aiya yoga sphinx pose by the water
Sphinx Pose

5 Calming Yin Yoga Poses

Yin Yoga is the slower, calmer approach to the yogic arts. For many people, it’s just the right way to cool off and get their muscles relaxed, rather than testing their limits like you would in other yoga courses. If you’re looking to see some of the benefits, read on and we’ll show you some of the best calming poses that fall under the Yin Yoga banner.

1. Sphinx Pose

The Sphinx Pose allows you to relax and creates a calming experience through the body. In its basic form, you’ll also find that anyone can pull it off.

The pose is simple to execute, lay prone on the floor and bring your lower back up until your arms are comfortably resting on the ground in front of you with your palms open and touching. For a beginner, you only need to rest your forearms on the ground, rather than the deeper bend a more advanced practitioner may use.

This pose should be held for a few minutes, four to five is a great length of time. Yin Yoga poses are meant to be held for longer than many more active forms of yoga, so don’t try for the advanced version too quickly. At least in the Yin Yoga context, instead of a more physically demanding form of the art.

2. Pentacle Pose

Most yoga practitioners are used to Corpse Pose, where one lays silently and calmly with their hands and legs straight out. The Pentacle is similar, lay on your back and stretch out your arms and legs to form a wide X with your body.

The key to getting the most out of this pose is relaxation. Incremental relaxation is a good idea, particularly if you have trouble getting relaxed while in the pose.

The main problem posed here is that many people find it too easy to fall asleep while in this pose. Remain mindful while allowing your brain to relax, falling asleep may interrupt the relaxation as you come back from dreamland. 

This opens the body to help create balance. You can then maintain the relaxed pose for ten minutes, controlling your breathing and calming down. It’s a refreshing pose, and an easy one even for a complete beginner.

3. Caterpillar Pose

The Caterpillar pose often seems uncomfortable for those who haven’t given it a shot, but it’s an excellent way to clear up energy and get relaxation out of your session. Especially with some slight modification

During the pose, you’ll sit upright with your legs in front of you, then lower your head and arms to a comfortable position. For Yin purposes, since the pose will be held for some time, you’ll want to get a pillow to lay your head on during the exercise.

It’s different from a modified corpse pose or other asanas which appear relaxing from the outset, but it’s still very calming. Try holding it for four or five minutes during the session, you’ll be surprised at the results.

4. Swan Pose

Another deceptively relaxing pose, at least for your hips, is the Swan. It’s relatively easy to do for most people, but newbies with bad hip flexibility may want to try something a bit lighter first.

To get into it, you’ll want to bring one leg in front of you while you’re lying prone. Bend your knee and place it so that it passes under your stomach, then lay forward with your head held cradled in your arms. Hold it for five minutes.

This pose is still a beginner one, it just requires a little bit of hip flexibility. It helps with relaxing the muscles surrounding the hip joint and the hip extensors, creating a feeling of core relief when performed properly.

Remember to repeat this pose on both sides.

5. Twisted Root Pose

The Twisted Root Pose is another excellent hip stretch that can lead to full-body relaxation. It’s also much easier than many stretches that hit the same spot.

You’ll want to lay on your back, then fold one leg over the other with a bent knee. Use the opposite arm to hold it in place and stretch the other arm straight out from the shoulder. Bring your leg as close to your torso as possible, allowing the other leg to bend if needed to hold the pose.

Hold for four or five minutes, breathing in a controlled fashion. Then you’ll do the same on the other side. The release of tension in your hips is shocking when you perform the pose correctly.

Relax with Yin Yoga

While Yin Yoga is primarily a supplemental practice, any would-be yogi will benefit from the occasional session. It’s just a matter of finding the right poses for deep muscular relaxation and sticking to it. Which pose do you think you’ll try adding in first?

Isabel Ludick
Isabel is an avid yoga practitioner, who loves travelling, living life to the fullest, and cats. She loves living healthy and inspiring others to be the best they can be. When she's not performing her asanas or writing, you can find her at exquisite wine tastings around the world.