By Faye Martins
Many Yin Yoga poses are wonderful asanas to practice prior to sitting for an extended meditation period. Due to our contemporary culture with lots of sitting in chairs and many hours of driving or commuting, seated meditation may be more physically difficult than it was for Yogis and Yoginis of times past. Yin Yoga poses help to release tension in the connective tissues, which increases the flow of life force energy throughout the entire body. Flexibility in the connective tissues in the fascia, tendons and ligaments also allows a meditation practitioner to sit more comfortably for longer periods of time.
Seated meditation postures are aimed at creating a balanced ease in the body by holding the back straight without slouching and the arms comfortably at your sides. In order to accomplish this ideal meditation position, your pelvis and sacrum must be aligned properly so that the energy or chi runs easily up and down your spine. The ideal alignment for most people of the sacrum and pelvis is a slight forward angle while maintaining a proper vertical alignment between your lower and upper torso.
Many Yin Yoga poses help to facilitate this correct meditation posture. Hip openers, back bends, forward bends and twists will all release deeply-held tension in the connective tissues if practiced with patience and compassion. Tailor your choice of Yin Yoga poses to the needs of your body on any particular day. Some days you may find that your hips are tight, and on other days your shoulders, neck and upper back may need more attention. Practicing the Seated Twist will open up your neck, shoulders, side torso and hips in order to allow more ease and comfort in the seated meditation posture of your choice.
To practice Seated Twist, sit comfortably on your Yoga mat in Easy Seat. Bend your right leg in towards your left leg with the sole of your right foot touching the inside of your left thigh. Place your left foot on the outside of your right knee with your knee pointing up towards the sky. Extend your right arm up and with your next exhale, position your right elbow on the outside of your left knee – Keep your right hand pointing up toward the sky. With each inhale, release the pose a little bit. With each exhale, twist a little deeper. Hold for three to five breaths and then slowly come out of the pose. Take one complete Yogic breath in Easy Seat and repeat on the other side.
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