Yin Yoga is already a style that lends itself to introspection because the longer held releasing postures of yin allow us to observe our mental and emotional processes and also our physical sensations. On the other hand yin yoga can also have a physical and physiological flavour when we approach it through organ pairing or anatomy specific sequences. But if we apply mindfulness to yin we can experience it either as a deeply relaxing time or plumb the depths of our inner self. So it can be the very essence of self enquiry which to many is the true value of any yoga.
A guided mindfulness yin sequence can provide that experience but can be done in our own space with practice.
It begins in a reclining or sitting pose tuning into our bodily sensations as we release to gravity and watching that process for a while without judgement but more with curiosity. Be curious....After a while (several minutes) open to the breath and let that be the passive breath without any control needed. Stay curious...
We can stay in the reclining/sitting pose and develop the breath by moving gently from passive involuntary breathing to voluntary breathing but paying more attention to the exhalations. Allow these exhalations to slowly melt away and if anything dwelling at the end of the outbreath at that still moment before breathing in again. That is a very special releasing place in yoga thinking and argueably the most relaxed place we cn ever be.
Stay with the breath for a while and then very slowly move the body to an alternative position such as Child Pose even keeping the eyes closed which will allow for a more considered sense of mindfulness. Then immediately reconnect with the breath and tune into the changes brought about by the new posture. This process can exclude outside distractions but remember if that is not possible for example if there is music or other sounds then try and absorb these into your field of mindfulnerss rather than attempting to push them away.
With Child you may wish to direct the energy of your breath into the lower back in the region of the kidneys and adrenals or alternatively feel the soft expansive sensation of the diaphragm pushing into the abdomen as you inhale and then sinking down through the lower back or hips almost like going down in a lift.
After five or more minutes make again a slow transition to another posture such as Makrasana (Crocodile) which is a prone relaxing pose almost like savasana on your front. Repeat the process of connecting with breath and being mndful of the new bodily sensations and stay here for as long as it feels righ before you move again.
All this can be applied to any yin yoga sequence and it has the great power of bringing a deeper sense of release and relaxation which can last well beyond the session to enable better sleep and calmness in the days that follow. The practice can also begin to translate into your day to day living as you somehow can't help but progressively become more and more mindful having experienced it in the relative sheltered calm of a yoga space.
Barry Todd (Yin Yoga Teacher amongst other things!)