Yin Yoga Sequence: Heart and Lung Meridians
Late summer is the perfect time to focus on the heart and lung meridians. Throughout the summer most people end up depleting energy. We are vacationing with family and friends, spending extra time outside, being more active due to the nicer weather and interacting with people by way of parties and get togethers. Getting out and being active is great and having nice weather is the best. However, this can drain the body and cause imbalances. This Yin Yoga Sequence Heart and Lung Meridians practice is a perfect way to start to restore the balance. Let's first talk about why Yin Yoga can help to bring harmony to the mind and body. Yin yoga targets the connective tissues in the body. It goes deeper than just the muscles that are targeted in the yang version of yoga. Yang is the more physical practice involving flowing in and out of poses. Yang practices are that of hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, etc. Yin yoga is deeper. The practice helps to remove and clear blockages that occur and allows the prana (life force energy) to flow more freely.
Yin yoga works with the various meridians in the body. For this post, I will speak about the heart and lung meridians specifically. The heart meridian runs from the heart down to the diaphragm and small intestine. It also runs up the throat to the third eye area, starting from the heart. The last line runs through the chest, to the arm pit and down to the pinky finger of both hands. Doing yoga poses that allow the heart and chest to open along with stretching through the sides of the chest and arm pit areas.
The lung meridian starts in the diaphragm area and down into the small intestine. It also runs from there and up along the throat, down under the collar bones and down into the arms along the biceps into the thumbs. Taking poses that open the side body and front of the abdomen, shoulders and sides of the throat can help to release these lines. As with all the meridians they conned at various points throughout the body. So doing some poses that seem like they aren't opening the heart and lung meridians specifically can still benefit the whole body.
The following yin yoga sequence for the heart and lung meridians will help to relieve the body of the imbalances that come with over activity in the mind and body. Working the lung meridians increases oxygen throughout the body which can help with energy change. By opening the heart meridians it increases blood flow aiding in rejuvenating the mind and body. Try this sequence as often as you like and focus your breathing on the meridians in order to restore energy and balance.
Yin Yoga: Heart and Lung Meridians
Yin yoga is best practiced with cool muscles, meaning exercise and stretching has not happened directly before a yin practice. That being said, I do my normal exercise routine and practice yin about 20-60 minutes after, depending on the day. So my muscles are freshly warm but have had a chance be used prior.
Do the following poses holding to your comfort level but doing your best to sit in the pose for at least 1-2 minutes if not longer. My go to time for holding when I teach is usually around 3 minutes. When I practice, I will hold poses for up to 10 minutes.
Bananasana: Lay on your mat with legs stretched long, bringing the inner edges of the feet and legs to touch. Reach the arms above the head bringing the hands to touch (or if that is too much of a strain grab opposite elbows above the head. Inhale and walk the feet and torso to the right creating a half moon or banana shape with the body. Keep the arms above the heat to stimulate the heart and lung meridians.
Anahatasana (melting heart pose): Start in hands and knees. Walk your hands up toward the top of your mat, making the arms stretch farther than the shoulders but as wide as the shoulders. Keep hips in line with the knees and on an exhale, drop the chest down toward the mat, melting the heart. This ramps up the energy in the arms which engages the heart and lung meridians.
Ustrasana (camel pose): Sit with your hips on your heels. Bring the hands back behind you, placing them on the floor. Pressing the hands into the floor begin to extend the hips forward and up toward the sky. This creates a arch in the back. Stay here or walk the hands toward the heels, allowing the head to drop back easy and with control to protect the neck. Opening the chest and arm pit areas help to stimulate the heart meridian. The lungs are also being stretched slightly which targets the lung meridian.
Child's Pose: From hands the knees, push into the mat with the hands and bring the hips to rest toward the heels. Rest the forehead on the mat, keeping the arms extended over head to stretch slightly through the sides of the waist and arm pits. After a few breaths stay here or bring the arms down by the sides, palms facing up. This allows the body to relax and restore.
Frog Pose: When in child's pose, walk the knees out wider than the hips, keeping the hips toward the heels. Walk the hands out, one by one so the arms are extended but palms are pressing into the floor (this is tadpole pose). Stay in tadpole or after a few breaths walk the knees and feet out slightly wider, bringing the feet in line with the knees. Melting the chest down. By extending the arms it engages both the heart and lung meridian lines.
Reclined Twist: Lay on your back, bring knees into the chest. Open the arms out to the sides and on an exhale, bring the knees over to the right. Keep the right arm extended to the side but bring the left arm up above the head. Twisting massages the internal organs, specifically the digestive organs. By extending one arm above the head it stretches through the side body and arm pit.
Savasana (corpse pose): Extend the legs while laying on your back. Walk the heels out to hip width and allow the toes to drop out to the sides. Bring the arms along your sides, creating a bit of space between the arms and the torso. Place palms to face up and close the eyes. Release the muscles, bones and body into the earth. Bring awareness to the breath and allow the breath to sooth the body. Turn your focus inside and rest.
Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction. If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.