👇🏽 Click on the video below for a guided foundational Yin Yoga practice designed for daily use to address chronic stress or anxiety, fatigue, and/or exhaustion, for strained psoas, kidneys, adrenals, and central nervous system. Longer practices are also available as part of the Holistic Liberation Program.
There’s also a sister Hatha-Vinyasa yoga practice that provides more movement for the psoas, kidneys, adrenals, and central nervous system. Both the Yin and Hatha-Vinyasa practices are recommended if you’re chronically stressed, fearful or anxious, seriously drained, can’t sleep, or stay asleep, if you ride the roller coaster of highs and lows, or if you find yourself caught in repetitive self-sabotaging behaviors.
The modern world has emplaced upon us layer after layer of stress. It’s always existed in our social systems, and now we have it in the abundance of technology and advertising that’s made to be addictive, in our all-too-common sedentary lifestyles, in the skyrocketing fix-all of prescription drugs that harm our liver, and the toxicity that increasingly consumes our food, our minds, our air, homes, bodies, and our relationships!
Yin yoga to the rescue. This practice is specific for chronic stress and anxiety, to restore the psoas, kidneys, adrenals, and central nervous system. This is an ideal practice for the evening to help with sleep, although any time of day is beneficial.
When we hold postures and offer ourselves support in these longer holds, we can relax into an opening of our connective tissue, where we retain memory and emotions. We give ourselves time to be with our bodies and the sensations that we feel in these positions. We let our nervous system rest.
This means that we fully support this practice with pillows, cushions, blankets, towels, clothing, or standard yoga props such as bolsters and blocks. This is guided in the video.
You will also be guided to consciously be in your body, to feel your body, to know your body from within. The simplest way out of a stress response, and to find our way out of chronic stress patterns, is to get into our bodies. This is also a powerful tool for healing trauma.
Our body is our unconscious mind. All memories and emotions are stored in our bodies! When we take our consciousness into our bodies, we make the unconscious conscious. We can then intentionally embrace ourselves in full awareness. This is the process of knowing our whole selves, to be able to listen to our body that already knows how to care for itself.
If you want to learn about the meridians, fascia lines, central nervous system (CNS), the kidneys, adrenals, psoas, and how specific yoga asana address chronic stress, anxiety, and variations of PTSD, read more in the Hatha-Vinyasa yoga post and links to it herein.
This yin practice focuses on:
👉🏾 Salamba Balasana, Supported Child’s Pose
Through support in this posture, the lower back can fully release, relieving the central nervous system (CNS), kidneys, and adrenals from bearing the brunt of chronic stress and anxiety, and the psoas can soften, opening through the back of the pelvis.
Breathing into the back is natural in this posture, to feel into the kidneys and how they can move away from the spine on inhales and toward each other, and the spine, on exhales. Breathing with the thoracic diaphragm expands the breath into the lower back and diaphragm of the pelvis—the pelvic floor: the muscles running between the pubic bone and tailbone and between the sit bones—that expands with the inhales and releases on exhales, directly massaging the pelvic muscles, including the psoas.
On each exhale, the body’s weight can release deeper into the support of props and gravity, handing stress and anxiety over to the earth, and through letting go of physical tension, the mind can can unwind as well, discovering more distance between the “Self” and thoughts, and between the thoughts themselves. This space and silence not only provide stress-relief in the moment, but can begin to alter and reduce the causes for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual damage incurred from chronic stress.
👉🏾 Salamba Paschimottanasana, Supported Seated Forward Bend
A classic Hatha yoga posture supported in a yin practice is very different! Engaging through the muscles to find a self-appropriate version of this forward bend may be helpful, but once support is in place, all effort is completely let go.
As guided in the video, taking a bit of height under the sit bones allows a deeper and easier bend at the hips. Without this support, there’s a tendency to fold from the back rather than at the crease of the hips, rounding the spine. Bending from the spine rather than the hip crease also decreases the opening of the psoas and spine, minimizing the benefits through the nervous system and entire back line of fascia, including the hamstrings and calves.
This exacerbates closing through the front of the shoulders and chest that creates a collapse through the front line, which are all-too-common postural misalignments from closing in toward phones and computers. This minimizes space for the lungs, decreasing lung capacity. It weakens the abdomen, structurally creating challenges for inner organs. Emotionally, it can close off confidence, openness to others and intimacy, and all of this can result from and/or contribute to prolonged grief.
Thus supporting a bend from the hip crease by simply taking a blanket or towel under the sit bones (or utilizing a supported micro-bend of the knees) is a simple and effective way to ensure not only receiving the numerous advantages from this posture, but it keeps the majority of people, that sits in chairs and has shorter hamstrings, from making a power posture into one that is futile, if not harmful, when practiced regularly.
Any lengthening of the back line is relaxing, and when combined with the support of props and the release of the superficial muscles, is deeply restorative, soothing, and aids a good sleep. It also calms the nervous system, relieving stress and anxiety.
👉🏾 Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Supported Bridge
To relieve stress and anxiety in this posture, the focus is to softly release the psoas and back line of fascia that is interconnected with the CNS, and to gently extend the kidney channel running through the front of the torso. Softly and gently are key words here, as not to induce more stress and anxiety!
It’s important to use appropriate height that supports an opening while maintaining space through the lower back. Too much height under the hips can create compression and potential tension through the sacral area. For extra back support, keep the feet flat against the floor rather than taking the legs out long.
This posture finishes with bringing the legs into the chest and holding them as a counterpose for the psoas. Continue to feel the back of the body release into the support and the back of the head relax into floor for powerful restoration.
Savasana, corpse pose, of course ends the practice as the closing meditation, remaining mindful of the body’s sensations and soft, natural breath, while releasing the weight of the bones into gravity. Use height under the knees as extra lower back support and under the head to aid space through the neck. Both options allow more ease in the superficial back line of fascia, the nervous system, kidneys, adrenals, and psoas.
Can you practice five times or more a week? These yoga sessions are only 15-minutes each, on purpose, to make them accessible to time restraints, and they contrast each other significantly, so if you’re too tired to strengthen, then restore, and if you find it aggravating to lie in these positions, then focus on movement that’s specific for stress and anxiety relief that is, again, guided here as a concise yoga practice.
Use the video to gain awareness of how to explore your body and use the breath as a tool to release tension into the support of the earth, but because this practice is only 15-minutes and covers three yin postures, feel free to make this practice your own, taking one posture for much longer when feels right for you, at anytime. 3-5 minutes per pose is ideal but can feel incredible when lengthened to 10-20 minutes!
There are longer practices that come as part of the Holistic Liberation Program, along with other essential movement practices, support calls, and supplemental holistic practices for a fully supportive, well-rounded approach to changing stressful habits and lifestyle patterns to remedy the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual causes and symptoms of chronic stress.
How often can you invite deeper relaxation into your day, to listen to your body’s wisdom, to let your mind rest, to rest into this moment, to allow stress from the past or the future release into the support that is always beneath you?
Let us know if you have any questions or feedback on how this practice supports you below, or as always, keep in touch by subscribing or joining the Holistic Liberation Facebook group where you can find more guidance.
Jyllin, certified as a holistic healthcare practitioner in 2004, a bodyworker, and teacher of therapeutic yoga and creative movement, is committed to sharing environmentally and socially conscientious lifestyle tools that support liberation from addictive patterns of chronic stress. Learn more about Jyllin and The Holistic Liberation Program.