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Springtime Yin Yoga Mini for You

May 17, 2023
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Yin Yoga sequence for Liver-Gall Bladder

Spring shines its inspiring spotlight on our ability to restart and realign. In spring, our intentions reassert themselves, and the Taoist Element of Wood, the great guardian of Spring, nurtures our capacity to shake off the dormancy of winter and continue toward that which makes our hearts sing. We mirror the confident and patient persistence of the acorn wakening to send its taproot downward into the earth, remaining certain of its destiny to climb majestically into the sky. This time is our time.

Nature reminds us that whatever positive shifts we want to make, whatever joyful and loving ripples we want to create, we can do it. Spring is linked to the Liver and Gall Bladder Organs, the energies we rely on to support the health of our joints and our ability to remain equanimous and steady, even when the winds of life blow. While these Organs fuel the manifestation of our deepest inspirations, our ideas and actions inspire those around us, too. As we walk forward to create the future we want, the Liver works hard to refresh and renew the body, removing toxins and anything else that can't be used as a source of energy to fuel growth in every layer of being. I hope you enjoy this Springtime Yin Yoga Mini to harmonize the Liver and Gall Bladder Qi channels and awaken the Spring energies within you. This mini session is easy to slip into any busy schedule!

As you relax and remain in each pose, practice sensitizing to what’s happening deep within the yin side of your body. Training in sensing the energy’s flow is the starting point in harnessing its power. You might try tracing your breath through the areas of sensation and the lines of energy flowing there…use your breath like an energy brush, letting the soft brush of your breath walk slowly along the inner tissues where the Qi channels flow and into any sensations you feel arising there.

To enjoy detailed step-by-step pose guidance, explore additional variations and substitutions, creatively use props, and learn how to tailor poses to meet your body’s unique needs or the needs of your students, check out my new book Yin Yoga & Meditation: A Mandala Map for Practice, Teaching, and Beyond.

Liver-Gall Bladder Yin Yoga Mini (30min)

Arrive to Your Mat: Seated Meditation with the Dhyana Mudra (3min)

Yin Yoga Seated Meditation
Sukhasana Pose (Seated Meditation)

Sit onto your mat with your legs comfortably crossed in front of you in Sukhasana pose. To help you connect with the place of calm within you and a felt sense of inner harmony, you might try out the Dhyana mudra. To form this mudra, simply place the back of your right hand on top of your left palm and bring the tips of the thumbs to gently touch one another.

Invite your attention inward, closing your eyes if you so choose. This short mantra by Thich Nhat Hanh may feel inspiring:

Breathing in, I feel myself as space…

Breathing out, I feel free…

Shoelace w/forward bend over the legs (4min)
Potential Areas of Stimulation: Outer hips, backs of legs, spine

Yin Yoga Shoelace Pose - Liver Gall Bladder Qi
Shoelace Pose

Sit onto a single folded blanket. Establish a mild anterior tilt of the pelvis. Bend your right leg and place your right outer knee across the top of your left thigh. Stay with this phase of One-Legged Shoelace if it feels right for you. To go deeper, lean your body a touch toward the left outer hip and then bend your left leg and wrap it underneath your right leg. Curl your toes gently toward their respective shins.  

Practitioner’s Tip: Anytime your knees are too sensitive, or the hips feel too tight in a two-legged posture, try substituting with its one-legged version.

Counterpose: Hammock or Slide (1min)

Yin Yoga Hammock Counterpose
Hammock counterpose

Start seated with soles of your feet on the mat in front of you and with your knees positioned over your ankles. Place your hands onto the mat behind you with your wrists under their respective shoulders. Activate your core muscles. Inhale, and lift your hips into a straight line with your chest and shoulders. Pause a moment. Exhale, slowly lower the hips to the mat. Repeat 5-10 times matching full breathing with slow mindful movements.

Yin Yoga Slide Pose
Slide counterpose

For deeper core and shoulder work, choose to swap with Slide, the extended leg version of Hammock.

Shoelace w/forward bend over the legs (4min)
Repeat as above for the other side.

Substitution for Consideration: One-Legged Shoelace
See above for instructions.

Counterpose: Hammock or Slide (1min)

Dragonfly w/forward bend between the legs (4min)
Potential Areas of Stimulation: Hips, inner legs, spine

Yin Yoga One Legged Dragonfly Pose - Liver Gall Bladder Qi
One-Legged Dragonfly Pose
Yin Yoga Dragonfly Pose with bolster - Liver Gall Bladder Qi
Dragonfly with forward bend Pose

Sit onto a single folded blanket. Establish a mild anterior tilt of the pelvis. Extend both legs in front of you. Slowly separate your legs into a “V” shape until you feel a mild amount of sensation arising through the inner leg line. Forward bend between the legs. Hold for 3min and then switch sides.

If knees or hamstrings feel strained, try positioning a small rolled up blanket underneath them for additional support. If this doesn’t remedy the strain, no reason to force. See what happens if you give One-Legged Dragonfly a try.

Substitution for Consideration: One-Legged Dragonfly. Extend both legs in front of you in a “V” shape, then bend your right leg and place the sole of your right foot anywhere along the inner left thigh. Forward bend between the legs.

Counterpose: Sitting Beetle (1min)

Yin Yoga Sitting Beetle counterpose
Sitting Beetle counterpose

Establish a mild anterior tilt of the pelvis. Bend your knees and place the soles of the feet to the floor in front of you. Wrap your arms around your shins. If your lower back allows, round inward, curling up into a little ball. Pause to rest your body and observe the after-affects of the pose.

Cat Pulling Its Tail (3min) + Counterpose Savasana (1min)
Potential Areas of Stimulation: whole body

Yin Yoga Cat Pulling Its Tail Pose - Liver Gall Bladder Qi
Cat Pulling Its Tail Pose

Lie onto your back in a straight line. Draw your right knee into your chest. Guide your right leg across the midline of your body to the left, rolling onto your left side. Place your left elbow on the mat and rest your hand in your left hand. To pull your cat tail, bend the bottom knee and reach your right arm behind you to hold the left foot with your right hand or a strap. To deepen the twist, gently rest your body back onto the mat behind you. Play a bit to pick the phase of the Cat Pulling Its Tail that best serves your whole body.

Then go to the other side.

Savasana (5min)

Yin Yoga Savasana Pose

Lie onto your back. Use as many props as your need to feel your whole self completely at ease and supported. Steep in the relaxation and rest, allowing yourself to receive all the goodness of your practice and the many gifts of your re-nourished flow of Liver and Gall Bladder Qi.

If you'd like to take a deep dive into Yin Yoga and its many possibilities, I invite you to join me for my all-levels holistic 40hr Yin Yoga & Meditation Training.

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