Updated: Feb 18, 2022
Kind Karma® Yin Yoga uses gentle long held postures – "shapes," with a compassionate, open-minded attitude of self-acceptance to awaken and free the yin parts of our physical, emotional, energetic, mental and spiritual selves.
Yin Yoga practice is perfect for anyone who wants to bring more freedom, flexibility, mobility or energy to their hips, pelvis, hamstrings, spine and shoulders. Often, these areas of the body become stiff and less mobile because of aging, old injuries or chronic overuse, and Yin Yoga gently releases and lengthens the connective tissues within those target areas.
Kind Karma® Yin Yoga is a floor-based practice of meditation and mindfulness that provides the opportunity to 'shape' you into what you want to become. It allows you to become the best version of yourself, by offering you the opportunity to make a conscious decision to let go of what no longer serves you. – Dr. Dean Telano
(Although Saddle Pose is similar in a way to that of the Yang asanas Supta Vajrasana and Supta Virasana, it widely differs in its Yin intention and scope)
Getting into the Pose
There are several options for coming into this pose. Sitting on the heels, widen the knees comfortably and begin to recline backwards. Maybe the hands or elbows come to blocks behind the body. If there's pain in the knees, skip this one.
If the shoulders meet the floor, the arms may come up and overhead. However, the arms can remain by the sides of the body, with the palms either up or down.
Increase the backward bend by shimmying the bottom of the shoulder blades toward the toe-tips (imagine a puppet string from the ceiling lifting the navel).
Coming Out of the Pose
There are several ways to end this pose. If you can, come back up the way you went down, propping yourself up on your elbows and then onto the hands - engage the core as you make your way onto your forearms, then your hands, and return your torso to a vertical position. If that doesn't work trying rolling to one side and slowly straighten the opposite leg. Before rolling onto your back, you may want to wait a bit or hold your sacrum with your free hand and ease down to your back.
Lie down on your belly, straightening your legs slowly to allow the knees to release.
Modifications – Safety First!
Upper Body: A bolster or rolled up blanket may support the back body.
Lower Back: If the compression in the lumbosacral vertebrae becomes too intense, return to a more upright position, or come out of the pose entirely.
Thigh, Quadricep or Hip Flexor Tightness: Use a bolster to support the upper body before going down.
Knees: Make adjustments so there is no stress on the knees, rolling a blanket and placing it behind the knees before going back might help.
Ankles: If your ankles feel uncomfortable, try rolling a blanket underneath them. Additionally, a blanket or bolster between the ankles and sitting bones will also increase the angle of extension helping you go deeper, if you choose to do so.
Additional Modification: Lean back on your hands, instead of going fully downward. Be sure to lengthen your spine, and protect your neck and lower back, as you do so.
Half Saddle Pose is demonstrated and practiced during the Kind Karma® Yin Yoga training workshops.
The knees may lift up and splay wide. If so, offer “sweet” support.
This requires a great deal of ankle extension and knee flexion. A blanket rolled up under the ankles could offer “sweet” support.
If the knees can't tolerate the action, practice Seal Pose.
Practicing a Dragon Pose sequence, before Saddle Pose, will help to soften the quadriceps and hip flexors.
Optional: Practicing Half Saddle Pose with one leg bent, and the other leg straight. Stay in this pose for 1-3 minutes, then switch sides.
There should only be a slight compression in the lower back and this is one of the benefits of Saddle pose in comparison to Reclined Hero Pose. However, if you experience any pinching or the compression feels too much, do not hesitate to use cushions and extra props to raise your upper body.
Basic yin hold time for this pose is three minutes.
For comfort: one to three minutes.
For a deeper challenge: up to five minutes.
Incorporating yin yoga into your routines can significantly strengthen your body’s ability to combat sickness or illness.
A deep opening in the sacral-lumbar arch.
Also stretches hips flexors and quadriceps.
Excellent for athletes and people who do a lot of standing, walking or repetitive movements or exercises.
Stimulates the thyroid if the neck is dropped back (use caution, here).
If the feet are beside the hips, this becomes a good internal rotation of the hip.
Releases the diaphragm.
Mental: restores inner peace and calm.
Emotional: helps to release pent-up emotions, especially related to worry, anxiety and overthinking. Reduces fear and insecurity.
Many of our Kind Karma® Yin Yoga class sequences tailor the practice to target certain emotions by embracing a meridian-based approach (Traditional Chinese Medicine) that focuses on the correlated organs. – Dr. Dean Telano
This pose should not be done if you have a bad back or sacroiliac (SI) joints problems. If you have any pain or pinching in lower back discontinue the pose.
Limitation or pain with the knees.
Any sharp, shooting or burning pain; numbness; or electrical sensations, come out of the pose.
Ease up, or come out of the pose, if your breath becomes strained or if you start to feel dizzy.
People having heart issues, such as blocked arteries, angina or recovering from the bypass surgery should not do this pose.
Pregnancy: using bolsters will put less stress on the growing belly.
Body Areas Affected
Deep opening for sacral-lumbar arch (use caution).
Stretches the front of body including hip flexors, quadriceps, abdominals and chest.
Lower spine, knees and ankles.
Counter Poses (After the Pose is Completed)
After coming out, lie quietly on your back for a few breaths with the legs straight, tightening and releasing the kneecaps. When you are ready, hug the backs of the thighs and pull the knees to the chest to release the lower back.
Child's Pose: move into it slowly. You may need to rest your head on your palms before coming into a full Child's Pose.
Downward Facing Dog Pose: be gentle.
Suggestion: If you came out and are lying on your back, try hinging: while lying on your back, raise and lower the legs; knees bent is easiest, straight legs is harder. To support the back, place your hands, with palms down, under your buttocks.
Meridians: Stomach, Spleen & Kidney Meridians (the "tension" part of the pose); Urinary Bladder Meridian (the "compression" part of the pose). If your arms are overhead, you will also stimulate the Heart and Lung Meridians.
Chakra: Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra).
Element: Brings balance to the earth and fire elements.
Kind Karma® Yin Yoga Tips
Use this time in the yin pose to allow yourself to be with your thoughts and emotions - trying to listen, connect and better understand yourself. As a good mindfulness practice: sit with any thoughts, emotions, feelings or sensations that arise in the stillness. Find the fullest expression of the yin shape or pose.
Eyes: closing your eyes can help eliminate visual distractions that lead to monkey mind chatter. However, if keeping your eyes open for the duration of the practice allows you to feel more mentally, emotionally, or physically comfortable, then certainly do so.
Work your yin edge as a "comfortable (safe) discomfort".
© 2022. All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.