Yin Yang Yoga Sequence for Beginners

Yin yang yoga could be described as the best of both worlds and a great introduction to yoga if you’re a beginner.

Yin yang yoga classes include the deep stretches that many of us come to yoga for, as well as some more fast-paced and dynamic movements to wake up our bodies and get our hearts pumping.

In this post, we talk about what a yin yang yoga class is and how to structure your own yin yang yoga sequence.

We’ll also guide you through a short yin yang yoga sequence for beginners that you can practice from the comfort of home today!

What Is Yin Yang Yoga Class?

A yin yang yoga class is a combination of two different styles of yoga that can help to bring balance to your practice. To better understand the purpose of a yin-yang yoga class, first, we need to understand what the words ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ mean and how we can work with them in our yoga practice.

Yin energy is slow, dark, and soft.

Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga that focuses on poses that are practiced on the floor. Yin yoga aims to stretch your muscles, ligaments, and deep tissue (fascia) by holding deep stretches for several minutes at a time.

As well as being great for flexibility and reducing tightness, yin yoga is a great form of meditation where you’ll practice sitting in discomfort and connecting to your body. Though don’t let this put you off! The deep stretches that happen when we practice yin yoga can feel as wonderful as they do terrible – you’ll have to try it yourself to discover the beauty of that feeling…

Yang energy is fast-moving, active, and energetic.

Yang yoga, therefore, includes more high-intensity and fast-paced styles of yoga, such as vinyasa flow. When we practice yang yoga, we focus on movement, creating heat, and waking up the body.

All yang yoga styles will have you in standing poses, building up a sweat, and challenging yourself.

This means that a yin yang yoga class is a combination of both of these styles. While the yin element of a yin yang yoga class will calm the mind, the yang section will wake up our bodies and build power and strength into our practice.

Essentially, it’s the best of both worlds and particularly beneficial if you’re looking to balance your practice or love both fast and slow-paced styles of yoga and would like to bring them together.

See What is Yin Yang Yoga for a more in-depth breakdown of this extremely popular style of yoga, complete with follow-along videos!

How Do You Structure a Yin Yang Yoga Sequence?

Most yoga teachers structure their classes on the basis that yin yoga is supposed to be practiced on cool muscles.

This means that you’ll generally start with yin yoga and end with yang yoga.

Another way to structure a yin yang yoga sequence is to ‘sandwich’ the yang portion of your sequence between yin poses. Practicing in this way means you’ll be able to practice deep yin stretches on cool muscles while also using this slower style of yoga to cool down at the end of the sequence.

In your own practice, you can choose to structure a yin yang sequence in whichever way suits you best! We encourage you to play around with both yin and yang yoga poses to find a sequence that works for you.

In our sequence below, we chose to start and finish with yin yoga – sandwiching the more energetic yang poses in the middle of the sequence.

Yin Yang Yoga Sequence for Beginners

In this short yin yang yoga sequence, we’ll focus on releasing tension and improving mobility in the hips and lower back.

As you practice the yin yoga poses, try concentrating on lengthening your exhales.

During the ‘yang’ portion of the sequence, take the time for deep inhales and focus on bringing some faster-paced energy into your practice.

Bound Angle Pose (yin)

Start seated on your mat with your knees bent towards your chest.

Bring the soles of your feet together as you let your knees fall out to the sides, finding bound angle pose, aka, butterfly pose.

Focus on staying tall through the spine and take deep breaths into your belly. Bring your hands to hold your feet and, if it feels good, start to hinge forward at the hips – bringing your belly towards your feet.

If you have no pain in the lower back, you might like to round your shoulders and rest your head on two blocks placed on the ground in front of your feet.

Stay here for 1-3 minutes.

If it’s more comfortable, you can also practice this pose from a supine position – laying on your back with the soles of your feet together and knees out to either side.

Sphinx Pose (yin)

Lay on your belly with your legs stretched out behind you and toes pointing away.

From here, come up onto your elbows by stacking them on the ground directly beneath your shoulders. Place your forearms and palms on the ground in line with your elbows.

Allow your shoulders to drop away from your ears.

Bring your legs ever so slightly apart before letting your heels drop towards each other. Gaze softly in front of you and breathe into your chest.

Stay here for 1-3 minutes.

Dragon Pose (yin)

From sphinx pose, move onto all fours with your wrists below your shoulders and knees below your hips.

Step your right foot to the outside edge of your right hand and let your left leg slide back until you feel a deep (but not painful!) stretch across the front of your left hip and quad muscle.

To make the pose more accessible, add a block underneath each hand. To increase the intensity of the pose, come down onto your elbows.

Stay here for 1-3 minutes before returning slowly to all fours and then repeating on the other side.

Downward-Facing Dog Pose (yang)

Come back to all fours to begin the yang portion of the yoga sequence.

From all fours, bring your hands one palm print in front of where they are now and tuck your toes. Push into all four corners of your palm and all five fingertips to lift your hips to the sky as you come into downward facing dog.

Bend your knees as much as you need to allow you to keep a straight spine, and let your head hang between your biceps.

Stay here for a few breaths, pedaling out your legs if it feels good.

Warrior II Pose (yang)

From downward-facing dog, walk your feet to your hands at the front of your mat and slowly come up to standing.

Take a step back with your left foot and turn your left toes to face the left side of your mat.

Turn your torso to the left and bend deeply into your front knee, lifting your arms to either side. Keep your back leg straight and gaze over your right fingertips to find warrior II.

Engage your core and stay here for 3-5 breaths before moving on to the next pose.

Tree Pose (yang)

Step forward with your left foot to come to mountain pose at the front of your mat.

Bring your weight into your right foot and come onto the toes of your left foot before bringing the sole of your left foot to rest on your right ankle, calf, or thigh.

Push into your right foot to stand tall and keep the hips level.

Bring your hands to a prayer position at your heart center and stay here for 3-5 breaths.

Slowly return to mountain pose before repeating warrior II and tree pose on the other side.

Child’s Pose (yin/cool down)

From mountain pose, come down to all fours.

Bring your knees out to the edges of your mat and your big toes to touch.

Sink your hips back to bring your glutes to your heels, and walk your hands forward to stretch out on the mat in front of you.

Let your chest get heavy, and breathe into your upper back.

Stay here for 1-3 minutes.

Savasana (yin/cool down)

To finish the yin yang yoga sequence, come into the final resting pose – ‘savasana’.

Lay on your back with your legs long and arms laying on either side of your body.

Close your eyes and relax.

Spend your remaining time here – even if you can only manage a few seconds.

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