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Just One Yin Yoga Pose

Just One Yin Yoga Pose

“Sometimes things in life happen that are incomprehensible to the body. Even if your rational mind is prepared, your body feels blindsided and feels the assault. Your mind gets it, you might logically understand or even be grateful…but there’s a big ‘f you’ inside your body that needs to be released. You can’t just process grief in your mind, you must process it physically. ”-  Seane Corn (quoted during yoga by Jenny Sansouci of Healthy Crush)

 

When I tell my clients about the benefits of yoga for some it can be a very difficult idea to swallow and quite the daunting task. Some bodies just aren’t designed for a full yoga class, and that’s fine, whatever works best for your body. That being said, every single body can benefit from a pose for two. It amazes me how just minutes in a pose can feel so rejuvenating and calming. It’s so easy, so quick, and so efficient that you feel the results within seconds. 

I’ve put together a few poses that everyone can do no matter what your age, size, or flexibility. I know you may be thinking, one yoga pose isn’t going to do anything for me. We’re accustomed to thinking if it’s not hard we won’t reap the benefits, it won’t be worth it. Just try it out and see for yourself. Even just one yoga pose a day is extremely beneficial for your body, mind, and everything in between.

My favorites are particularly balancing and rejuvenating to our hormonal systems (for both men and women). They are calming, mood boosting and body soothing poses that you can do in the morning, at night, or really drop and do in the middle of the day. Preferably in your home or gym and not the middle of the grocery store, but hey, if the mood strikes, why not? If you have kids, you can do these with kids climbing all over you as well. No excuses accepted here! ;)

The poses below are yin yoga poses. Yin yoga is a more feminine practice; grounding, calming, still postures held in mostly sitting or lying positions to clear blockages and enhance circulation. Yang yoga is more masculine, a vigorous, strength building and muscle toning practice. There’s most definitely a time for yang yoga, but for hormonal balancing and body soothing, yin yoga is the way to go. 

I recommend holding the yin yoga poses below for 3 – 5 minutes. Yes these pictures are all of me! I tried my best to relax into them but I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard with my husband trying to get the best shots for me. 

 

Adrenal twist. This pose I learned from Dr. Sara Gottfried (a harvard trained doctor and yoga instructor who uses food to heal – my girl crush). It squeezes the stale blood out of your adrenals and lets new fresh blood flow in. It’s also a nice intestinal & spinal twist. Bring your legs up to a 90 degree angle and lower to one side, then bring back up and lower to the other side. Twist from side to side as many times as you need. 

 

Seal pose. Seal pose is beneficial for the bladder & kidneys. The adrenal glands (a hormone gland that produces cortisol and helps us manage stress) sit right on top of the kidneys and in some chinese medicine theory the two are considered the same organ because they are so interconnected. Any move benefiting the kidneys is also benefiting those adrenals!

 

 

Viparita Karani (legs straight up against a wall). This can be done laying on your bed with your legs up against your bed frame. The restorative nature of this posture gets blood flowing to parts of the body that need it most: the vital organs in our core. It’s helpful for most any issues including arthritis, high or low blood pressure, respiratory ailments, and of course because it’s balancing our hormones, menopause.


 

Childs Pose. Sitting on your heels with your knees apart about the distance of your mat with hands stretched out in front of you. This releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest. Alleviating stress and anxiety, stretching the hips and calming the mind.


Plough Pose. This pose is my favorite, I do it at the end of every yoga class. It stretches the neck and lower back, along with squeezing the thyroid. The thyroid is the hormone producing gland that monitors metabolism and is located in our neck. This pose is a nice re-set, like the adrenal twist, allowing new fresh blood to flow in, keeping our thyroid functioning well.

 

 

Fast fact: Studies show that it’s not the intensity of workouts that balance our hormones but the frequency. Moving every single day if you can. What really gets the needle moving with your health is 4 times a week for 30 minutes a day, and you can break up that 30 minutes if you need to into what is do-able for you. 15 minute walk at lunch, 15 minutes of stretching at the end of the day. It’s that easy. Holding these yin yoga poses most definitely counts! Our bodies will start to clean up and heal given half the chance. 

Action: Try one yin yoga pose for 3 minutes if that is all that you have. Put a yoga mat right by your bed as a reminder :) Let me know how it feels for you!

Love & brussels sprouts,

  

  1. I am going to give this a try.

  2. Hi, thanks for this post! It was very informative. Could you point me to the studies that show that it’s frequency of movement that balances our hormones?

    • Brenna says:

      Hi Heidi,

      You’re welcome! Of course, the study is called ‘Exercise training effects on premenstrual distress and ovarian steroid hormones.’ by Stoddard JL, Dent CW, Shames I, Bernstein L. European Journal of Applied Physiology 99 (1) (2007): 27-37.

      xo Brenna

  3. lisé says:

    Thank you so much Brenna for posting these exercises. I did a search for yoga to calm adrenals and it came up with all kinds of stuff, but this is just what I needed – easy and straightforward. Much appreciated!

  4. Dear Brenna

    Thank you for sharing. This is what I have been googling for now that my menopausal hormonal imbalance is driving me nuts!

  5. deborah says:

    Should some of these exercises be avoided while on your period? Or are they OK to do then too?

    • Brenna Ortner says:

      Hi Deborah,

      I like to leave out the inverted poses (legs against the wall or plough pose) :)

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