WAIT, before we start diving into my Yin Yoga teaching gems part 2,
if you have not read part 1, I suggest you go and read that first.
Ok, now that we are all on the same page, allow me to continue where I left off last time with sharing some of my all time favourite teaching gems.
5. Broken Wing at the wall for pregnant students
Have you ever found yourself quickly removing Broken Wing from your sequence when you see a pregnant student arrive at your class?
Or perhaps you have simply offered her to lay back over a bolster and release her chest (which I'm sure probably feels really great for her).
Broken Wing is a posture where the student lays on their belly, and then rotates their spine to the side in order to target the shoulder, chest and spine, but its quite impossible to get into when pregnant, and not a great idea to put so much compressive pressure into the belly.
I think its really important to create opportunities for our pregnant student to stretch out their chest and shoulders, as these areas of the body that will likely get very congested and tight once they are carrying and feeding their bubba.
So I have found that inviting my pregnant students to sit on the floor, right up against the wall and place the arm closest to the wall on the wall, either with arm straight or bent, in order to target the chest and shoulder on that side, with the opposite hand on the wall as support, and maybe even leaning their head into the wall, to be fantastic alternative!
As a rebound option, they can quite smoothly turn around and lean their back and head into the wall without having to move their body around too much.
4. Dragonfly at the wall
Dragonfly is a fantastic Yin Yoga posture to target the Hamstrings, Adductors and Spine, but only if you have a little bit of stretch in your leg muscles to begin with.
If the backs and insides of the legs are super tight, the pelvis won't be able to rotate and a person may look very uncomfortable in their seat.
Sometimes propping a cushion under each knee and a rolled up blanket under the pelvic bones can help, but sometimes it does not.
This is where the magic of turning the posture upside down can be a game changer.
You might be thinking yes that's me, (or that's my boyfriend...), in which case I highly encourage you to see how it feels to slide over to a wall (with buttocks fairly close to the wall), and take the legs up, and let them open out.
You might find you need a soft bend in the knees if the feeling is very strong.
In this version, a stuck pelvis and lower back are completely taken out of the equation, and the student is allowing to have rightful access to the legs being targeted in a much more easeful way.
A great rebound here is Viparita Kirani, keeping legs at the wall.
For a full breakdown of my ideas about Dragonfly, check out the video below.
3. Foot in a Sling
This is the oh so creative name that I came up with for this posture, in order to help some of my students target their quads, without any fear of the knee rotating.
Targeting the quads in Yin Yoga is great, but it can be very intense for many students and the idea/felt experience of Half Saddle (let alone full Saddle) can send some folks into a panic.
Especially if they have any knee injuries or are recovering from knee surgery.
Foot in a sling is performed by laying on the belly, rising up onto forearms, and with some assistance looping a yoga belt around one foot, and holding both ends of the belt over the shoulder, taking the belt with you as you nestle your chest and face down into the floor.
It aims to target the quads in pure flexion, and will be a lot more mild than some of our other intense quad postures.
I haven't met a student yet that didn't absolutely love this posture.
For a full tutorial on all the variations your can practice to Target the Quadricep group in Yin Yoga including Foot in a Sling, check out the video below where I walk you through a series of postures, props and variations to use in your next class:
2. Where are you feeling it?
Don't make assumptions about what is going on for your students, ask them!
Watching them across the room and making up a story that they are uncomfortable, bored, in pain, or not listening to you properly is only going to send you into a doubt spiral.
Refer back to Part 1 where I talked about setting up a framework for them to ask for help, and if they wave you over, as them "Where are you feeling it?"
If you know your target areas well, and you have a fairly good sense of joint mechanics and how the body moves, their answer should tell you if you are helping them to navigate Tension or Compression.
Remember, Tension will likely need more props to bring body parts closer together and reduce strain on tissues that have reached their max, and Compression will need more space created in the region of discomfort where body parts are pressing too strongly in to each other.
1. Silent Savasana
Yin Yoga is a deep practice.
People's sensitivity can increase exponentially.
By the time we get to Savasana most students are well primed to drop in and melt away.
It's not a great time to unpack a deep philosophical nugget, or give everyone a massage, or even to disturb the room with too much talking.
My best advice is, set the Savasana up well, sit back and be present, and give your wonderful students at least 5 minutes (7-10 if your class time allows for it), of magical, precious, golden silence.
Be gentle with your voice and instructions when coaxing them up and out.
I hope you found some great nuggets here for your classes.
Love Karina x
Have you ever considered that your proportions are different to everyone else in your yoga class, most importantly, the length of your arms!
Check out this video below to learn about how slightly shorter arms might be impacting your yoga practice.
Feeling stuck in your Yin Yoga Teaching?
Karina is now offering 1-1 mentoring sessions to help you finesse your teaching style, brush up on your anatomy, help you build up confidence and so much more.
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Anatomy for Yin Yoga?
Karina has been an Anatomy teacher at Melbourne's most well known Yoga College;
The Australian Yoga Academy for over 7 years.
Her online Anatomy for Yin Yoga course, is a comprehensive on demand course guiding you through every synovial joint in the body and explaining how compressive or tensile factors will affect a student's yoga postures and their practice.
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