Yin Yoga stretches for Chronic Fatigue
By Gabrielle Fairhead
Yin Yoga is a calm, passive style of yoga which involves holding each pose for a longer period of time, while paying attention to the breath and observing our thoughts, emotions and the body sensations we might experience.
YinYoga helps to stretch our yin tissues such as our fascia, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues, which get less blood supply and are less elastic, so they need more time to stretch. When stretched on regular basis, our circulation improves, and our organs work with greater efficiency.
The following poses are very effective self-help tools to re-energise the body, releasing any tension which might make us feel stagnant and lethargic, bringing nourishing oxygenated blood to the various regions upon release.
Start gently at first, building up to holding the poses for longer. Ideally done morning and eveningThese stretches (poses) aim to provide the body with maximum oxygen uptake, accelerate blood flow, and stimulate the energetic flow of the neural networks, releasing any stagnation.
1. Chest opener
Lying on your mat, place a rolled-up towel or blanket underneath the base of your upper back
Extend your legs long, relax, and place your arms wherever it feels comfortable (overhead, to the sides, alongside your body)
Breathe slowly and deeply
Enjoy this subtle stretch of your front torso and heart space opening for 2-3 minutes.
Benefits: This pose enables the chest area to open and relax completely, stretching out the abdominal and chest muscles. It creates space in the front line of the body promoting greater oxygen uptake and helps to eliminate any stored tension/stress/anxiety around the upper body area, which, when tense, can affect one’s energy levels.
2. Forward fold
Standing with your legs hip-width apart, slowly hinge at the hips, micro bending the knees, gently fold forward and down letting the head hang loosely, fully relaxed.
The micro-bend in the knees helps to create an opportunity for the hamstrings to lengthen very gently.
(If the hamstrings or lower back are very tight, bend the knees generously)
Hold for 1-3 minutes (please start slowly and build up!)
Very gently roll back up stacking the spine vertebrae by vertebrae.
Benefits: This pose opens the back line of the body and gently stretches the spine and related muscles. It helps to stimulate the blood flow to the brain, supplying it with greater amount of oxygen and nutrients, leaving us energised. Hanging upside down also helps to boost one’s mood, resulting in a sense of wellbeing and positivity.
3. Neck stretch
Standing or seated, softly send your R hand over your head and place over the L ear. Keep shoulders down…and breathe
Gently pull down towards your R shoulder, stretching out the L side of the neck.
Anchor the fingertips of the stretched-out L hand, lengthening the arm, to get a fuller stretch.
Hold for 2-3 mins, repeat on the other side
Benefits: This pose helps to stretch out any tension in the neck that can be transferred into the shoulders. When the neck and shoulders feel easier, one feels lighter and able to think clearer, not weighted down by daily stresses which are the main cause of neck and shoulder stiffness.
4. Cat Tail
Lying down on your mat, bring the right knee into your chest and allow the left leg to relax long on the mat.
With both shoulders relaxed on the floor, cross the right leg over the body, twisting all the way to the left, relaxing right leg onto the floor, placing left handover the knee to keep it in place.
Bring your left foot into your right hand by bending the bottom leg, accessing a deep quad stretch.
Adjust the angles of the shoulders, legs and arms to suit you.
Hold for 3-4 mins, change sides
Benefits: Cat tail pose targets several areas in the body, releasing the deep connective tissues between the quads, hip flexors, back, glutes and hamstrings, as well at the fascia through the entire body. Energetically this pose helps to alleviate tiredness, as well as wringing out any stagnation or tension in the CNS.