Yin+Yang: Warm Yin & Core 26+2
Yin and yang are terms to describe the two facets of existence. One cannot exist without the other, and both are essential for restoring balance and harmony to our lives.
It is helpful to think symbolically when defining yin and yang (pronounced “yong” rhyming with “bong.”) Imagine a hill or stream; its shady side is thought of as yin and the sunny or lighter side as yang. In other examples, yin is described as lower, deeper, more hidden, mysterious, resting, subtle, and passive. Yang describes the opposite: that which is surface level, lighter, more obvious, more dynamic, visible. Each one has its unique and necessary power and place.
It is when these energies are imbalanced that problems arise. We can, for example, have an excess or a deficiency of either yin or yang energy. Too much of one energy can lead to too much of the other. Working long hours for many weeks or months at a time (yang), we may find our bodies seek balance by suddenly making us too sick or weak to work (yin). If an imbalance is left unattended, tension and upset occur. The way to work through these opposing energies is to integrate them.
—Bernie Clark, The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga
YIN+YANG posture pairings
The pairings below provide insights into how Warm Yin postures complement specific Core 24 (Yang) postures. Understanding these relationships can be helpful in working through challenges in your practice.
Yin: Melting Heart
Provides compression for upper and middle back
Opens the shoulders and chest
Stimulates the urinary bladder meridian lines
Yang: Locust Pose, Half-Moon and Triangle.
Melting Heart helps to open the shoulders and chest.
Assists with strengthening the shoulders to increase the use of the upper back, particularly in Locust.
· Opens and strengthens the ankles
· Stimulates four meridians flowing through feet
· Awkward Pose. Ankle Stretch helps to strengthen all parts.
· Eagle pose.Greater opening to the ankles assists with strengthening the pointed toes and wrapping the ankle behind the calf muscle.
· Stretches the entire side of the body
· Works the spine and moves the rib cage in a lateral flexion
· Stretches oblique and intercostal muscles as well as armpit
· Half-moon pose, the first posture in the warm-up series. The floor ensures proper shoulder and hip placement without balancing or standing. Notice the lengthening sensation energetically is the same.
· Stretches hamstrings and adductor muscles
· Stretches lower back without requiring loose hamstrings
· Improves kidney function and recommended for people suffering from urinary problems
· Stretches the lower back
· Targets ligaments along the back of the spine
· Aids digestion when folding over straight leg
· Separate-Leg Stretching with head to knee(at the end of the practice.)
· Compresses the sacral/lumbar spine
· Opens the top of thighs and ankles
· Stretches hip flexors and opens the shoulders
· Camel (same posture), the deepest compression, towards the end of the series.
Cat Pulling Its Tail
· Mild compression for lower spine
· Opens quadriceps and upper thighs
· Compresses stomach organs and stimulates kidneys
· Stresses the ligaments along the back of the spine
· Final part of separate-leg-stretching at the end. However, the difference here is that the spine is not lengthened or stretched, but rather, rounded so the head comes towards the knees.
· Stretches the spine and compresses stomach and chest as well as ankles
· Benefits the organs of digestion
· Relieves back and neck pain when head is supported
· Half-Tortoise pose, towards the end of the series. The difference here is that the spine receives more dynamic extension with the engagement of the arms and palms staying together.
· Stretches lower spine
· Warms up quads
· Loosens hamstrings
· Massages abdominal organs
· Hands-to-feet pose, part of the half-moon sequence in warm-up series. This posture lengthens the lower back in a more dynamic way. Eventually, practitioners straighten the legs and touch the top of the head to tops of feet while keep chest and abdomen against the legs.
· Opens hip and provides external rotation
· Improves digestion and relieves gas
· Prep work for lotus pose in the advanced Ghosh series
· Deep hip and groin opener
· Stretches back leg hip flexor and sockets
· Helps ease sciatica
· Triangle Pose, master poster of standing series. Provides opening to the hips and assists with keeping this hips energetically moving down. Also, prep work for splits, in Core 40 and advanced.
· Deep groin opener, especially for the adductors
· Slight back bend
· Helps improve digestion and relieve menstrual cramps
· Deep hip opener
· Decompresses the SI (sacroiliac) joints
· Compresses stomach organs
· Pair with wind removing pose, at the start of the floor series. This postures provides hip opening, compressing the stomach organs and lengthening the spine, which is an option for Happy Baby (the tailbone can be lifted or down on the floor; notice the difference!)
· Restores equilibrium and releases tension in spine
· Massages and compresses abdomen
· Can help relieve sciatica
· Triangle and spine twisting are complementary postures. Both are more dynamic, requiring balance and abdominal strength, whereas reclining twist is more passive.
· Stretches hip flexors and quadriceps
· Compresses and stretches ankles (if hips are on top)
· A deep opening in the sacral-lumbar arch
· Stimulates the thyroid once the neck is dropped back
· Fixed firm pose, the difference being that the hips are between heels, not on top of them.
· Opens the hips
· Decompresses the spine when forward folding
· Eagle pose, in the warm up series, in which seven joints on each side of the body are compressed. A great way re-align the hip joints; in shoelace, you can level the hips without having to balance.
· A deep release to the entire spine
· Brings blood flow to head, drains the lungs and compresses internal organs
· Rabbit pose, the deepest lengthening and front side compression in the 26&2 series.
Sphinx and Seal
· Tones the spine by compressing and stimulating the sacral-lumbar arch
· If neck is dropped back, thyroid is stimulated
· Full Seal gives a deep stretch to the abdomen
· Half-moon backbend, cobra and camel. All compress the spine and stretch the front part of the body. In cobra, the legs are pressed together behind the body whereas in Sphinx and Seal, the legs are separated and relaxed. The spine is supported by more upper body strength in these two postures.
· Deeply opens the hips through external rotation
· Excellent preparation for lotus pose
· Decompresses the lower back when folding forward
· Pigeon pose, in the Core 40 (intermediate) sequence.
· Opens the hips and stretches the ankles
· Provides release to the lower spine
· Relieves menstrual cramps
Straddle (also known as dragonfly)
· Opens hips, groin and the back of thighs
· Provides an opening to the inner knees
· Separate Leg Stretchingand Frog in the Core 40.
Swan and Sleeping Swan
· Strong external rotation of front hip
· Moderate to strong backbend
· Vigorous hip opener, allowing gravity to do the work
· Pigeon in Core 40 and full pigeon.
· Opens toes and feet and strengthens ankles
· Stimulates all six lines of lower body meridians
· Awkward pose, specifically the second and third part.