might even, for some of you, bending the knees a little bit might allow you to get a more satisfying rounding in your back. 'Kay.

Please feel welcome and encouraged to find the shape with your name on it. 'Kay. Nice. Let the sit bones feel heavier, hips wider. Hm.

Just about a half more minute. Super nice. Last few beats, soften the mouth, soften the tongue, soften the jaw. Yeah, and then only when you feel ready, chin into the chest, let yourself roll on back up. Feel the belly and feel the heart and feel the throat and feel the face.

Beautiful. Okay, let yourself roll on back down onto your back, bending the knees. Hug the knees into your chest and wobble. Nice. We're gonna offer ourselves to a twist.

Again, we've looked at several different ones. I'm gonna offer the eagle wrap. You might choose something else. Wrapping your right leg over your left, right foot might hook around the back of the left calf. Bring everything over to the left, knees to the left, right palm on top of the left palm, organize.

Open your right arm back over to the right. Elbow bends. Gaze is easy, we're gonna be here for about two minutes. Let your legs just kinda find a slightly different position that you normally land in, so maybe the knees are slightly closer towards your chest or slightly further away. Just enough to create a slightly different torque.

Eyes are soft, shoulder blade heavy. Notice where else you might be still holding and allow your whole being to exhale. To get outta here, unwrap, right leg on top of your left, and then slow, lead with the right leg, let her bring you back. The rest of you will follow. Place your feet back down on the floor, knees are bent, pause here.

And let yourself feel good, like get good at feeling good. Other side. Left leg over the right, hook perhaps, knees come over to the right, left palm on top of the right, palm organize. And then circle this left arm all the way back and around. 'Kay, we're gonna offer ourselves to this side for the same amount of time, ish.

Left elbow is soft, so the shoulder blade rolls back and down, knees are heavy. Sometimes you can find little adjustments that you just need to make with your hands, you do it. Relax the floor of the pelvis. It can get really bound up down there on the floor of the pelvis. You wanna relax the floor of the pelvis.

That will reveal sometimes this really sweet flow up through the central channel, up through the base of the skull. Mm. And sometimes new sensations will be revealed, and as new sensations are revealed, you don't need to ignore them, you can respond. Soften the belly, relax in the throat. Okay, when you're ready to get outta there, you're gonna uncross the legs, but keeping them over to the right as you bring the left leg on top of the right.

And then lead with the top left leg. Let her bring you back. The rest of you will follow. And then relax the feet back down on the floor, knees are bent, and pause. Just like feel the effect of the twist.

Beautiful, nice. Okay, hug the knees into the chest and wobble. Now I'm gonna suggest that we come up and sit together for a handful of minutes. If you would rather lie down in shavasana, then that's easy enough, choose that. Okay, cross your ankles, inhale, roll back perhaps, exhale, roll up to sitting.

And make your way towards a comfortable seat, putting whatever support would feel good underneath you. Just for a few moments, minutes. Okay, shnuggle in, big deliberate inhale. Exhale, let a (exhales) happen. Soft in the belly.

Wide down through the sit bones. Let the back of the heart relax. Aha, find the alignment of the skull so she feels quite balanced. You're not looking for a rigid, perfect position. You're seeking the alignment that allows for the optimal flow of you.

And so as you in your awareness come across those little kinks and twists and turns that are preventing the wholeness of you, that's where you gently let things widen, soften, open. Aha, upper palette domes. Like you'll know you've found the right alignment when it feels good. Hm. Beautiful.

You might choose to sit here for longer. Thank you for sharing your practice. Namaste.


Marleen R
1 person likes this.
Richly nourishing practice. Thank you Kira.
Tesa Urbonaite Dunn
Another wonderful Yin Practice! Thank you Kira!
Kira Sloane
Happy, Marleen!
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Hi Tesa! xok
1 person likes this.
Wonderful practice! Deep and relaxing, with Kira's nice voice to boot!
Kira Sloane
Sweet to be here together, Wynter. xok
Blossom C
Hi Kira! I am really loving your yin yoga series on Yoga Anytime. I am a teacher on Pilates Anytime and I am enjoying your work. Thank you. Blossom
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Hi there Blossom, sweet to meet here. xok
Tesa Urbonaite Dunn
I've been away too long;) Nice to be back yining:) Thank you Kira.
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Hi Tesa, sweet to see you again. xok
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